« Al Golden mum on out clause in contract should NCAA come down hard on UM | Main | Questions for fans »

Lucky Strike co-owner said UM President Donna Shalala 'shouldn't be demonized' in infamous photo

By now, you've seen the picture or read about it from someone ripping the administration at the University of Miami.

Donna Shalala Former booster Nevin Shapiro holding a bowling ball, standing next to former men's basketball coach Frank Haith and UM President Donna Shalala, who is looking down and smiling at what was a $50,000 check the convicted felon made with stolen Ponzi money at Lucky Strike Lanes in Miami Beach back in 2008.

Shapiro told Yahoo! the picture sums up "the whole problem [at UM] right there." Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel described Shalala in the picture as having "the promise that thousands might one day turn to millions practically dancing above her head."

But Shapiro's old friend, Lucky Strike co-owner Brian D. Elias, said he wishes somebody from Yahoo! would have called him to ask him about that particular picture. "Because then maybe," Elias said. "the entire country would have a more accurate portrayal of Shalala other than somebody who is in bed with the devil."

Elias, a 49-year old Law School grad of UM, said he was there the night Shapiro presented UM with the $50,000 check because he co-hosted and helped plan the event.

"We were going to introduce Frank Haith and at some point Nevin said, 'Can I have the mic I'd like to say something,'" Elias said. "So he grabbed the mic and literally, spontaneously said 'I'm going to make a donation for what I think was $50,000.'

"We were all stunned. It's funny when you look at the picture, Donna is looking down at the check smiling because I think she was stunned. So naturally, you see the picture and we were all smiling. When you're trying to fundraise and get a check like that, it was a huge success. But I just think the way this picture has been talked about in articles, it demonizes her. And that couldn't be further than the truth."

Among Shapiro's many allegations against the school he supported for years as a booster is that he often treated UM players to food and entertainment at Lucky Strike including current players Ray-Ray Armstrong, Travis Benjamin, Dyron Dye, Sean Spence, Marcus Forston, Jojo Nicolas and Aldarius Johnson.

On at least one occasion according to the Yahoo! story, Shapiro alleges he rang up a bill of $2,114.18 on Sept. 13 to Sept. 15 during a "bowling for dollars" event where he gave players on winning teams $100 each.

Elias said while that may have happened under his nose, he doesn't remember seeing Shapiro at Lucky Strike often with UM players. But he does remember Shapiro ringing up similar tabs while he partied with his girlfriend and others.

"He would go there virtually every weekend to watch college and pro football," Elias said. "It got to a point where we would speak every time I saw him there. We became friends. He may not have been tall in stature. But he had a huge personality. Everybody liked him. People gravitated to him, I'm not talking about football players, I'm talking about people in general. He liked to brag about not just UM [players], but anybody, playing around with Dwyane Wade, Shaq, the Chief of Police. He never ever, ever, mentioned to me he had a tournament bowling for dollars at Lucky Strike in all the times I knew him.

"Now, occasionally I would see a few UM players there. I don't ever recall seeing all the guys he mentioned, usually it was two or three who came to watch football or bowl or whatever. Now, I never collected credit cards, but he never ever told me he paid for them. He never he told me he paid for this bowling for dollars. In seems to me in knowing him and the the way he would talk about all his contacts with famous people he would have said it. But he never mentioned that to me."

Elias said that to his knowledge nobody from Yahoo! contacted him nor anybody on his staff about the allegations made by Shapiro. And he says none of his friends who associated with Shapiro ever imagined he would be involved in such a way with UM players or much less a $930 million Ponzi scheme.

"I never went out with him. But I remember friends tell me all the time that they would go to Club Mansion, Cameo and Nevin was ordering bottles like crazy," Elias said. "That's just what he did for everybody. He was a really generous guy. Obviously if you believe what you read, it was with other people's money. But he was an incredibly generous guy.

"I've met Donna on four or five occasions and what I know of her she had absolutely no idea those funds were from some illegitimate source. I'm a pretty astute guy, I'm not a dope and I was clueless he was running a Ponzi scheme. To say I'm shocked by what I've read would be an understatement."

