As a former heavy metal musician/high school dropout, Ernesto Perez was an unlikely college president. And Perez did more than just run Dade Medical College, he started the whole thing from scratch.
But this week, faced with pending criminal charges that once again dredged up embarrassing details from his past, Perez resigned as Dade Medical’s president and CEO. Perez founded the school with his father — a retired physician — in 1999.
On Friday, prosecutors charged Perez with two counts of perjury, a misdemeanor, and one count of providing false information through a sworn statement, which is a third-degree felony.
All three criminal charges against Perez stem from his repeated failure to disclose prior criminal arrests and/or convictions when filling out government forms. Perez has a 1990 arrest for second-degree sexual assault of a child, and a 2002 arrest for aggravated battery. The earlier crime, which occurred while Perez was in a rock band touring in Wisconsin, involved a 15-year-old fan. Perez pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of battery and exposing his genitals to a child. He spent six months in jail.
State Sen. Rene Garcia, who is also Dade Medical’s vice president of external affairs, said he believed Perez’s decision was motivated by a desire to avoid hurting the college.
“The college is bigger than any individual,” Garcia said. “He doesn’t want this to put a black cloud over the college until he resolves it.”