Nevin Shapiro assistant Sean Allen clears Canes football

It once seemed convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro's claims of massive corruption would kill the University of Miami's vaunted football program. But secret testimony by a key player in the NCAA drama makes it likely the school will get away with little more than a hand slap.

Sean Allen is a former UM football assistant who worked as Shapiro's personal aide during the time the fraudster claims to have provided players with cash, hookers, and cars. He is the most direct link between Shapiro's bogus business and the Canes.

But on December 19, the baby-faced equipment manager whom players nicknamed "Pee-Wee" told attorneys during a three-hour interview in a bankruptcy proceeding that he has no knowledge of Shapiro giving basketball prospect DeQuan Jones $10,000 or buying cars or hookers for football players.

Derf

"If he ever gave cash to Jones or to UM coaches, I didn't know about it," Allen said.

Neither Nevin Shapiro's attorney Maria Elena Perez nor a UM spokesman responded to New Times' request for comment.

Allen made a prominent cameo last August when Yahoo! Sports launched a heat-seeking missile at UM football by airing Shapiro's boasts about rule-breaking. But Allen's saga is one of the untold chapters in Shapiro's rise to Ponzi-scheme millions and disastrous downfall; although the former Canes manager declined to discuss his deposition, he spoke to New Times for the first time about his association with Shapiro.

Born in 1983 in Bergen County, New Jersey, Sean Allen grew up obsessed with football. His dad, a local IT technician, had season tickets to the New York Jets. At Old Tappan High, Sean made the varsity squad and, despite his slender frame, worked his way up to starting safety by his senior year.

But he was far from a star, so after enrolling at UM in 2001, he quickly volunteered as a student manager. He still remembers his first practice with the Canes, catching bombs from Heisman Trophy finalist Ken Dorsey. "I just couldn't believe it," he says.

When the Canes weren't playing, he spent most weekends at Charles Hadley Park in Liberty City, where he volunteered through Big Brothers Big Sisters to mentor young men. "He was a real good influence on us, actually" says Adonnis Mack, a Liberty City native who met Allen as a ninth-grade club wide receiver. "He'd give guys advice on how to make it to college, whether or not you were going to play football."

During Allen's sophomore year in 2002, he met Shapiro, a Canes hanger-on whose Ponzi scheme was just gaining momentum. "He came across as a really successful young guy who really loved the Hurricanes," Allen says.

In the deposition, Allen recalls a bachelor party around 2003 at a rented house on North Bay Road in Miami Beach that became a drunken bacchanal of athletes, women, and South Beach sycophants. "I had a bad feeling about the party," Allen says. "But I was 20 years old, so I didn't ask any questions."

When Allen graduated in 2005, Shapiro — who had recently pledged $150,000 to UM — asked him to join a sports agency he had started with Michael Huyghue, who ran the United Football League until last month. The effort fizzled after a few months, but the pair stayed in touch.

Then in late 2007, Shapiro hired Allen as his personal assistant. For the next 12 months, Allen watched Shapiro suck in tens of millions of dollars from hapless investors and then blow the money at Mansion nightclub, on a $1.5 million yacht, and on $400,000 in Miami Heat tickets.

Allen mostly worked at Shapiro's opulent $5.4 million manse on Bay Road, cashing big checks at banks around Miami Beach and downtown, and then delivering wads of cash — as much as $20,000 — back to Shapiro to keep in his personal vault. Allen never knew exactly where the money was going, though he knew Shapiro spent heaps on gambling. "I became a different person altogether," Allen says. "Even now, you can show me a stack of bills and I can tell you exactly how much cash it is. I got so used to seeing $40,000 in a pile I could eyeball it."

Allen quit in late 2008, about 16 months before Shapiro's arrest for running a $880 million Ponzi scheme. As things went sour, Shapiro increasingly bullied Allen over his deteriorating business. He issued daily telephone threats — inventing debts he claimed the former assistant owed him — and once even stalked onto a field at UM, where Allen had returned to work as an equipment manager in August 2009. The Ponzi schemer thrust his face into Allen's and screamed until players pulled them apart.

