Miami Investigation

Allegations: Frank Haith

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Nevin Shapiro said this photo was taken during a basketball fundraiser in 2008, in which the booster donated $50,000 to the program. From left to right are men’s basketball coach Frank Haith, Shapiro and University of Miami president Donna Shalala. Shalala is holding Shapiro’s donation check.
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Nevin Shapiro on Haith: Play audio

Miami booster Nevin Shapiro alleges that Frank Haith had knowledge of a $10,000 payment the booster made to secure the commitment of basketball recruit DeQuan Jones. Among Shapiro’s allegations:

• The booster alleges that in the early summer of 2008, he was made aware by assistant coach Jake Morton that a member of then-recruit DeQuan Jones’ family required $10,000 to ensure the player’s commitment to Miami. Shapiro said he agreed to put up the money, and Morton met the booster at his Miami Beach mansion to pick up the cash.

• Shapiro said Haith acknowledged knowing about Shapiro’s role in the $10,000 payment and expressed gratitude to him for it when the two met at David’s Café later in the summer of 2008.

• Shapiro alleges the $10,000 was later returned by Morton in June 2010, after the booster had been incarcerated and left angry messages for Morton and Haith about refusing to take his calls. Shapiro said that during those messages, he remarked about having paid $10,000 to secure Jones’ commitment for the basketball team.

• The booster alleges that shortly after he left those messages, Morton reached out to his bodyguard and expressed a desire to return the $10,000. Shapiro said the money was returned by Morton, who met one of the booster’s bodyguards near the home of his mother and turned over the cash in June of 2010.

• Shapiro said he paid for dinners for Haith at several Miami Beach eateries, including a dinner at Prime 112 in late August of 2008.

• The booster said he paid for strip club visits for Haith, including a visit to Solid Gold in late August of 2008.

Nevin Shapiro said this photo was taken of him, Miami basketball coach Frank Haith (middle) and basketball assistant Jake Morton (right) at Philipe Chow in the fall of 2008.
(Photos special to Yahoo! Sports)

Corroborating accounts

• Yahoo! Sports acquired Shapiro’s August 2008 American Express Black card, showing charges for both Prime 112 and Solid Gold in late August. Yahoo! Sports also viewed testimony of investor Sherwin Jarol in Shapiro’s Ponzi case, in which Jarol identifies “the coach from the Miami basketball team” attending a dinner at Prime 112 and a trip to Solid Gold strip club with both he and Shapiro.

In Shapiro’s words

• “Coach Haith gave me a call, introduced himself. We then struck up a very close relationship. I guess we went to lunch a couple times. Then we spent some personal nights at Solid Gold [strip club] between him and coach Jake Morton, who is the assistant coach.”

• “I gave [the basketball coaches] $10,000 for a player named DeQuan Jones. DeQuan Jones committed to Miami from Georgia. A school in Georgia. I’m not sure where. I never had a dealing directly with the kid. The money was given to Jake Morton at my house. …

• “By the way, the $10,000 they did return to me after I was incarcerated when I became pissed off [at] the fact that they were ignoring my calls. … [Morton] followed one of my security guards up to my mother’s house [and] gave the money to my mother directly.”

Documents

Nevin Shapiro’s cell phone providers condensed his calling records from 2002 to 2008 and deleted the booster’s text messaging records prior to 2009. Despite a significant portion of his records being expunged, Yahoo! Sports was able to identify 85 calls or texts between Shapiro and Frank Haith from 2005 to March 2010. These are two pages showing communication between the booster and two phone numbers linked to Haith. PDF file

This page from Shapiro’s August 2008 American Express black card statement shows multiple charges to Prime 112 and Solid Gold strip club which he says have Miami ties. Shapiro said he took Miami basketball coach Frank Haith to a dinner at Prime 112 late that month, along with several women and one of his investors, Sherwin Jarol. Shapiro said he also took Jarol to two Solid Gold strip club visits late that month – one with Haith, and a second visit with Hurricanes players Robert Marve and Kayne Farquharson, who were both suspended from Miami’s season-opening game that month. Jarol expounded on the Prime 112 dinner and strip club visits while testifying to federal prosecutors during Shapiro’s Ponzi case, affirming the presence of “the coach from the Miami basketball team” and “a couple of football players [from] … the university of Miami.” Shapiro’s American Express black card shows $2,893.26 in charges to Prime 112 on August 27, 2008, and $3,765 in charges to Solid Gold (listed as “Golden Eateries”) on the night of the 27th and morning of the 28th. Two days later, there is a second visit to Solid Gold, displaying $3,900 in charges. PDF file

Response

Frank Haith released a statement to Yahoo! Sports: “In response to a recent news article, I can confirm that the NCAA has asked to speak with me regarding the time I spent at the University of Miami. I am more than happy to cooperate with the national office on this issue and look forward to a quick resolution. The NCAA has instructed me not to comment further at this time in order to protect the integrity of their review, so I appreciate your understanding in this matter. The reports questioning my personal interactions with Mr. Shapiro are not an accurate portrayal of my character and per the above I am unable to comment further.” (Updated 2:11 p.m. ET, Aug. 17, 2011)

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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