HONOLULU (AP) — The University of Hawaii was scammed out of $200,000 when the athletics department tried to hold a fundraiser concert because those involved in financial transactions for the concert lacked judgment, a task force investigating the incident said in a report Thursday.
The failure of those involved in the financial transactions to take overall responsibility is also to blame, said the report, which was submitted to the school's board of regents at a meeting on Maui.
The department tried to put on a Stevie Wonder concert in August as a fundraiser. The school paid $200,000 to a promoter as a deposit but learned after tickets went on sale that neither Wonder nor his representatives authorized the show.
A North Carolina man is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court next week on charges he scammed the university.
Former athletic director Jim Donavan was responsible for an agreement with local promoter BPE Promotions Inc. to lease Stan Sheriff Center for the concert, the report concludes.
Donovan authorized Carl Clapp, the university's associate athletic director for administrative services, to sign the agreement on his behalf. Stan Sheriff Center Director Rick Sheriff was directly responsible for ensuring compliance with the agreement, the report said.
Both Clapp and Sheriff were responsible for ensuring the department had the authority to authorize the $200,000 payment, it said.
The task force of nine people — five board members and four ex-officio members with expertise in finance and organizations — wasn't able to determine who authorized the school to print and sell tickets. No documentation exists on the matter, the report said.
Walter Watanabe, the ticket office manager, indicated to the task force that Sheriff gave oral authorization for the sales. But Sheriff denied doing so, telling the task force the authorizations "must have come from higher ups."
The state Senate's Special Committee on Accountability will discuss the findings of its own investigation on Monday at the state Capitol.
The university has spent more than $1.1 million on incident. The figure includes payments to three law firms, to accountants and a three-year contract for Donovan, whom University President M.R.C. Greenwood moved to a new position in the Manoa chancellor's office after the debacle.