The Miami-Dade ethics commission on Tuesday charged Ernesto Perez, owner of Dade Medical College, with improper lobbying — creating another headache for an educational leader already facing criminal charges for allegedly lying about his criminal past on government forms.
At the crux of the eight new ethics allegations: Perez’s failure to register as a lobbyist when pushing for new or expanded campuses for his string of private, for-profit colleges. It is a civil, not criminal, matter. If found in violation, Perez could be fined or reprimanded by the ethics commission.
“We’ll address that matter before the ethics commission,” Michael Band, Perez’s criminal defense attorney, said when asked to comment. Perez did not return a message left with the college. Dade Medical co-CEO/General Counsel Jonathan Janeiro declined to comment.
Governments require lobbyists to register as a way of promoting transparency.
Investigators with the Commission on Ethics and Public Trust identified eight instances in which they say Perez should have registered as a lobbyist — seven involving city administrators in Homestead, where Perez once planned a massive expansion of his college. The Homestead incidents date to 2011 and 2013.