Miami Investigation

Allegations: Jonathan Vilma

More in this article:
Nevin Shapiro and a second source said this photo of Jonathan Vilma (left) and the booster (right) was taken in Shapiro’s VIP section of Opium Garden nightclub in 2003.

Nevin Shapiro on Vilma: Play audio

Jonathan Vilma was one of dozens of Hurricanes players named by Nevin Shapiro in recorded interviews with federal agents. During those interviews, the booster admitted supplying countless benefits to an array of Miami players from 2002 to 2010. Shapiro alleges he provided multiple extra benefits to Vilma during the player’s career with the Hurricanes. Among the benefits he claimed to have provided:

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

• Entertainment on Shapiro’s $1.6 million yacht and personal watercraft.

• $2,250 in bounties. Shapiro said the bounties were: $1,000 for a hit and personal foul penalty by Vilma on Florida State quarterback Chris Rix during Miami’s 28-27 win on Oct. 12, 2002; $250 for a sack in a 38-33 win over Florida on Sept. 6, 2003; and $1,000 for a hit on Rix in a 16-14 win over Florida State on Jan. 1, 2004.

• Cash gifts.

• Drinks and VIP access in nightclubs.

• Meals at Miami-area eateries on multiple occasions.

Corroborating accounts

• One source corroborated Vilma taking multiple trips on Shapiro’s yacht. Yahoo! Sports has also acquired multiple photos showing Vilma on the booster’s yacht on at least two different occasions in 2003.

• One source corroborated Shapiro paying bounties to Vilma.

• One source corroborated Vilma eating dinners with Shapiro on multiple occasions. Yahoo! Sports also acquired two photos of Vilma attending dinners on two different occasions with Shapiro at Japanese steakhouse Benihana. Shapiro and a second source said the booster paid for both meals.

• Two sources corroborated Vilma receiving drinks and VIP access from Shapiro in nightclubs on multiple occasions. Yahoo! Sports also acquired a photo of Vilma sitting with the booster in his VIP section of Opium Garden nightclub in 2003.

• One source corroborated Vilma receiving food, drinks and entertainment at Shapiro’s $2.7 million Miami Beach home on multiple occasions. Yahoo! Sports also acquired photos of Vilma attending the booster’s 34th birthday party with multiple players at his home in 2003.

In Shapiro’s words

• “Jon Vilma was just about the same exact situation as D.J. Williams. [He] was in my house a number of times. I gave him cash, paid bounties to him for hurt quarterbacks – Chris Rix, in particular, from Florida State. And there’s one play specifically [in 2002] where you can see Rix diving for the first down and Vilma pounded him and got thrown a 15-yard penalty for getting in his face. That was part of my [bounty] discussion with him.”

• “I gave him cash any number of times. Clubs, my house, my boat, jet skis, fishing trips – early in the morning, which the whole defensive line would be on. Jon was an avid fisherman.”

Nevin Shapiro and a second source said this photo was taken at the booster’s 34th birthday party. From left to right are D.J. Williams, Jonathan Vilma and then-recruit Worrell Williams.
Nevin Shapiro said Vilma signed and inscribed this photo to him in 2003, 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. Vilma’s inscription to Shapiro reads: “To Nevin (A.K.A. Little Luther!!) The best friend a guy could have!!! - Jon Vilma 51”
Nevin Shapiro said this photo was taken on his yacht during a fishing trip in the summer of 2003. From left to right are Jonathan Vilma, Shapiro and William Joseph. Joseph had been drafted by the Oakland Raiders by the time this photo was taken.
Nevin Shapiro and a second source said this photo was taken at a dinner paid by the booster at Japanese steakhouse Benihana during the Hurricanes’ 2002 season. From left to right are Jonathan Vilma, Cornelius Green, Shapiro, Andrew Williams and D.J. Williams.
Nevin Shapiro and a second source say this photo was taken at  Japanese steakhouse Benihana in 2003. The dinner, which was paid for by Shapiro, was attended by players Jonathan Vilma (standing on left), Santonio Thomas (standing on right) and Vince Wilfork (seated in red on right).
Photos special to Yahoo! Sports


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 92 calls or texts between Shapiro and Jon Vilma from February 2009 to February 2010. This is a page showing communication between the booster and a phone number linked to Vilma. PDF file


Did not return a message left on his cell phone.

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

Video Spotlight