Last Friday, former Miami Beach Police Chief Donald DeLucca was pegged for the chief's position in the Golden Beach department.
Call us crazy. But we think before he takes that cushy twilight gig which will pay him between $80,000 and $100,000 annually he should probably explain why he was using his former position to buy hotel rooms for South Florida's slimiest criminal.
Between August 2006 and December 2007, DeLucca and Nevin Shapiro the since-convicted Ponzi schemer who recently imploded the University of Miami football program with jailhouse claims that included buying hookers and throwing hotel sex parties for student athletes exchanged roughly three dozen emails using the chief's official email address, according to public records that Riptide requested.
Several of the emails consisted of DeLucca arranging hotel reservations for Shapiro at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, where the chief apparently had a special rate. On August 15, 2006, for example, DeLucca's (tax-paid) executive office associate, Tricia Reeder, emailed the Ritz's general manager: The Chief's good friend Nevin Shapiro needs two rooms for tonight (8/15/06) at the Ritz-Carlton. Would you be able to help him with that? Thanks for your help!
She later confirmed that both rooms should be put in Shapiro's name.
The scam artist and the chief developed a system, with Shapiro sending him one-line emails with names and dates and DeLucca reserving the corresponding hotel rooms.
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For a weekend in February 2007, DeLucca reserved four ocean-view hotel rooms for the relative bargain rate of $225 a night for four businessmen: Peter Indovina, Jarrett Bostwick, Mike Lester, and Larry Anders. Lester, an investment broker in Dallas, Texas, says the reservation came about when he and his partner Anders heard about Shapiro's "investment opportunity... The idea was that we would fly down to Florida and have a good time."
Lester and his partner canceled, he continues, when he decided Shapiro's business which he recalls as a "food brokerage" didn't "fit our model." Of course, now we know Shapiro's business model as a $930 million Ponzi scheme.
DeLucca, who retired from the force in 2007, for several days has dodged our calls to Verasys, the Miami security company where he's now executive vice president. But it was no secret in the Miami Beach Police Department that he and Shapiro were BFFs, says Gustavo Sanchez, vice president of the department's officers union. "Nevin would be in and out of the chief's office so much that you'd think he was assistant chief," Sanchez explains, adding that cops wondered about the chief's association with a man of dubious wealth who often paraded around the police station with "women that were obviously hookers."