10 News Investigator Noah Pransky (right) talks with Knowledge Quest CEO Cesar Ruiz
TAMPA, Florida -- A day after 10 News confronted Cesar Ruiz, the owner of a company investigated for allegedly failing to deliver on promises of landing people jobs, 10 News has been unable to confirm several of Ruiz's claims that he made to Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance directors.
Earlier this month, the 10 News Investigators reported Ruiz's private training company, Knowledge Quest, deceived the workforce staff into thinking it was qualified to receive federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds.
Ruiz sent a letter to workforce directors this week defending his company and claiming it only cashed $1,995 of the roughly $30,000 in WIA checks it received for a much-criticized April training.
He also claimed Knowledge Quest has "begun the approval process towards obtaining accreditation from the Commission of Independent Education" from Florida Dept. of Education (FLDOE).
But public records requests Friday indicated the FLDOE had not received any application materials yet from Knowledge Quest, which would also prohibit the company from recruiting students or holding classes for certificate programs.
10 News has also been unable to confirm Ruiz's claim that he only cashed $1,995 of his $30,000 in federal vouchers since Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance (TBWA) CEO Ed Peachey has not responded to requests for the records. Previously, Peachey told 10 News that Knowledge Quest had received $29,925 from Workforce.
10 News is also waiting on a records request to Peachey and the TBWA for any contracts Knowledge Quest received through Employed Worker Training (EWT). While other workforce boards have provided the data free of charge, Peachey quoted a price of $3,500 for the records from the Pinellas and Hillsborough boards, which he oversees.