Luther Campbell sues former University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro
By Kluger Kaplan September 22, 2011
Um. We just couldn’t help posting this one.
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By Susan Miller Degnan sdegnan@MiamiHerald.com
Former rap star Luther Campbell sues convicted UM booster Nevin Shapiro for ‘slandering my name.’
Luther Campbell has filed suit against former University of Miami booster and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro, claiming he “slandered and defamed’’ the rap star in a nationally publicized Yahoo! Sports report.
The report implicated at least 72 former and present UM football players from 2002 through 2010 for allegedly accepting thousands of impermissible benefits from Shapiro, from dinners to yacht cruises to jewelry to prostitutes.
Shapiro’s quote on Campbell that prompted the suit: “Luther Campbell was the first uncle who took care of players [at UM] before I got going. His role was diminished by the NCAA and the school and someone needed to pick up that mantle. That someone was me. He was ‘Uncle Luke’ and I became ‘Little Luke.’?”
In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday, Campbell says Shapiro’s statements unfairly accuse Campbell of “engaging in the same type and category of illegal and immoral behaviors’’ with UM players as the Ponzi schemer.
When reached by phone Wednesday, Campbell, the football defensive coordinator for Miami Northwestern High, told The Miami Herald, “I’m tired of Shapiro slandering my name. I do too many good things in the community. People might not agree with me all the time, but they can’t say I’m a sleaze bag. Your name is what you stand for. As you get older, you realize that life is about public perception. It’s not about facts.’’
In the Yahoo! Sports report, Shapiro said UM players Ray-Ray Armstrong and Dyron Dye, and current Florida player Andre Debose were taken to the “strip joint” Take One (Cocktail) Lounge when they were recruits. He said the lounge was “owned by Luther Campbell.”
Campbell said he doesn’t own Take One Lounge, has never owned it and had no affiliation with it. “I’ve never been in the place,” Campbell said.
The Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser’s Office confirmed Campbell’s claim Wednesday, saying it is owned by Buddy Bee Corporation and run by Karen H. Raley, the registered agent and president. Records show it has never been owned by Campbell.
Campbell’s miaminewtimes.com blog from Aug.17, referring to Shapiro’s claims, said, “That punk could never be me. First of all, I have never been a UM booster. I have never given a dime to the school.
“I have and always will support the players and the program out of civic pride, but I never violated any NCAA rules when I was the team’s biggest fan in the ‘80s. And I definitely would not have ever paid for a stripper to abort a baby allegedly fathered by a UM football player, like Shapiro claims he did.”
Continued Campbell in that blog: “If Nevin really wanted people to see him as ‘Little Luke,’ he would have dedicated part of his life to helping kids in Miami’s inner-city neighborhoods get a college education. He certainly never started a youth athletic program that has been around for more than 30 years helping underprivileged parents in Liberty City mold their children.
“It has never been about money for me. It has always been about community service. That’s what Uncle Luke is really about.”
According to the lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, Shapiro “has slandered and defamed [Campbell] because this is untrue, false, knowingly so and the product of malicious intent.’’
Shapiro is serving a 20-year federal prison sentence for his $930 million Ponzi scheme.