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Troubled past casts cloud over Dade Medical College's chief executive

@MrMikeVasquez

On the surface at least, Ernesto Perez seemed to be a most remarkable South Florida success story.

Perez grew up in Little Havana from a Cuban-American family of modest means. He dropped out of Coral Gables Senior High in the 10th grade, eager to chase a career as a heavy metal musician.

Though he never achieved rock ’n’ roll fame, Perez struck gold as an educational entrepreneur. He founded Dade Medical College in 1999, and in the lucrative world of for-profit colleges, Perez’s own lack of education wasn’t an obstacle. The college grew quickly to include multiple campuses, and the now-wealthy Perez became politically active and influential.

But Perez, 45, resigned as president/CEO last Tuesday, hoping to distance the school from a slew of recent problems. He faces criminal charges, lingering ethical questions about his political activities, and a backlash from angry students who describe his school as a rip-off. He remains the company’s majority owner.

Among the issues dogging Perez and his college:

•  Early this year, two of Dade Medical’s nursing programs — Miami and Hollywood —were placed on state probation because graduating students have such a poor record of passing their required licensing exam.

•  In August, Homestead Mayor Steve Bateman was arrested on corruption charges. The charges did not involve Perez, but the arrest highlighted Perez’s unusually close ties to Bateman. Perez hired the mayor’s wife as his real estate broker, and he did so at the same time that he was trying to push through a controversial land deal with the city. The transaction, which is still pending, would sell a cluster of downtown Homestead properties to Dade Medical at a huge discount — Perez would pay less than 40 cents on the dollar. The Miami-Dade state attorney’s office is scrutinizing Perez’s ties to the now-former mayor.

More here.

Comments

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Zoi

Dear Herald, It seems like you have personal vendetta against Mr. Perez and Dade Medical college. In the last week (Sunday to Sunday) you have posted 3 maybe 4 articles bashing Mr. Perez and Dade Medical College. This is the problem with the media. Not once have you mentioned how much money Mr. Perez donated to charity or to places like Miami Children hospital or the fact that for the last couple of years he has hosted a pink mixer raising money for breast cancer and has donated mammograms for woman to have. Let's talk about the school. If the school is so bad then why do students that have graduated have told other family members to attend the school. Ok nursing passing rate is low. This happens at quiet of number of schools and they bounce back. Let's touch back on the students every school has unhappy students because people love to complain instead of taking responsibility for their failure it is easier to blame it on a school or teacher and since THE HERALD has a personal VENDETTA with Mr. Perez you swallow it up not taking into consideration that this is what 5 students out of 2000. That is poor and irresponsible journalism. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Dlala

Typical Media let's focus on Mr. Perez past. Something that happen 20 years ago instead of focusing on the good he has done now in the present. Mr. Perez owner of Dade Medical College, a school with over 2000 students and 400 employees. Yes in this tough economy he employs close to 400 employees. Dade Medical College works hard to place graduates in the field they have studied again in this tough economy. How about we discuss that Herald oh wait its not negative news which is all you focus on. Mr. Perez and Dade Medical College donate money let's talk about that no wait according to the Herald that is not important. Instead the Herald wants to bash a man who tries hard to give back to the community. Sounds like the HERALD has a personal VENDETTA against Mr. Perez and Dade Medical College. Herald please tell us who is paying you to tarnish this Mr. Perez

Bobby

This so called reporter is a back with an agenda to tarnish for profit schools. You. Dare call yourself a reporter mr Vasquez?? The problem with guys like you is no matter the factual evidence you only write slanted pieces. I am sure Dade medical will continue to grow and you will continue to lose readers because of the garbage you write isn't newsworthy

M

Oh please he donates money to charities because it benefits him his school is a rip off all they care about is the money and can care less about giving their students a good education that they paid for.

Laly

He donantes the money he's stolen from others who are actually attempting to get an education. It's not a good deed when u steal the money from individuals that are trying to actually get an education. As oppose to Mr. Perez which instead was being a hypocrite who sold education and a dream yet couldn't finish the 10th grade and reached his dream by scamming people and lies. The money given to charity wasn't his to begin with. Just sayin.

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