Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme CourtMiami New Times. In this special edition of Luke's Gospel, the former 2 Live Crew frontman discusses Nevin K. Shapiro, a University of Miami booster who was arrested and criminally charged Wednesday for allegedly orchestrating a $900 million Ponzi scheme. He spent $38 million on himself.
I can't recall exactly when I met Shapiro, but I remember we were mutual friends with a couple of alumni members. Some of our pals called him "Baby Luke" because, like me, he had graduated from Miami Beach Senior High and he loved the University of Miami even though he never got a degree there. Our love for the Hurricanes is how we struck up a conversation. Shapiro has an encyclopedic knowledge of the program. He was all about the U.
That's all we would talk about, from the direction the program was headed to who was the better quarterback during the 2008 season. He liked Robert Marve. I prefer Jacory Harris. We argued about that a lot.
For the 2009 season, Shapiro invited me to his suite at Sun Life Stadium for a couple of Hurricanes home games. During one of those games, he let me know he wanted to start his own sports agency. He wanted me to be involved because of my relationships with former University of Miami players.
He wasn't the first.
I've gotten all kinds of offers from people who want to become the next
Drew Rosenhaus using my connections. It is something I am always leery
of because the last thing I am going to do is mess up my reputation
with former players from the University of Miami, many of whom I've
known since they were kids playing little league football in the parks.
So many agents (real and wannabes) end up scamming these players.
I initially thought Shapiro was somewhat legit because the University of Miami had
put his name on a building. He was a booster, and he knew a lot of alumni. (By the way, I am just a Hurricanes supporter and fan. Miami Herald reporter Douglas Hanks incorrectly identified me as a booster for his story. I have never raised money for the school.)
Like any proposed business
venture, I had to do my due diligence and try to find out who this guy was. He invited me over to his $5 million waterfront mansion on Miami
He had some serious eye candy walking inside his house, like his
beautiful black girlfriend. And he had some fine Asian girls in there
too. Shapiro took me into this room where he had on display all these
jerseys that had been actually worn by former players. He bragged he
was friends with a lot of the guys. He name-dropped Jonathan Vilma and
Vince Wilfork (of the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots, respectively).
He told me he was in investing in import and export of groceries. He tried to explain his
business model to me, but it was over my head. We had one more meeting
over dinner. He introduced me to his supposed partner and some sports
agent who was going to be involved as well. But there was something off
about the whole thing. I kept reading his partner's body language and
he looked like he was just there for show, like he was doing Shapiro a
The agency idea never materialized.
The last time I spoke
with him, Shapiro was complaining that he wasn't going to renew his
season tickets this year. He didn't think the school should extend
coach Randy Shannon's contract or give him a raise. I think he didn't
like that Randy wouldn't return his phone calls. He was always bitching
about that. He didn't know that Randy doesn't really talk with any
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Now if Shapiro is behind the Ponzi scheme, that
ain't cool. There is nothing worse than a Ponzi schemer. You can't be
fucking with other people's money.