At a time that former Rep. Ralph Arza says he's moving on with his life, House Speaker Marco Rubio has nominated Hugo Arza, the cousin of the representative, to a spot on a powerful panel that can decide the fate of charter school applications. It was in fact, Rep. Arza, who helped push the legislation that created the Florida Schools of Excellence Commission that Hugo Arza could soon join. The State Board of Education is expected to vote on the nomination at its Tuesday meeting. Rubio has also nominated Eduardo Gomez to the same vacancy.
Hugo Arza is an attorney in Miami and is apparently planning on starting a campaign consulting business with his cousin. Former Rep. Arza pleaded guilty in May to two misdemeanor counts of tampering with a witness following threatening messages that he and other cousin, Pauline Barbon Jr., left on the cellphone of a fellow Miami-Dade lawmaker. Arza was sentenced to 18 months of probation.
Former Rep. Arza, who was one of the movers and shakers on education policy in the House until his downfall, already has a business, Moving Mountain Strategies. His cousin, Hugo, is the registered agent for a company that has been started by former Miami-Dade School Board member Frank Bolanos, who lost to Sen. Alex Villalobos in a nasty GOP primary in 2006. Hugo Arza is also listed as the registered agent for another company _ Great Educational Measures _ whose president is Eris Arza, the wife of former Rep. Ralph Arza and whose board includes former Education Commissioner Jim Horne.