Yesterday a state Senate special committee began a hearing into the faux Stevie Wonder concert that has cost the University of Hawaii several hundred thousand dollars.
Sen. Donna Mercado Kim chairs the committee that will investigate how university officials were duped into paying a Florida firm $200,000 for a scheduled Aug. 18 concert to benefit UH athletics. It was later learned the firm did not represent the singer and Wonder knew nothing of the concert.
Tickets were on sale in July when the university learned of the fraud. Athletic Director Jim Donovan and Rich Sheriff, manager of the Stan Sheriff Center, were placed on leave while an investigation was conducted by a Honolulu law firm.
Donovan was later reassigned to a marketing job. Sheriff has resumed his job at the center.
In addition to the $200,000 lost to the Florida firm, the university has legal bills relating to the investigation of the incident and the preparation for the Senate hearings.
We would hope that what comes out of the hearings is a proper vetting process for talent agencies and a new procedure for authorizing special fundraising events. What is not needed is a lot of finger-pointing. It is hard for us to believe than anyone on the university side intentionally participated in this fraud.
It is important to figure out how this happened and what can be done to keep it from happening again. It is less important to find an individual - or even a few people - to castigate publicly.
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