Hazing News

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

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. 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 new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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