A special state Senate committee has been formed to look into recent management blunders at the University of Hawaii.
Senate President Shan Tsutsui notified his colleagues today of the formation of the committee, to be headed by Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, D-14th Dist. (Moanalua, Aiea, Fort Shafter, Kalihi Valley, Halawa Valley).
The panel will review “the oversight, accountability and transparency of the operational and financial management of the University of Hawaii System,” said Tsutsui, D-4th Dist. (Wailuku, Waihee, Kahului, Paia, Lower Paia).
The review will focus on the UH Manoa Athletics Department, rocked in recent weeks by a botched fundraising event and the subsequent, controversial removal of Athletics Director Jim Donovan.
Donovan and another department official, Rich Sheriff, were placed on paid leaves after their plans to stage a fundraiser concert by singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder were cancelled and $200,000 in University money went missing.
UH President M.R.C. Greenwood subsequently reinstated both men but said that Donovan would be moving to a new UH management position outside the Athletics Department.
The reinstatement and reassignment came after Donovan hired a private attorney who threatened legal action against the University.
A variety of legislators protested Donovan’s ouster as Athletics Director, but the UH Board of Regents last week upheld the change following an all-day, closed door meeting.
A 57-page report on the cancelled Stevie Wonder concert released by Greenwood last week said said UH officials never properly investigated the promoters of the event and failed to safeguard the $200,000 deposit payment after it was wired to a Mainland “escrow account.”
No hearing schedule for the committee has been set yet.
Other members are Sens. Jill Tokuda, Les Ihara Jr., Ronald Kouchi and Sam Slom.