Miami Investigation

Allegations: Vince Wilfork

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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.
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Nevin Shapiro on Wilfork: Play audio

Miami booster Nevin Shapiro alleges he provided Vince Wilfork with multiple extra benefits following Wilfork’s freshman season and lasting through the defensive tackle’s final game with the Hurricanes. Among the benefits the booster claims to have provided:

• A $50,000 lump sum payment during Wilfork’s junior season. Shapiro said the payment was made to secure Wilfork’s commitment to Shapiro’s sports agency, Axcess Sports, which he co-owned with then-NFL agent and current UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue. Wilfork eventually signed with Axcess Sports and his first NFL contract was negotiated by Huyghue.

• Multiple cash gifts totaling in the thousands of dollars.

• Three bounty payments totaling $1,250. A bounty of $500 was paid for a sack and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by Wilfork in a 41-16 win over Florida on Sept. 7, 2002. A second bounty of $250 was paid for a sack by Wilfork in a 38-33 win over Florida on Sept. 6, 2003. A third bounty of $500 was paid for a fumble recovery by Wilfork in a 22-14 win over Florida State on Oct. 11, 2003.

• Multiple trips to nightclubs where Shapiro paid for VIP access and drinks.

• Multiple fishing and leisure trips on the booster’s $1.6 million yacht.

• Multiple meals at Miami-area restaurants.

• Lodging, food and drinks at Shapiro’s $2.7 million Miami Beach home.

• A washer and dryer worth approximately $1,500, which was picked up at the home of Shapiro’s mother by Wilfork, Santonio Thomas and one of Shapiro’s employees.

Corroborating accounts

Multiple sources say this photo of Wilfork was taken in Shapiro’s VIP section at Opium Garden nightclub in Miami Beach in 2003.

• One source corroborated Shapiro’s account of the $50,000 cash payment, verifying they were on hand and witnessed the cash being taken from a box in a locked drawer [the source referred to it as Shapiro’s “drawer safe”] on the second floor of Shapiro’s home and delivered to Wilfork and his then-fiancée in a paper bag. The source described the cash as five stacks of $10,000, each bound in a bank ribbon.

• Two sources corroborated Shapiro having provided Wilfork with drinks and VIP access at various nightclubs. Yahoo! Sports also obtained photos of Wilfork sitting in Shapiro’s VIP section at the Opium Garden nightclub in 2003.

• One source corroborated Shapiro providing Wilfork with lodging, food and drinks at the former booster’s home.

• Yahoo! Sports also obtained a photo of Wilfork and other players with Shapiro at Japanese steakhouse Benihana in 2003.

• Two sources corroborated Shapiro providing Wilfork with the washer and dryer.

In Shapiro’s words

• “[I asked Wilfork] ‘What’s it going to take for [you] to sign with Axcess [Sports]?’ We gave him $50,000 in cash. He was in the middle of his junior [season]. After that, I was at the draft day party with him – which we put together for him.”

• “He was on my boat a number of times. He stayed at my house. He was in my house. We were in the clubs, although he wasn’t a club guy – but he was there at least 10 times with me. I gave him cash any number of times, just on the cuff, no real reason other than extra help with money.”

This photo was taken at Wilfork’s draft day party at GameWorks in Coral Gables, Fla., on April 24, 2004. From left to right are former Axcess Sports co-owner/agent Michael Huyghue, Wilfork (on phone) and Shapiro (far right).
Multiple sources say this photo was taken in Shapiro’s VIP section at Opium Garden nightclub in Miami Beach in 2003. From left to right are Shapiro, William Joseph, Vince Wilfork and Jonathan Vilma.
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).
This photo of Shapiro (middle) and Wilfork (right) was taken at the Hurricanes’ 2001 awards banquet.
This photo of Shapiro and Wilfork was taken at Miami’s team awards banquet following the 2002 season.
Shapiro said Wilfork signed this photo for him in 2003, with the personal message “To: Short [expletive]”.
Photos special to Yahoo! Sports

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 190 calls or texts between Shapiro and Vince Wilfork from October 2009 to the booster’s incarceration in April 2010. This is a page showing communication between the booster and a phone number linked to Wilfork. PDF file

Response

When contacted by Yahoo! Sports Wilfork declined to speak about Shapiro. “I’m not interested buddy,” Wilfork said, before hanging up.

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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