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Bah! Of course they should have known! They should have vetted him for months before accepting any money. And as for Yahoo asking unbiased witnesses to corroborate the Shapiro evidence, why would they do that? I mean who really wants to prove anything when they can just make outlandish claims and get website hits!? (All tongue in cheek)

good job Mandingo...

This guy fooled people out of a billion dollars, I'm sure he made himself seem very trustworthy as a booster. Why is that so shocking? Look into how good of a conman this guy was.

Excellent work, Manny.

:applause:

Hmmm more holes in the little Liars BS story, what a shock, when will the NCAA and rest of the people around the country realize this guy is a friggin professional "LIAR" and some things might have truth, but in a whole he is full of _ _ _ T. and more charges should be brought against him.....

Of course the national media will completely ignore this....why allow context to ruin a great punchline.

Miami should have known??Are some of you numbnuts crazy!!!The owner of the local where the event was being held said that Shapiro was not invited, yet all of a sudden takes the MIC and says that he wants to donate $50,000..So what was Miami supposed to do??Do you idiotas realize that EVERY college program in the US has boosters that give money to the program all the time??So this ain't illegal..The guy 2 years later gets indicted for Ponzi Scheme, did Miami take money from him AFTER?? No, right? So STFU you snitches!!

Wouldn't surprise me if Robinson/Wetzel's corroborating source/witness in most of these allegations is Shapiro's ex-girlfriend, who is probably a real winner.

Did you guys see his lawyer on espn? T-shirt and shades on top of her messy hair, real professional. Guess I can't say too much, that crazy chick was a UM grad.

Just as important, or moreso, than the info on Shalala is the info about the alley itself and what went on. It shows that yet again Shapiro lied, and greatly, greatly exaggerated about his time with UM players. If he lied about the happenings at the alley, what else has he lied about?

Who cares what a Bowling Alley owner says. Who's next? The local Pool Hall owner ?

A 1995 Covicted FELON handed that check over to Shalalala and no questions were axed. That's on U. And Now U will pay the price.

It's Ova !

Great job Manny / Susan

DAMN!!! Now Ur a World Wide Brand Cane Fans !!!

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/um-hurricanes/sfl-miami-hurricanes-scandal-taiwanese-animation-20110819,0,5063979.photo

Great job. It is so stupid to think it is unusual for a university president to publicly accept checks from well known boosters. And Shapiro was well known and at that time nobody was aware he was a crook.

Great Job Manny. Atleast someone in the media is willing to bust some holes in this story of lies. Please do a piece about all the holes in this story. There are SO many. Starting with the impregnated stripper. That story starts and ends with Shapiro yet they say they only put things in the article they felt were legitimate. POS Yahoo


Wouldn't surprise me if Robinson/Wetzel's corroborating source/witness in most of these allegations is Shapiro's ex-girlfriend, who is probably a real winner.

Posted by: BR | August 20, 2011 at 08:41 PM


Shes is in jail for lying and stealing money as well.

More and more holes in this guys story! Keep digging Manny, and continue to expose the TRUTH. Unlike the Yahoo story!! I believe there are no major violations since Randy Shannon took over!!! What say you?

there are a lot of piece of the yahoo story that isn't holding together. like the r/a for sam shields dorm said there wan't a 42 inch tv in his room. another shapiro lie and yahoo didn't interview her either. ]
When will the press begin to see shapiro set up yahoo just like he did all his investors and bilked them out of nearly a billion dollars and for years created the paper needed to make his lies credible. WAKE UP

Shapiro and his lackeys at Yahoo will get what they deserve for this hack job. When all is said and done I wouldn't be surprised that most of this is untrue. I'm not being naive or looking at things with rose colored glasses, if Miami players made some bad judgments and decisions then yes the U will pay but as Alonzo Highsmith noted most of the kids in the program today were in Junior High when this was happening. That's the biggest problem I have with the NCAA punishing others for the sins of those who have gone before and in this case way before.

