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University of Hawaii Chancellor Apple on University 'Wonder Blunder' Fiasco: 'Let's Get This Behind Us'

University of Hawaii Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple has a conversation with students and faculty

“The equivalent of an academic bake sale” … that’s gone "awry.”

That was the comparison that University of Hawaii Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple made earlier this week at a campus forum after a student asked him to explain how the University was defrauded out of $200,000.

School officials wired $200,000 to Epic Talent LLC in Miami, Florida, on June 19 as a down payment for a Stevie Wonder fundraising concert for the athletic department, but without due diligence.

After the real Stevie Wonder agent contacted the University on July 9, officials learned Epic Talent did not represent Wonder, and had no authority to book a concert on his behalf. University officials had to acknowledge publicly on July 10 they may have been scammed and they refunded 6,000 tickets already sold. The entire fiasco – and other blunders to follow - cost the University around $1 million in lawyers, consultants, investigators and lost funds.

Instead of answering any of the student’s questions, including who is responsible and if there would be any consequences, Apple said his overarching goal “is to get this behind us.”

“I just want to give people a perspective. And by the way, $200,000 is not a trivial amount of money. But we are a $1 billion – Manoa, just Manoa, not the University – we are a $1 billion operation.

“I have people who report to me who handle $180 million a year. And they say, ‘You know what, if somebody looked you’d probably find just through the handling of that much money if you went and looked at every individual thing you could probably find that much in terms of just losses here and there through kinds of processes.’

Apple said the event was “a tiny part of what we do” and it has “overshadowed so tremendously by a factor of 1,000 the great stories that should be coming out of the university.”

“So we did get a little bit of ink about on, oh by the way, we discovered the fat 1 gene here that looks like it will help us cure Mesothelioma and five other cancers; oh yes, our medical school is helping the homeless and giving them care and our law school goes and providing free legal advice to people who cannot afford it and our school of social work and school of education on every island helping people.”

Those are the stories that should be in the paper, Apple said.

While Apple did not name former Athletic Director Jim Donovan and Stan Sheriff Stadium manager Rich Sheriff as the two employees who publicly took the fall for arranging the concert, he did defend them.

“So this $200,000, I will just give you – it was people trying to do the right thing - trying to generate some money because we have, quite frankly, and nobody likes to hear this, we have an underfunded athletic department.

“It gets a small percentage of funds from the university that just about any other athletic department so they are basically carrying out the equivalent of an academic bake sale … and it went awry.

“And you know what, let’s get it behind us. Imua.”

Short URL: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/?p=163765

10 Comments for “University of Hawaii Chancellor Apple on University 'Wonder Blunder' Fiasco: 'Let's Get This Behind Us'”

  1. Its not the monies that are is the real concern with Apple.
    The future of the University begins with leadership - A chancellor with unquestionable integrity who is respected by the community, the students and faculty .
    His before the Senate would eliminate Tom Apple

  2. [...] By Watchdog Staff  /   October 26, 2012  /   Comments Off Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); By Malia Zimmerman | Hawaii Reporter   HONOLULU — University of Hawaii Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple wanted to put the Stevie Wonder fundraiser fiasco into perspective, rather than answer students’ questions.   “By the way, $200,000 is not a trivial amount of money. But we are a $1 billion — Manoa, just Manoa, not the university — we are a $1 billion operation,” he said recently at a campus forum.   “I have people who report to me who handle $180 million a year. And they say, ‘You know what, if somebody looked … you could probably find that much in terms of just losses here and there through kinds of processes.’"   School officials wired $200,000 on June 19 to Epic Talent LLC in Miami as a down payment for a Stevie Wonder fundraising concert for the athletic department, but without due diligence.   After the real Stevie Wonder agent contacted the university on July 9, officials learned Epic Talent did not represent Wonder, and had no authority to book a concert on his behalf. University officials acknowledged publicly on July 10 that they may have been scammed, and they refunded 6,000 tickets.   The entire fiasco — and other blunders to follow — cost the university around $1 million in lawyers, consultants, investigators and lost funds. Read the complete story at HawaiiReporter.com. [...]

  3. We have seen that the community cannot trust Apple from his handling (miss handling) of the bio defense lab and now this. Time for new leadership that we can trust at UH.

  4. A foolish and shortsighted notion "getting this behind us" until the "this" is understood and it cannot be understood until "what" caused "this" is determined and "someone/s" is/are held accountable "this" is not behind "us" because, as the conditions that caused "this" will continue to exist. This means that rather than "this" being behind of "us" is, in fact, ahead of "us". Also, his use of "us" is, frankly bull -oney. He says "us" but he means "him" and his ensconsed buddies and allies. "We" need to be sure the "they" [him and his buddies] are gone and cannot be in a position to cause "this" to happen again. If you don't know where you have been how can you ever get to where you want to be. You don't know, and cannot find, the path. Here the path is relentless accountability. If you don't discourage incompetence you encourage it and that is what you will get. [That is what "they" are now.... incompetent. and not to be trusted either in terms of honesty or competence.

    • What/when was the last official really held accountable in the United States? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/26/xiao-yul...
      I'm becoming rather fond of some aspects of China's legal system. The execute bureaucrats and politicians and businessmen who steal millions/billions. Sweet. In the US they get on the cover of Forbes or become Republican presidential nominees.
      While the small time crooks and petty negligents merely inhabit certain niches of government.

  5. That's kind of a leaky sieve if one could find losses of $200K in just 'processes'

  6. [...] University of Hawaii Chancellor Apple on University 'Wonder Blunder' Fiasco … The entire fiasco – and other blunders to follow – cost the University around $ 1 million in lawyers, consultants, investigators and lost funds. … “So we did get a little bit of ink about on, oh by the way, we discovered the fat 1 gene here that looks … Read more on Hawaii Reporter [...]

  7. Just answer the question and be honest. Is it so hard to just tell the truth? We don't want double talk, spin, and comparisions. We want HONEST answers. Manoa's future is Apple for the next 5 years at $400,000/yr. Sad!

  8. [...] “So we did get a little bit of ink about on, oh by the way, we discovered … Read more on Hawaii Reporter Related Products: This entry was posted in Fat Loss Factor Scam and tagged factor, Find, [...]

  9. It's interesting to see how the academic world has a certain take on everything else. We really only need the straightforward truth here and skip the nonsense.

    fat-loss-factor

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