By David Scott
After years of being addicted to crack cocaine, marijuana and a life of crime, Oakland native Paul Lee is making great strides as founder and CEO of Positive Lee Employee Assistant Tax, working as a refund specialist to give back to the community by providing tax services to low-income families.
Selling drugs and becoming a user go hand in hand, according to Lee, and he eventually became his own best customer, smoking highly addictive crack cocaine to escape his problems and committing burglaries and white collar crimes to feed his drug appetite.
“ It came to a point where my family wanted to have nothing to do with me. In fact they hated to see me coming,” he said.
San Quentin State Penitentiary became a revolving door for Lee. His pastor at that time was Vince Collins of New Christian Fellowship who was an inspiration and never judged him or gave up on him, said Lee.
Born in 1962, Lee grew up near E. 19th 23rd, attending Garfield Elementary and Frick Middle School in East Oakland. With an eye for fashion at a young age, he was nicknamed ‘’Polo’’ because of his unique fashion swag. A natural people person, he was able to get along with everybody.
After relocating to Vallejo, Lee attended Vallejo Adult School, started dabbling in drugs and moved back to Oakland. One day while smoking crack in a West Oakland motel, he looked in a mirror: he saw himself in a casket, saw himself sleeping in a park and saw himself eating out of a garbage can.
“I can’t do this,” he said. The next day he checked into Cherry Hill Detox in San Leandro, a facility that serves as a safe place for struggling addicts. At Cherry Hill, he met a counselor named Prince, a very spiritual and motivational man, who helped him see his need for a program to start a new walk.
Lee became addicted to being clean and sober – he chased his recovery like he had chased his addiction. He joined East Oakland Recovery Center taking classes.
Soon, he had an opportunity to speak to students at McClymonds High School about the pitfalls and consequences of pursuing fast money and a life of crime. A strong compassionate speaker, he was soon in demand at high schools and college campuses around Northern California.
After surviving on General Assistance for two years, Lee met Sean Caldwell who hired him to seek referrals for his tax Business. He referred so many clients that Caldwell purchased Lee his own laptop, taught him the tax business and helped him start his own company.
Lee works now to help low-income people get tax returns from the government. “Your relationship to God is the most important aspect in life,” he said. “I have to give back to God’s people.
To reach Paul Lee call (510) 940-5490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org