Long live the U and my Shapiro and his Yahoo lackeys..... I'll leave it up to you to fill in the blank space!

Good points Manny, there are many many holes in this. The truth will out! You pointed out just one of many more to come.

Go Canes!

Thank you Manny, for writing about the truth. It is sincerely appreciated.

I have a feeling that there are many more articles that can be written like this, that will really expose Yahoo sports and Charles Robinson.

Who cares about the bowling Alley owner, lets just keep relying on the word of a convicted Ponzi Schemer/Conman who made almost a billion dollars off of lying. Thats the easy way out.

@playthefreshman

lol you're living proof of why yahoo writes articles like this, because people only read the headlines anyway. Maybe next time you could read my whole post before flaming.

It is nice to see you guys investigating the Yahoo claims and see what is really there. Kudos and keep going good or bad.

Ask why the NCAA has cleared all these other players and none of ours.

You would think if these Yahoo dopes had 11 months to research this story they would have spoken to anyone and everyone involved. Seems they spoke only to the convicted liar.

Way to build a story. Kind of like the blog Pig.

Great job man, I live in VA and love the U, have been a Canes Fan for many years, and figured I would come to this site to get some upfront news on this scandal. Your the man and thanks for representing the U and telling the truth, something that seems to have escaped the National Media.

I would like to take this time to congradulate and thank Randy Shannon personally for recognizing this little piece of crap for what he is and for doing his best to keep our football team from him. I know in the past I have blasted Randy for his lack of coaching prowess and stand by what I said. But at the same time I have always maintained that I would call it as I see it and if someone deserves credit or being ripped I would do so. So thank U Randy for all U did to protect us from this little S h 1 T.

Is miami going to give the money back? This guy took $1M from Barry Alvarez...now we know why Barry never took the UM job as AD or Coach. Shapiro was donating other people's money.

good to see someone is actually investigating these claims and not just taking the word of a con man to be 100% true

I have come to the Herald's website for all my info concerning the Fins and Canes since I live in Ohio. I find the negative tone of ALL of your reports concerning the Canes embarrassing. You might want to contact some of your fellow reporters at the Columbus Dispatch to see how stupid they feel now after trying to bury the Buckeyes only to see the NCAA say no LOIC of FTC here folks. I have now resorted to going to the Hurricanes forums to find out about all of the players and coaches who are being cleared. I know you need to sell papers and your indistry is dying but you need to present BOTH sides of the story. This Lucky Strikes article is the first semi positive article I have seen. Sad....

gutterballU...Who cares what a bowling alley owner has to say?? He is a law school grad AKA a Lawyer!! not to mention a witness to this little mental midget Shapiro telling all these fabricated stories knowing the only chance he has to make enough dough to pay the $83 million he owes in restituion is to start all this BS so he can write a book!! Hey Yahoo way to drop the ball like an FSU reciever, Google would have probably had more then what the guy through the clear glass on the phone from prison had to say before they wrote a story, way to get taken by a guy that would have told you he smoked weed with the president just so he got the attention and you fell for it and now are hurting innocent college athletes because your story posted to get people to your site!! Next time try some professional journalism, not putting the tabloids on your site!!

lol like the national media would interview a guy who would deny the claims. There whole point as its always been is to make miami look bad. Without knowing what the ncaa is even gonna charge maiami with they want the death penalty . When it was osu or usc even oregon they all go oh wait and see what the ncaa says before saying what kinda sanctins they should get by one guy who only could get tyron moss other then the guys gf to confirm anything and they want miami to kill its football program. Funny but if 90 pct of his stuff supposedly happend at this guys place why not talk to him at least. Seems to me this guys story falling apart faster and faster.

Yeah, let's believe 'yet another' lawyer with ties to the defendents (whose also the owner of an establishment where much of these improprities went down). Credible? HAH!!! That's a laugh.

This was clearly an event, the dirty bird costume was even dragged out. Let's spin the truth for the gullible; maybe they'll keep buying our sh*%....stupid locals!

