Former Miami Beach Police chief Donald DeLucca has been named top cop of the Golden Beach force despite possibly facilitating Nevin Shapiro's Ponzi scheme.
We broke the news yesterday that DeLucca was in the habit of reserving South Beach Ritz-Carlton rooms for Shapiro, using his police office to secure an apparently discounted rate. We learned of the arrangement after requesting more than three dozen emails between the two.
In at least one case, the hotel rooms were intended to be used to woo prospective investors.
Riptide spoke to Michael Lester, a Dallas, Texas investment broker who was among four businessmen for whom Shapiro had DeLucca arrange ocean view rooms in February 2007, for the relative bargain rate of $225 a night. Lester says that the reservation came about when he and his partner, Larry 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 cancelled, he continues, when he decided Shapiro's business-- which he recalls as a "food brokerage"--didn't "fit our model."
Of course, we now know that Shapiro's business model was a $930 million Ponzi scheme. "We dodged a bullet on that one," says Lester.
Shapiro is currently serving a 20-year-sentence, and recently imploded the University of Miami football program with jailhouse claims that included him buying hookers and throwing hotel sex parties for student athletes.
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We contacted Golden Beach mayor Glenn Singer this morning, before the hiring was announced, and asked whether DeLucca's queasy relationship with Shapiro would make him rethink the former chief's job candidacy.
"No," Singer told us. "First off, I haven't seen the emails. Secondly, this guy Shapiro duped the entire University of Miami faculty."
We sent the mayor the emails. Apparently, he didn't care.