UM Will Accuse NCAA of Acting Even Shadier in Botched Nevin Shapiro Probe
On Friday, the University of Miami will file a motion asking the NCAA to dismiss its Nevin Shapiro investigation, which was tainted when a now-fired investigator paid Shapiro's attorney to grill witnesses. New Times poured fuel on that fire last week by reporting on the questionable history of another key investigator. And now, the school is set to lob even more accusations at the NCAA.
Even after the NCAA ousted its investigator for paying Shapiro's attorney, his replacement continued to use her to build a case -- a detail curiously covered up in a post-investigation report. Investigators also routinely lied during interviews to try to trick witnesses into corroborating their evidence, the school says.
The new allegations, which leaked to the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson this morning, will be detailed tomorrow in the school's motion to dismiss the NCAA investigation.
Here are the basics: The NCAA fired investigator Ameen Najjar after it learned he'd paid Shapiro's attorney, Maria Elena Perez, to use her client's bankruptcy case to grill witnesses -- including Shapiro's former assistant, Sean Allen -- about his ties to UM.
But new emails show that Stephanie Hannah, who was brought in to replace Najjar, continued to use the same tactic. Shortly before Perez was set to depose Shapiro's former bodyguard, she emailed the lawyer a full list of questions to ask him. (Those emails were put on the public record by Perez, who is defending herself from a Florida Bar complaint.)
Even worse, that fact was totally omitted in a postmortem report by the Cadwalader law firm, which the NCAA hired to look into its own wrongdoing. Is it a coverup?
The firms says no. In an email to the Herald, firm reps say they left Hannah out of the report because she didn't know that Najjar's methods were verboten and because Perez never actually deposed that bodyguard.
Still, neither Hannah's actions nor the report's selective memory help the NCAA look like it's trying to honestly resolve the UM investigation.
UM's complaint will also allege that the NCAA's investigators routinely lied to their interview subjects to try to get them to incriminate others, the Herald reports.
Last week, New Times published a piece about another NCAA investigator, Rich Johanningmeier, who has been accused in past cases of manipulating witnesses.
The NCAA has said it won't dismiss the case before a special hearing in June, but UM's complaint will ask for speedier dismissal given the evidence of wrongdoing.
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