If you think getting a few conflicting words from a bowling alley owner is going to make this go away, its not. If this was all bologna, the NCAA investigation would not be five months old and counting you morons. Its pathetic to see people make excuses about the integrity of a Ponzi schemer. While he is a douche bag, its clear the U broke an overwhelming amount of rules. And Ohio State's "autographs for tattoos" infraction is an illegal parking ticket compared to this. D DAY is coming people, better get ready. What makes matters worse is that this is a BITTER man on a mission. What about those that aren't bitter, and are simply keeping quiet?

The U is busted, and possibly done... and now the brand continues to be tarnished as well. The following clip will be on Tosh.O

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XpEtaEfB80

I'm ashamed and disgusted that my degree came from UM. Should have just gone to FIU instead.

Hey Cane from 03 see a therapist will you?

only time will tell.. .hold on tight boys and girls... you better buckle up for this ride... praying its not as bad as sir con man stats..

canes forever!!

Time to hear some counterpoint to the charges.
Of course everyone loved Shapiro. He is a sociopath, charming and gregarious, with an inevitable train wreck just around the corner.

Nonetheless, good to read input from the bowling alley owner, lawyer or not. I hope others come forward to provide some factual balance to Shapiro-Robinson's charges because sociopaths are compulsive liars. It is how they are built, folks.

Before we all jump to conclusions, let's get all the facts!

good work. Nevin's house of cards is crumbling one by one. yahoo didn't do their homework. and the ncaa will quickly figure that out.

Many UM football fans want Shalala gone so Manny, while I personally love this article, you are going to make a lot of UM football fans mad, because in "their" eyes she is the only reason UM football has recently become mediocre. Never mind the fact that the school has risen to great heights academically and she has begun to also spend some money on the football and basketball teams. Has the sports program always been top priority with her? No. We have to remember though that she is the President of the ENTIRE university and that most of us are FANS of the football/basketball or baseball teams. Her job is to concentrate on the entire university not just the 3 sports teams. Do these teams make the school millions of dollars? Yes they do, but the school also makes millions of dollars in other forms of the academic program. The lady would not be doing her job if she just ran a friggin' football factory like many people want her to. Anyhow, the media has been talking about her salivating over this $50,000 check. Now that we see the context of how she received it (which one of us who may be in need and ask a family member for $50.00 and they tell another relative about our plight and that relative gives us a check for $500.00 would not be in shock when we received it). Stop bashing on Shalala. Believe me, UM could not have a better president than her at this moment. She understands how it is to run a small private school on a fixed budget and believe it or not, she has done a great job at the school of opening up 'legitimate' revenue streams. If she is guilty of anything, the NCAA will rule on it and she will have to go. Lets just hope more holes are blown in Shapiro's story and we get a favorable ruling.

Who cares what a bowling alley owner has to say?? He is a law school grad AKA a Lawyer!!

Posted by: chris | August 20, 2011 at 10:57 PM

Are you seriously going to try to convince anyone that just because someone is a Lawyer, that's reason enough to give that person full credibility ? Really ? Can you see the raised eyebrow irony here ? Listen, nothing against this man, Lawyer or not. I agree Donna didn't see this coming and he is defending her and rightfully so if that's what he knows or believes. I agree with him. But when the "Owner" of a high profile establishment says that he got to know and become friends with this scumbag Shapiro because he was "in there All the time", and then is quoted in this very article with,

___

***Among Shapiro's many allegations against the school he supported for years as a booster is that he often treated UM players to food and entertainment at Lucky Strike including current players Ray-Ray Armstrong, Travis Benjamin, Dyron Dye, Sean Spence, Marcus Forston, Jojo Nicolas and Aldarius Johnson.

On at least one occasion according to the Yahoo! story, Shapiro alleges he rang up a bill of $2,114.18 on Sept. 13 to Sept. 15 during a "bowling for dollars" event where he gave players on winning teams $100 each.

Elias said while that may have happened under his nose, he doesn't remember seeing Shapiro at Lucky Strike often with UM players. But he does remember Shapiro ringing up similar tabs while he partied with his girlfriend and others.

