AURORA | Former Aurora Public Schools board of education member Eric D. Nelson, who was investigated and found to have faked education and military credentials, has submitted an application to be part of Colorado’s redistricting commission.
Colorado voted in 2018 to overhaul its redistricting process, giving less power to political parties. The state accepted applications for members of the public to serve on new independent commissions to approve the legislative maps for the Colorado state house and senate boundaries. Nelson is one of the several hundred people who threw their hat into the ring for a spot on the two, 12-person commissions.
Nelson served on the APS board from 2013-2017. After launching an unsuccessful campaign for a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives in 2016, discrepancies in his public biography came to light and the board launched a formal investigation.
A report presented to the board found that Nelson had falsified much of the information on his resume. He did not have any of the four degrees he claimed to have, and several diplomas he provided were faked, the report said. He also represented himself as having been a decorated officer in the Air Force, but was only in active duty for two months in 1998 and did not receive any awards. Of the 40 organizations he listed himself as a member of, many could not be reached or said that he was not a member or only had minor involvement, the report said.
He was formally censured by the board but refused calls to step down. Then-Congressman Mike Coffman also urged the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate Nelson under the federal Stolen Valor Act for making false claims about military service.
In a phone call with the Sentinel, Nelson denied the allegations of fraud.
“That was a political smear campaign that has nothing to do with my community service,” he said.
He said he wants to join the commission to serve his community and make sure that redistricting is done equitably.
When asked why the people of Aurora should trust him to serve on the campaign, Nelson said “due to the simple fact that my work record is impeccable and my work record is what should be focused on.”
In his application, Nelson said he is a student at Denver Seminary, Oral Roberts University and CU Denver’s business school, that he is part of the Aurora Community of Faith and Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance and has served on board and commissions including the Denver African-American Advisory Commission and Aurora Human Relations Commission.
He did not mention his time on the APS board in the application, and under the section for “past political activity” just wrote “due to school, I haven’t been as active as I should.”
Nelson listed his occupation as an owner of an insurance agency. On a profile page on the Farmer’s Insurance website that Nelson told the Sentinel was his, he lists his education as having received a PhD from the Christian Bible Institute and Seminary, an online school based in Texas.
Nelson told the Sentinel that the three educational institutions listed on the applications are programs he is currently enrolled in, and he will add them to his profile page once he has completed the degrees.
A representative from the Christian Bible Institute and Seminary confirmed that Nelson received a PhD in Theology and Apologetics in 2017. Denver Seminary, CU Denver and Oral Roberts University also confirmed that Nelson is currently enrolled.
A representative from the Aurora school district declined to comment. In an email, Coffman said that because of his falsification of his military service, Nelson is “unfit to hold any public position at any time.”