|Donald De Lucca|
By David SmileyOrdinarily news of tiny Miami-Dade municipality appointing a new police chief wouldn't rate a post here.
Former Miami Beach Police Chief Donald De Lucca has been named the new head of Golden Beach’s troubled police force.
Mayor Glenn Singer selected De Lucca Friday afternoon over current Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega and Hollywood Police Major Allen Siegel.
“Chief De Lucca was selected for his 26 years of experience as a police officer and for having led the city of Miami Beach police department,” said Town Manager Alexander Diaz. “He has strong credentials that he brings to the town.”
De Lucca will earn an annual salary of $100,000 and assume his role as chief around mid-September, Diaz said.
But Don De Lucca isn't just any police chief.
Even before he gets fitted for his new uniform and pins on a badge, he finds himself mired in controversy.
Gus Garcia-Roberts of Miami New Times reported Thursday that De Lucca helped arrange hotel reservations for convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro when he was Miami Beach's police chief.
"The Chief's good friend Nevin Shapiro needs two rooms for tonight (8/15/06) at the Ritz-Carlton. Would you be able to help him with that? Thanks for your help!"Apparently De Lucca's relationship with one of the most notorious con men to ever run a scam in South Florida didn't deter Golden Beach from picking him.
So reads an email sent five years ago from then-Miami Beach Police chief Don De Lucca's assistant to a manager at the posh South Beach hotel. It's one of several instances in which Delucca arranged hotel reservations for the Ponzi schemer. It's all included in a cache of more that 37 emails between the two pals that Riptide obtained from a public records request.
One of the explosive claims Shapiro recently made to a Yahoo! reporter during prison interviews: He plied University of Miami football players with prostitutes and threw sex parties for the athletes in hotel rooms. The Ritz-Carlton was not named in the story.
[Garcia-Roberts] contacted Golden Beach mayor Glenn Singer this morning, before the hiring was announced, and asked whether De Lucca's queasy relationship with Shapiro would make him rethink the former chief's job candidacy.For DeLucca's sake I hope he's a tad more discreet in Golden Beach than he was when he was Miami Beach's chief. From Garcia-Roberts' story:
"No," Singer told us. "First off, I haven't seen the emails. Secondly, this guy Shapiro duped the entire University of Miami faculty."
It was no secret in the police department that Delucca and Shapiro were close. "Nevin would be in and out of the chief's office so much that you'd think he was assistant chief," says Gustavo Sanchez, vice president of the Miami Beach Police union, adding that they would often hold court together at South Beach's Smith & Wollensky steak house. Sanchez claims officers openly expressed skepticism about the chief's association with a man of dubious wealth who often paraded around the police station with "women that were obviously hookers."
Read the De Lucca emails below.