"Now, occasionally I would see a few UM players there. I don't ever recall seeing all the guys he mentioned, usually it was two or three who came to watch football or bowl or whatever. (((Now, I never collected credit cards,))) but he never ever told me he paid for them. He never he told me he paid for this bowling for dollars.***

___

Now those last words are those of a man with a Law Degree. Neither confirm nor deny. Pure Lawyer speak. I'm sure Mr. Elias is a fine man. But this article was initially about what he knew in regards to Donna Shalala and evolved into one final question which simply was, "Did you ever see Nevin Shapiro pay for these outings that involved UM Football players". And all the sudden he turns into Sargeant Schultz and saw or heard nothing? The man is the owner and owners no everything going on in their places of business. My greatest worries aren't that Shapiro payed for some recreation time from time to time for players, it's that he did it to the hundredth power for them over an 8 year period at multiple establishments multiple times that seem to be sadly believable. And that is all the NCAA needs to tie the current kids on the roster all the way back to 2002 win this all allegedly began. And tust me, now that Mr. Elias is on the record, rest assured that the NCAA has another Avenue to serch for more evidence. And he will be contacted to tell them all he knows.

The only way we get out of this with less than major sanctions is simply what a very good Lawyer would advise...

SAY NOTHING !!!

Hang tough fellow Canes and be let it play out. Until then, we should channel our inner Sargeant Schultz's

sorry "know" "when" "let it" 1:30 am here

"don't know, don't remember, don't recall"

Championships,
You are a stand up guy. You have your reasons to dislike Randy and as a fan that is your right. I personally like him and believe he will always be a 'Cane due to his history with the program, but I agree that a change was needed and believe that we have a Coach now who can get us back to were we all want to be. Let's hope this all blows over or we get the minimum punishment as possible. However it works out, my belief is this: The Miami Hurricanes football program will ALWAYS rise against set backs and obstacles in it's way. If our names weren't the Hurricanes, it should be the Phoenix (always rising from the ashes).

Cane4life. You are right, RS was the one that ran Shapiro. And did it publically. Wonder if that is why the players laid down on him?? He tried to cut off their sugar daddy!!!
As far as shalalala, fire her, her time is up. She is the pnly link to all this bs. She knew about Shapiro, especially his luxury box at the stadium and what went on there. She went down the hall to visit. He was not allowed to put in stripper poles there. This belated article is a nice try at putting lipstick on a pig. That's an old saying no reference to people. Fire shalalala NOW!!!

An old, wise man once told me to never ever trust a man wearing white shorts or pants...take that to the bank

Ask yourselves how many of these bad loan mortgage brokers probably donated money to their schoools? Nobodys investigating that and handing the money back. You think $930 million dollar swindler was just bilking hourly employees? Look I understand the criticism, but I've donated to my University and public TV station. They don't investigate the person nor where the money came from. As long as the check clears they'll continue accepting donations. As long as the person has a legitimate business it ok to accept. Its the governments job to discover any criminal wrong doings.

Great supporting article that sheds light on the kids in a good way !!!

No money was ever seen passing hands from a very credible source... over a long period of time and goes a long ways supporting the players who attended.

Good stuff... Need others to volunteer good articles about our team and get it in print...

Support the U

Cat5cane. What article are you referring too.

Was his company not a legit investment firm licensed by the SEC (not football conference? Acceoting a check from him is not different than if she had accepted a check from the head if AIG or Morgan Stanley and we know what thype of schisters they are. I don't think the the goverment is looking to punish those that were swindled so why are you all punishment the University for being swindled? UM is a victim.

All you former UM graduates that want to return your diploma, please do so. You obviously don't know what an accusation is and you have no loyalty. We don't want you. GTFO!!!!!!

Tampa cane. NCAA is it's own entity and has nothing to do with sec or govt. The key is proof and so far the only proof is 50k and 2 escaldes to wilfork and maybe a 2k suit to magahee which is outside the 4 years. That's why they want to maybe go back further, but they need indications the U knew and condoned this.

1 2 »

The comments to this entry are closed.