MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The attorney at the center of the Nevin Shapiro case said she has done nothing wrong and not the cause of the NCAA’s problems, but the victim.
The NCAA announced Wednesday that it was opening an investigation into the investigation of the University of Miami after the college governing association found what it described as “a very severe issue of improper conduct” by former investigators working on the Nevin Shapiro allegations.
NCAA president Mark Emmert said the organization entered into a contractual agreement with Shapiro’s attorney, Maria Elena Perez that was never approved by the NCAA’s general counsel. Perez was then able to provide the NCAA information which wouldn’t have been available under normal NCAA rules.
For her part, Perez denied any wrongdoing.
“The dubious party is not me,” Perez told the Associated Press. “What I have done is 150 percent above the board. I am a victim of the enforcement staff. Me.”
Emmert spoke angrily at times during a half-hour conference call to discuss the findings, in which he revealed that he briefed the NCAA’s executive committee and the Division I board presidents with some information about the Miami matter. He said he developed a better understanding of what went on in the days that followed, which led to the hiring of Kenneth L. Wainstein of the firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP to conduct the external review of what happened.
Wainstein, Emmert said, will begin his probe on Thursday, with the NCAA hoping that he can finish within two weeks.
Emmert said the NCAA was trying to find out why part of the investigation was based on depositions specific to the bankruptcy case against Shapiro, who will have to repay $82.7 million to his victims as part of his sentence. And the timing of this also is curious.
Several people who were to be named in the NCAA’s notice of allegations against Miami have been told that the document was in the final stages of preparation — and one person who spoke with the AP said at least one person who was to face a charge of wrongdoing was told the letter was scheduled for delivery to Miami on Tuesday.
Emmert said the NCAA will not start a new investigation of Miami and instead will move forward with evidence that wasn’t gathered in violation of association rules. Emmert said it was his understanding there was still a lot of evidence and the tainted evidence made up only a small portion of the case.
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