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Eliezer Ramos withdraws Kelvin Pagán La Luz from his duties at the Department of Education

Secretary of Education, Eliezer Ramos Paresremoved this Wednesday from his duties the manager of the auxiliary secretariat of Technical Education, Kelvin Pagan The Lightwho is being investigated by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the United States Department of Education, for alleged irregularities in the use of federal funds.

“The official is being separated from his duties”confirmed Ramos Parés in an interview with The new day. The determination, which is effective today, implies that Pagán will not be able to perform the functions of his career position or have access to the agency, although he will continue to receive his salary, until the investigation is complete and there is a conclusion.

Ramos Parés acknowledged that “this official’s office was part of the intervention” carried out this morning by federal agents at the Education headquarters in Hato Rey. The secretary also acknowledged that “there is a flag about potential acts outside of law and order” and ongoing information requirements, although he declined to offer other details so as not to affect the investigation.

A source of The new day With knowledge of the investigation, he confirmed earlier that Pagán was the object of the investigation. He also confirmed that Pagán resides in the Parque de las Fuentes condominium, in Hato Rey, where experts in forensic investigations of electronic equipment, such as computers, also carried out a raid. In the registry of corporations of the Department of State, Pagán appears as an incorporator and resident agent of a corporation whose address corresponds to an apartment in the aforementioned condominium.

This medium communicated directly with Pagán, to obtain a reaction, but there was no response. Ramos Parés indicated that the manager of Technical Education did not come to his office today at the agency and that he did not answer calls either.

“There are staff in my office who have tried to have communication. To date, we have had no communication with him.” the secretary said.

Kelvin Pagán La Luz with the Secretary of Education, Eliezer Ramos, in a photo from April 27, 2022.
Kelvin Pagán La Luz with the Secretary of Education, Eliezer Ramos, in a photo from April 27, 2022. (David Villafane/Staff)

This raid occurs just over a year after the former Secretary of Education, julia kelher, will plead guilty to committing acts of corruption in the agency, a fact that is added to other investigations and convictions of officials of the agency with the largest budget allocation in the Government of Puerto Rico.

“Without a doubt, it is an additional blow to the image of the Department of Education, for the thousands of officials who also work and get up every day in the Department of Education to give their best,” said Ramos Parés. “It is a blow to the morale of those of us within the Department of Education,” he added.

The head of the agency revealed that, through internal processes, other alleged irregularities have been identified, but he did not want to offer details either. “I can assure you that the processes are working, that many of our processes have raised the flag on potential irregularities, that many of these investigations have originated from there and that we are going to collaborate until this evil is eradicated,” he mentioned.

When questioned as to whether any potential irregularity in Pagán’s management had been identified through these internal processes, he replied that “I am not going to go into detail about the investigation and the course, the official had an exercise of functions that he was executing until Today, when the news of this raid is produced”.

“There will be an opportunity for Puerto Rico to know where it originates from, how the investigation took place, and it will go to trial and analyze everything that happened. The investigation is ongoing and we will collaborate until the last link in the chain is reached.”Ramos Parés affirmed.

The investigation in which the manager is involved has to do with the use of the feds of the Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations (Restart) Program, according to the source. Pagán La Luz was director of the Aguas Buenas Vocational School. In 2016 he came to the Caguas Regional Office to work with Human Resources. Then, in 2017, the former secretary and convicted of corruption Julia Kelher appointed him as Director of Technical Education in the central administration of the agency.

In 2020, the former secretary Eligio Hernandez appointed him manager, which is a regular or career position at the agency, to continue directing Technical Education. This division is responsible for teaching post-secondary courses in Education at the Technological Institutes of Puerto Rico, the School of Die Making and Tooling, and the Puerto Rico Aviation Maintenance Institute (PRAMI-Fajardo).

Restart funds were appropriated following disasters in several states and territories recognized by the Federal Government under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, PL 115-123 (February 9, 2018). In the case of Puerto Rico, they refer to hurricanes Irma and María, and the consequences of these disasters in the archipelago.

The program provided federal funds to defray expenses related to restarting operations, reopening and re-enrolling students in elementary and secondary schools located in the affected areas, including private schools.

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