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Of major importance: Outrage in Florida as couple makes quick million off hazing

Moderator: I am outraged and you should be also.  Hazing information debacle    

I am not against competent companies and individuals providing educational services, of course.

But this enterprise was mismanaged.  Read the Naples article below. The program should have reached thousands of students for that kind of money.

MIAMI – A business co-founded by a state lobbyist kept more than $1 million as profit from a taxpayer-funded anti-hazing program because too few college students participated, records show.

Educational Management Services, paid $1.7 million by Florida Polytechnic University to run the statewide program, provided an anti-hazing course at the same time a similar course was being offered by the University of Central Florida to students in state colleges.

Fausto Gomez, the Miami lobbyist who once owned part of EMS, said the company now run by his wife, Alina, met all the terms of its contract despite the fact that only 95 students at one university completed the Hazing Solutions course online over two years.

The UCF program trained more than 41,000 students at 11 of the 12 state universities over three years for less than $1 million, records show.

Gomez, in an interview held at the Miami law office of Thomas R. Julin, discussed the state contract given to EMS in response to questions about how the company spent taxpayer money.

EMS cleared a $50,000 line of credit, contributed more than $107,000 to political campaign groups, and claimed $40,000 in expenses for two lobbyists after receiving the state anti-hazing contract in August 2015, records show.

More: Florida Polytechnic University cancels contract paid with hidden funding

Gomez said the loan was paid off in 2012, the political donations came from other funds and the lobbyists helped EMS. How the company’ spent profit from the state contract is private, he said.

Alina Gomez submitted documents to the House that said EMS spent nearly $660,000 to offer the course.

“EMS delivered the product and in addition, made it available and promoted it to all state universities,” she said in a statement Friday. “Having met all contractual obligations, EMS received payment for its services.” (Read the statement in its entirety at the bottom of this story.)

Gomez, who said state universities were to blame for not requiring students to use the course, compared the EMS effort to the Legislature hiring the company to provide a custom-built car.

“It wasn’t EMS’s fault the state didn’t want to drive the car,” Gomez said. “What was delivered was a fully functioning car.”

 

 

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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