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UH AD put on leave after concert blunder

July 12, 2012
The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - The University of Hawaii on Wednesday placed athletic director Jim Donovan on indefinite paid leave while the bungling of a benefit concert promoted as featuring Stevie Wonder is investigated.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tom Apple, the Manoa campus chancellor, said an experienced, outside party would conduct the probe.

University vice president Rockne Freitas will serve as acting athletic director until the investigation is finished.

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The university on Tuesday announced it would cancel the concert after learning the event wasn't authorized by Wonder or his representatives.

The university is trying to get back $200,000 from its athletic funds that it paid to local promoter Bob Peyton as a deposit for the concert.

The Aug. 18 concert at the Stan Sherriff Center was to benefit the university's cash-strapped athletic department.

The school is also putting Stan Sherriff Center manager Rich Sherriff on paid leave.

Donovan said Tuesday the event was booked by an unauthorized third party without the knowledge or consent of Wonder's representatives. Wonder's agent, Creative Artists Agency, told the university that he wouldn't be available for the concert.

The university is refunding 6,000 tickets already sold. KHON-TV reported Wednesday that 95 percent have been refunded. Ticket prices ranged from $70 to $250.

Peyton told KHON that he sent the money to Wonder's international booking agent in Spain and that Hawaii is often considered an international venue. He said in an email to Hawaii News Now that the cancellation also puts $50,000 of his company's money in jeopardy.

Wonder's representatives couldn't immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

The star's representatives "were very sorry to have to inform us of his unavailability," Donovan said. "We look forward to the possibility of bringing Stevie Wonder out to Hawaii at a future date."



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