In his deposition, Allen says Shapiro was tight with Canes athletes. "Nevin was close to a lot of players at UM, there's no question," he says. Indeed, Shapiro told Yahoo! Sports that Allen was critical to his paying off athletes and breaking NCAA rules. "[Sean] inevitably became a really good mole in between me and the players," Shapiro said. "He became the go-to guy."

Though NCAA investigators interviewed Allen a few weeks after the story landed, he refused to answer most of their questions. He also declined to talk to Yahoo. But on December 19, Shapiro's attorney, Perez, subpoenaed him to testify in her client's ongoing bankruptcy case.

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12 comments
chris
chris

Go Canes, you can't fault UM for an outside A*hole trying to act like a baller. Nevin Shapiro gets the Dumb Jew of the year award !!

SOBE50
SOBE50

SEAN ALLEN CLEARS CANES FOOTBALL ???

This POS answers a few questions in a DEPOSITION and CLEARS THE CANES !

Yes this is REAL EVIDENCE ! ... Lets stop being ABSURD !

ALLEN has every reason to keep himself and his friends out of any more trouble ... and

stating that he does not remember Morton receiving $10,000 to help bring Jones to the

School means nothing ...

HEY NOT TO WORRY Jones actually came to UM for the sunshine ...

YEAH THATS IT ! he came for the sunshine ...

I am going to put that in my DEPOSITION .. too

ALLEN is no fool .. he is not going to say anything that my put him or others in legal trouble

especially during a DEPOSITION ... its not like it's a TRIAL ..

ALLEN was just moving money to pay gambling debts ... If Morton received any money ...

it was for gambling debts YEAH THATS IT !

"there's nothing illegal about blowing your own money on gambling "

CANES FOOTBALL IS CLEARED !!! [ WHITEWASHED BY ABSURDITY }

JimmyBobby
JimmyBobby

This article misses the point. The sanctions against UM wont boil down to how much Nevin gave to players, many of them are gone and nothing will happen with that. The key information will be how much did Miami's athl dept know, who knew, and what did they do about it once they knew. The most damning thing, actually, will be that Shannon told them to stay away from him...shannon = ath dept in this situation. He's not some rogue coach they can throw under the bus like tressel--they didn't fire him for any NCAA issues. Everybody, including you, is so hung up on what, exactly, the players got....IT DOESN'T MATTER...and nobody gets that.

ebg
ebg

in the end, it will be yahoo and robertson that were taken in by the ponzi schemer shapiro. fitting end because they did not confirm the shapiro version with the "go to guy allen", but confirmed through shapiro. shapiro can rot in jail for all the harm he has done to so many people he swindled. all the self righteous sportscaster calling for the death penalty before the proof was in should all resign and find another line of work.

Fedup
Fedup

How much did that cost UM..........

canesfan24
canesfan24

This article is apparently from the future....Thursday, Feb 23 2012?

Neal Trombley
Neal Trombley

how the sports world will flip when we get our hands slapped.....

Kyle David
Kyle David

one thing the auburn investigation proved is that the ncaa is incompetent. that should have been like shooting fish in a barrel with the players that went on HBO and other outlets admitting they were paid and the ncaa still came up with nothing. why should the um investigation be any different.

Bebep
Bebep

Awww don't get mad cause we're getting a slap on the wrist.

YEAH CANES!

Bebep
Bebep

Point is that there will probably be nobody to be a witness against Miami.

All they have is some asshole in jail that stole $930 million dollars from people as their source. Lets believe THAT guy!

YEAH CANES!

Rnicholson0597
Rnicholson0597

how much has it cost fsu and the gators to keep their dirty laundry from being in the spot light

seep
seep

that's the print publication date (the date on the tabloid)

 
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