The University of Hawaii Athletic Director Jim Donovan was suspended indefinitely on paid administrative leave after what looks to have been a failed Stevie Wonder concert benefit. Also, Rich Sheriff, who is the Stan Sheriff Center's manager, was suspended pending an FBI investigation about a missing deposit and cancellation debacle of the concert.
New university Chancellor Tom Apple announced that former assistant athletic director, Rockne Freitas, would be named interim Athletic Director - Freitas is a university vice president. Said Freitas: "I'm very pleased to have the confidence of President Greenwood and Chancellor Apple."
Missing deposit is Epic
The troubles all revolve around a missing $200,000 deposit the athletic department placed for a concert next month. Donovan stated earlier this week that the concert was cancelled because Wonder and his agent had no prior knowledge of any benefit event in Honolulu.
According to school officials, the FBI was notified and their preliminary investigation has found no trace of the deposit money wired to a bank account in Florida belonging to Epic Talent Inc.
The school is investigating the bungled concert and additional departments could be involved plus more university employees may have their jobs in jeopardy. Apple stated that: "We suspected early on we might be victims of interstate fraud." (Source - Star-Advertiser)
Although there was authorization from university Vice President for Budget and Fiscal services and CFO Howard Toto to make the wire transfer, the situation with Donovan is the fact he never received approval from school President M.R.C. Greenwood. She stated emphatically: "I am angered and appalled and this is not going to happen at the University of Hawaii again."
Furthermore, no cancellation insurance was ever taken out (source - KHNL). But even if there was insurance, there's still a question as whether it would have covered this supposed scam.
The event was already selling tickets for the concert and a sell-out was anticipated. Refunds are being processed currently (source - KHON).
The worse thing about the whole mess is that the athletic department is in the red and the concert would have benefited the school to the tune of $250,000. Now they're further in the hole with an additional loss of $200,000.
It might be noted Donovan is in the last year of a five-year contract. Donovan has been given credit for turning around the sports department and moving the school to the Mountain West and Big West conferences. But as is being mentioned, Donovan may go down as either an embezzler or more likely a duped bungler.
Sources - University of Hawaii, Yahoo! Sports
Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of college football as well as Hawaii, visiting there as a second home for over 40 years. Go 'Bows!