Miami Investigation

Allegations: Devin Hester

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Nevin Shapiro and a second source said this photo was taken in October 2003 at Japanese steakhouse Benihana, during a birthday celebration for Tavares Gooden. From left to right are Shapiro, Gooden (standing) and Devin Hester (seated). Shapiro and the second source said the booster paid the bill for this dinner.
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Nevin Shapiro on Hester: Play audio

Miami booster Nevin Shapiro alleges he provided multiple extra benefits to Devin Hester starting in his freshman season. Among the benefits he claimed to have provided:

• Multiple cash gifts.

• Cash for rims for Hester’s sport utility vehicle.

• Approximately $3,000 for an engagement ring.

• Playoff tickets to a Miami Heat versus Detroit Pistons playoff game on June 6, 2005. Shapiro said it was at this game that Hester proposed to his girlfriend with the ring also purchased by the booster.

• Drinks and VIP access at nightclubs.

• Multiple meals at Miami-area restaurants.

• Food, drinks, entertainment and lodging at Shapiro’s $2.7 million Miami Beach home.

• Entertainment on Shapiro’s $1.6 million yacht and jet skis.

• A suit, shoes and other clothing purchased for Hester in August 2005 at Fashion Clothiers.

• $7,500 in bounties. The bounties were: $1,000 total for a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown ($500) and an ensuing celebration penalty ($500) in a 38-33 win over Florida on Sept. 6, 2003; $2,500 total for two punt returns for touchdowns ($1,000 each) and one celebration penalty ($500) in a 48-0 win over Louisiana Tech on Sept. 18, 2004; $2,000 total for two return touchdowns (including one called back by penalty) in a 41-38 win over Louisville on Oct. 14, 2004; $1,000 total for a kickoff return for a touchdown in a 45-31 win over N.C. State on Oct. 23, 2004; and $1,000 total for a missed field goal returned for a touchdown in a 27-10 win over Florida on Dec. 31, 2004.

Corroborating accounts

• One source corroborated Shapiro’s account of Hester receiving food, entertainment and lodging in the booster’s home. According to the source, Hester was having issues with a roommate and stayed at Shapiro’s home for a sustained period of time.

• One source corroborated Shapiro giving Hester cash, including a payment to purchase rims for his SUV.

• One source corroborated Shapiro purchasing an engagement ring for approximately $3,000 to $4,000 at Buchwald Jewelers.

• Shelly Bloom, the owner and operator of Fashion Clothiers in Miami corroborated Shapiro purchasing a suit and clothing for Hester in his store. Yahoo! Sports also acquired Shapiro’s August 2005 Discover credit card statement, showing a $5,371.40 charge to Fashion Clothiers, on the date which Shapiro said he took Hester and Tavares Gooden to the retailer to purchase suits and other clothing.

• Yahoo! Sports acquired Shapiro’s June 2005 American Express black card showing charges of $970 Heat tickets the day before Miami’s Game 7 playoff tilt against the Detroit Pistons on June 6, 2005.

• Yahoo! Sports acquired a photo of Hester sitting in Shapiro’s VIP section of Opium Garden nightclub in 2003.

• Two sources confirmed Hester receiving drinks and VIP access to nightclubs from Shapiro.

• Yahoo! Sports acquired a photo of Hester with Shapiro at an October 2003 dinner paid by the booster at Japanese steakhouse Benihana.

In Shapiro’s words

• “Devin Hester was a really introverted kid. Very quiet. [I] saw him sitting outside Larry Coker’s office, where he was unsure if he was ever going to play a down of football at the University of Miami. [I] started off taking him for lunches, meeting him for dinner, coming to my house often. He stayed at my house a few times, but was in my house often. I bought him rims for his [Lincoln] Navigator I believe it was. It was a truck.”

• “I was giving Devin cash. Three hundred here, four hundred there, two hundred there, four hundred there. … He was getting serious with an athlete at the University of Miami. Her name was Tamara James. We called her T.J. She played basketball. I bought him an engagement ring, which was a promise ring. I think it was about $3,000. He gave it to her, proposed at the Miami Heat playoff game seven against the Detroit Pistons, sitting up in about the 22nd to 25th row.”

• “He was always on my yacht. I mean at least 15, 20 times. He wrecked one of my jet skis. Cost me eight, nine, ten thousand. I don’t remember exactly.”

Multiple sources say this photo was taken in Nevin Shapiro’s VIP section at Opium Garden nightclub in Miami Beach in 2003. From left to right are Devin Hester, Shapiro and Vince Wilfork.
Nevin Shapiro said Devin Hester signed this photo for him during the 2005 season. Hester’s inscription to Shapiro reads: To: Nevin. Devin’s big cuz 4 Life. D Hester #4 “Go Canes”
Nevin Shapiro said Devin Hester signed this photo for him during the 2005 season, with the personal message inscribed to Shapiro’s nickname among players: “Lil’ Luke” The nickname was short for “Little Luther Campbell,” an homage to the recording artist who was also known for providing extra benefits to Miami players. Hester’s inscription to Shapiro reads: “To: LiL Luke, The one that just don’t give a f***!” D Hester #4
Photos special to Yahoo! Sports

Documents

This page from Nevin Shapiro’s August 2005 Discover credit card bill shows a charge of $5,371.40 to Fashion Clothiers, matching up with a date the booster says he took Devin Hester and Tavares Gooden to the shop to purchase suits and other assorted clothing. PDF file

 

This page from Shapiro’s June 2005 American Express black card statement shows total charges of $970 that the booster identified as Miami Heat playoff tickets he purchased for Devin Hester and his then-girlfriend, Hurricanes basketball player Tamara James. Shapiro said the tickets were for Miami’s Game 7 tilt against the Detroit Pistons on June 6, 2005, and that Hester proposed to James that same day, with a $3,000 engagement ring also purchased by the booster. PDF file

Response

Did not respond to a phone message.

Charles Robinson is the senior investigative reporter for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Charles a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Tuesday, Aug 16, 2011

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