The NCAA investigator who took over the University of Miami case last May attempted, as her fired predecessor did, to use Nevin Shapiro’s attorney to help build a case against Miami — a detail curiously omitted from the NCAA-commissioned report detailing the NCAA’s improper handling of the case, according to an email exchange between the parties relayed to The Miami Herald.
Meanwhile, UM also will allege that NCAA investigators lied to interview subjects by claiming that other people interviewed made comments they never made, in order to trick the subjects into revealing incriminating information they otherwise might not, according to multiple officials familiar with the NCAA’s case against UM and former coaches. UM believes such behavior is unethical.
Both of these details will be included in UM’s motion to dismiss the case that will be submitted to the NCAA on Friday.
UM also will claim that significant charges made against UM in the NCAA’s notice of allegations are uncorroborated by anyone besides Shapiro, and that tainted evidence has not been fully purged from the case.
The NCAA already has informed UM that the infractions committee does not have the authority to dismiss the case before a full hearing in mid-June, but UM is disputing that contention.
Among the new details in the case: Stephanie Hannah, an NCAA director of enforcement who took over the UM case late last May from fired Ameen Najjar, continued Najjar’s policy of working with Shapiro’s attorney, Maria Elena Perez, to try to build a case against UM.
The Cadwalader law firm, asked by the NCAA to investigate its handling of the case, indicated that Najjar ignored the NCAA legal counsel’s instructions and accepted Perez’s proposal to use bankruptcy subpoenas to compel depositions from witnesses who had refused to cooperate with the NCAA. In exchange, Perez would be paid; Perez claimed it would be for her time and expenses, Najjar claimed it would be only for expenses.
“The Perez proposal was unquestionably a bad idea for the NCAA,” the report said.
After taking over for Najjar, Hannah attempted to work with Perez on obtaining information from Shapiro’s bodyguard, Mario Sanchez, who was subpoenaed to appear in a bankruptcy hearing. The deposition with Sanchez never materialized.
In an email exchange with Perez last July, Hannah wrote: “Regarding the enforcement staff’s interest in questioning [name redacted], attached is a document that outlines questions/topics to discuss with him.”
The name redacted was Sanchez, according to multiple sources.
Hannah’s email came to light because Perez included it in her response to the Florida Bar complaint filed against her by Sean Allen, the former UM assistant equipment manager who was subpoenaed by Perez for a bankruptcy court deposition in December 2011.
The NCAA tossed the Allen deposition from evidence because it was obtained improperly, and the matter ultimately led to the firing of NCAA vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach.
Ken Wainstein, from the Cadwalader law firm, emailed on Wednesday that he was busy on a personal matter and could not immediately explain why Hannah’s behavior was omitted from his report. The NCAA declined to comment.
In another e-mail to The Herald on Wednesday night, Wainstein did not offer a specific reason for not including it in his report but said that "after Mr. Najjar left the NCAA, Ms. Hannah became responsible for the U. Miami investigation. As we explained in evaluating Ms. Hannah’s conduct, Ms. Hannah had not been involved in the initial arrangements with Ms. Perez and believed that there was nothing amiss and that it had been blessed prior to her involvement.