Darling shared some of those damaging e-mails with Shaunie O'Neal and with one of O'Neal's supposed mistresses for use in their respective litigation against Shaq.

The timing of Mattlin's December 2009 e-mail and other e-mails during that time dovetail with the onset of O'Neal's high-stakes divorce proceedings and other looming personal troubles, and just as Darling's role as a high-tech snitch was coming to light.

"Boy needs to b put in jail," O'Neal wrote to an associate around the time he contacted Detective Mattlin, referring to Shawn Darling. "We have way to many law enforcement connections to let a criminal try to get over on mine o mine [O'Neal's company]. I promised u I would stay outta trouble, I kept my word, but cannot control somebody [s]tealing and selling e-mails. Come on now protect me from this. I lost my family because of this guy, come on now."

Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff welcomed O'Neal to his agency in 2008.
Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff welcomed O'Neal to his agency in 2008.
Shawn Darling has made allegations against O'Neal.
Shawn Darling has made allegations against O'Neal.

Details

Miami New Times staff writer Gus Garcia-Roberts collaborated on this story.

The associate's reply was succinct: "Got it he will be stopped n pay for this."

O'Neal's reference to "law enforcement connections" at that time suggests that his contact with Detective Mattlin may have been directly related to his sticky situation with Darling.

Also on December 15, 2009, Shaquille O'Neal forwarded an e-mail to his personal agent. He apparently had gotten word that celebrity news TV show TMZ was offering $3,500 to one of O'Neal's supposed mistresses, a Scottsdale woman, to tell her story on camera.

"We dnt want them [TMZ] do what they r doing to tiger," O'Neal typed on his BlackBerry, referring to Tiger Woods, then embroiled in tabloid hell after reports of his repeated philandering surfaced.

This is the kind of pressured world in which this famous father of four was living at the time.

A Florida judge appraised the e-mails' in an August 26 ruling that sealed them from the public record until further notice.

Miami-Dade Circuit magistrate Marc Schumacher wrote, "I can tell you that there are allegations against so many people in so many different positions in society that their release would really wreck lives."

(New Times obtained about 30 of O'Neal's e-mails — including the missive from Mattlin — before the judge sealed the documents.)

In one e-mail, Newsweek reporter Allison Samuels (who ghost-wrote the autobiography of O'Neal's mother, Lucille) discusses the merits of certain models and actresses with her friend Shaq.

"I want u or rihanna," O'Neal tells her, referring to the popular R&B songstress.

In another e-mail exchange, he asks a Swedish model crudely: "Where can I cum at when I c u".

"All over me, where do you wanna cum?"

"In u foreva," replies O'Neal, ever the romantic.


Shaquille O'Neal's extensive camp (lawyers, agents, public relations people) insists that its client's wealth and celebrity make him a target for scam artists of Shawn Darling's ilk.

But O'Neal's popularity among the general public continues unabated.

His sordid behind-the-scenes saga mostly has been ignored by mainstream media, which instead report on such trifles as the recently unveiled statue of Shaq at his alma mater, Louisiana State University.

But the public record provides a window into the stunning disparity between O'Neal's public persona and his dysfunctional private life.

Shawn Darling's lawsuit is not the only legal front on which O'Neal has battled accusations in recent years:

An Orlando woman claims in court that O'Neal dispatched his two sisters and an associate to intimidate her into silence in September 2009, after she threatened to expose her claimed long-term affair with him and her pregnancy, allegedly with his child.

A 23-year-old Atlanta woman won a restraining order against O'Neal in August 2008 after avowing in court that he was stalking her over the telephone after their alleged affair ended.

Finally, in Los Angeles, there was the criminal case against seven members of the Main Street Crips, charged until recently with kidnapping, assaulting, and robbing a music producer. The producer had claimed to have a sex tape of O'Neal — it never emerged — and prosecutors alleged that the gang-bangers had demanded its return. When the guy didn't produce it, the Crips allegedly beat and robbed him. O'Neal never was linked to wrongdoing, and prosecutors dismissed all charges last month.

Shawn Darling says Shaquille O'Neal is convinced that he is above the law.

"Shaquille has gotten what he wanted since he became a big star in high school," Darling tells New Times. "He figures he's untouchable because he's Shaq Daddy, the big hero. The cops love him and all that shit."

He has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing in this case.

Shaunie (O'Neal) Nelson, whose divorce from Shaq is now final, also chose not to answer questions from New Times.

"I don't have any interest in talking about either of those guys," she says, referring to her ex-husband and Shawn Darling.


Shawn Darling says he was doing IT consulting work in early 2007 when he met Shaquille O'Neal, who was nearing the end of an eight-year run with the Miami Heat.

At the time, the smooth-talking owner of the one-man Your IT Team LLC was about five years removed from a federal prison stint, having served two years for scamming banks of about $47,000 with fake cashier's checks and a bogus Social Security number.

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