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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

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Amazing they found Shalala in a pair of pants.

I still can't believe a school run by a veteran of the Clinton Administration would be mired in scandal about fundraising.

The Swiss cheese continues to ripen. Good job Manny...if the Yahoo reporters did not even attempt to corroborate the allegations with Elias, this whole 'story' will soon be dead in the water.

cane 03, You're and Idiot

Championships keep on reppn the U. Fore some reason i think we will survive this witch hunt.

Posted by: Cane4Life

Shalala is the common denominator in all of this. She hired just about every UM administrator or coach.

Forget the $50K, it's Haith, Coker, etc... All while she was president.

We were on the cover of USA Today! She has to go.

Agree with Championship...Shannon is the only one who actually took a stand on Shapiro.

This is really ugly guys, we're not going to get out of this without sanctions. The $10K to Haith and Tyrone Moss alone will take us down.

The truth will eventualy be vetted out, especially with the document eveidence. If there isnt any truth, the NCAA will make it up, as Paul Dee did against USC.

This is an important analysis of the allegations against the Miami Hurricanes: http://allabouttheu.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/renegade-reporter-spells-out-litany-of-accusations-while-often-failing-to-substantiate-his-claims/

If Donna S cashed that check she should return it to Shapiro's victims.

GK. The way this broke I don't see anyway that something does not happen. People in this country are not smart enough to see bs from the truth. Even myself a Hurricane fan for 60 years thought this was terrible. It took a lot of digging to even start to see most of this is melting ice cream.
Bottom line is we must remain confident that the real truth will come out but first

Fire shalalalala NOW

I dont want shala gone unless she did something wrong and these allegations are true if that happens in my opinion her dee, and any other people involved should be perma banned from college athletics. Want to change college. Stop punishing the school start punishing the coaches, and admistrators who let this stuff happen with perma bans from college admin or coaching jobs for life. U bet your butt coaches and higher ups would be more vigilent and less likely to cheat. U punish the athlete but coaches and administrators get off scott free that has to change.

Thanx guys, I'm kinda feeling like what GK said is what is really going down here. They have cleared everyone but our players. To be honest with U I believe the NCAA just wants to flex its old muscles and scare every program in the Nation and how do U do that? By taking the most recognizable symbol and team out there and making an example out of them. Thats why the NCAA is talking about using a loop hole by going back more than 4 years ago and try and do something. Now they will not do this type of thing to an Alabama, a Texas, a Notre Dame, Ohio State or any other big name team from their beloved SEC but a school like Miami is one they would do this to. This has become the most ridiculous case I have ever seen. Its almost like they they are saying "if we can't prove anything against them we are going to make something up so this happens one way or another." They are as pathetic as Shapiro himself.

Mainecane, I agree whole heartedly. And I am glad Big ZO is bringing this lawsuit against the NCAA. Something has got to change where the innocent players, coaches and fans are not punished if misdeeds are done by some. If Haith is guilty he should be fired by Missouri and he himself sanctioned. And that goes for everybody guilty whether it be Shalala, Haith Panzy, Stoutland or anyone. I still say the more I hear the more this seems like the NCAA has the "little pee pee" syndrome where they are just doing a witch hunt.

On a sidenote, since ESPN loves to basically find us guilty and make money off of the ratings off of this story. Why haven't they interviewed or had Randy SHannon on yet to give his views of the situation. I guess that would blow their whole story up and ratings would go down.

Maine cane, bank on it she knew he was a slime ball. The only person to stand up to him was Randy Shannon. All you need to know is what he did in his skybox at the stadium and that she knew it by visiting. How do you say stripper poles in the box. It's well known how he acted in public, think he acted differently at sun life??
Do us all a favor Donna resign, or regents fire shalalala NOW.

Shout out to my fellow UM Law Grad. Elias was trained well! Shapiro is a master at deception and lying. He stole millions and now has a master plan to to earn millions on a book or tv deal, if he gets out of prison. Why don't the US Attorney get involved with Shapiro's sex trafficking offenses. He arranged and conspired prostitution services on state and international waters. I've witnessed the US Attorney's office in Miami and Atlanta put away surposed pimps from Miami to Atlanta on lesser allegations of providing prostitutes for private parties. Shapiro also admitted to money laudering in several ocassions when he claimed to have passed on large sums of cash ($50K to Wilfork and other recruits of his sports agency) to individuals in a manner to avoid transaction reporting laws. I call for the US Attorney's office to look further at this guy and his bag of illegal activities.

