A Greek-American newspaper publisher has sued the Columbia Business School over a clerical snafu that prevented him from getting his MBA in the 1970s — a technical error he only discovered more than 40 years later.
Antonis Diamataris embarrassingly had to step down from a job in the Greek government after the mix up came to light three years ago, according to a Greek news report.
Diamataris is now demanding that the Ivy League school rectify the situation by giving him his sheepskin, court papers show.
“Columbia has breached that contract by refusing to confer the MBA degree even as it admits that Mr. Diamataris satisfied all of Columbia’s academic requirements for the degree,” said the news honcho’s Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday.
Diamataris, who is the publisher for daily Greek newspaper the National Herald, says the issue went back to a problem with his 1974 bachelor’s degree from Queens College.
The Greek immigrant, who now lives in Nassau County, says he didn’t know when he was graduating that he needed to submit an application for the undergraduate diploma and therefore he never technically received it, the court papers say.
This led Columbia to dismiss him from the his MBA program in 1976, but according to the court filing, he was never told he had been booted.
Still, Diamataris says he completed all the classes, paid all of his tuition fees and lived his life believing he had gotten the MBA in 1977.
He didn’t attend the graduation ceremony as he was “focused” on his work at the newspaper, the court documents say.
It was only after Diamataris was appointed by the Greek Prime Minister in 2019 to be Deputy Minister for Expatriate Greeks that he found out from Greek media reports that he hadn’t actually received the degree from Columbia, the suit says.
Since then, Diamataris has been working to get to the bottom of it and obtain his diploma.
Meanwhile, Diamataris was forced to resign from the Greek government post amid allegations that he falsified his resume, according to a report by Neos Kosmos.
Diamataris claims he has since corrected the issue with Queens College, and finally received his physical diploma last November. But he still hasn’t been able to resolve the issue with Columbia, the filing says.
Diamataris and his lawyer had been working with the school to try to resolve the problem but recently he has been met with radio silence as the school has not answered his lawyer’s most recent message from April 28, the papers allege.
The court papers say the diploma “error that has nothing whatsoever to do with Mr. Diamataris’ academic performance at Columbia Business School and his satisfaction of its academic requirement.” They also say “that ministerial error has been cured.”
He is asking a judge to force the school to give him the degree.
Columbia did not immediately return a request for comment.