As for the news media: The Miami Herald has always tried to paint the U in a negative light. I never could understand why. Maybe it just to sell papers. We all know that ESPN has NEVER given a positive story about the U. As our hometown paper I would expect more investigative reporting such as this Elias article. We can do without the empty stories about "competition is heating up for lineman" or "QB competition to close to call." Those are space fillers with no meaningful substance. Let's do some investigative reporting and follow-up on these allegations by Shapiro. That's what we want to read until the season starts. Here's a good one: follow-up with every player ever signed by Shapiro's sports agency and follow the money.

Report on the other blog lots of action at shalalalalas house. Let's hope it's movers.

If not fire her NOW

In your face!!

Good job Mando!

We need more of this, because i don't believe any of those allegations made by that scumbag wanna be big shot guy

suspend the Six Al ...


btw ... it's only 6

.

then ?

People here are clueless. These guys at Yahoo blew the lid off 4 programs and EVERYTHING they have written has been shown as true for all of them..USC, Oregon, etc. They poured through thousands of pages of financials in this case, spent a year digging and talked to players who ADMITTED this happened ON TAPE. People here who are drinking the U koolaid are embarassing. Get a life, your program has not only been cheating for years but they have been irrelevant for years also.


Listen genius- tyrone moss said the interv didnt happen.
Furthermore, you can pour over 100,000 pages and still have no proof. Theyd like to believe they have proof, of ourse, its self promoting.

Do you think these arrogant btrds would ever admit that they do not have proof?

To them its proof, but the reality is.... Its all hearsay

I agree with u van- I know have know Brian for many years-he's a stand up guy-

NCAA's rules are outdated, foolish and are in Place to justify their employment.

Yahoo reported a story w/out confirming and I for 1 hope they are the ones embarrassed when the truth comes out.
The really short guy is a convicted criminal- I thought in this country of Ours - we the people are innocent until proven guilty- he's already in jail for being guilty of a horrible crime- he needs, craves the attention so this was an option he took to get more attention- for anyone to believe anything he says without looking at the facts first has no common sense-all there is are allegations- what Proof- pictures? Any of us can go get pictures of someone-
All you haters can just keep hating- because when the truth is revealed- the U better get a huge apology from those babies at the ncaa-

shalala knew who shapiro was . so did all the coaches , staff etc he had box seats across from all the UM staff , regularly ran out the tunnel w/ the canes .For anybody to believe shalala didnt know who he was , is lol . im a life long cane fan but UM dropped the ball here big time and are just as complicit as player

Aristotle you moron, Moss is ON TAPE. It's him and has been authenticated. Him saying he didn't say anything makes him look more guilty. There is nothing hearsay about having access to the guys financials, phone records and emails that show the connection to players. These all have been authenticated. Your living in a fantasy world. Yahoo did the same with OSU, USC and Orgeon, schools with alot more money than the U to fight it and they all ended up being busted and facts being true. Why would they do the same here and have bad info? Get a life

By the way, I love all the idiots who have no common sense calling people "haters." Hating on what. i went to TCU and we are 20 times more relvant the last decade than Miami. When was the last time anyone even cared about Miami until this? All this does is confirm what people have known for decades...your thug cheaters who don't do a very good job at it.

So, we play Maryland in a week. Any thoughts on that? Tired of this Bull----. If everything is proved to be a firm slap on the wrist, and it may very well be, then can we go play some ball and take out all of this Bull---- on the other teams? Everyone in the country feels that Miami is the absolute worse possible place to be and God O Mighty will strike us Dead! Take away our program and watch us vanish into the Earth's core! Who Cares, our OWN Media dislike us, so what? Enough, we will see what happens later. To the media, go follow Kardasian or who ever. I am into Football and our Players WHO DID NOTHING WRONG. Sinle out the others, but for now, it is a non story. How bout some Football, TEAM REPORTS HERALD? GO CANES!!!!

This program has gone down hill since SHALALYA has been President. FIRE HER!!!

NOBODY gives a ish what happened at some bowling alley. Stop reaching. They're making this bowling alley out to be Studio 54 or something...PLEASE. LOL

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