BY JIM DOOLEY -In advance of next week’s state Senate hearing on University of Hawaii fiscal and management practices, UH officials revealed that they are spending up to $75,000 on outside legal advice related to an aborted August fundraiser concert that cost the institution at least $200,000.
UH vice president Lynne Waters said one local law firm, Cades Schutte, will be paid up to $50,000 for ”’fact finding” services performed after the university lost a $200,000 deposit paid to secure the appearance of singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder at a fundraiser for the Manoa campus Athletics Department.
Another private law firm, Torkildson Katz Moore Hetherington & Harris, will be paid up to $25,000 to help in the concert investigation and to assist UH officials prepare for Monday’s special state Senate hearing, Waters said.
The hearing, before a special committee chaired by Sen. Donna Kim, will concern “the oversight, accountability, and transparency of the operational and financial management of the University of Hawaii System,” according to Kim.
The Torkildson firm is “helping the university respond to the substantial senate committee information requests and preparing for the briefing,” Waters said.
Kim has summoned UH President M.R.C. Greenwood, Board of Regents Chairman Eric Martinson, ousted Athletics Department Director Jim Donovan and others to appear before the panel.
Greenwood has said the university was victimized in an “apparent fraud” after the fundraise was cancelled. The Athletics Department used local and Mainland entertainment promoters to stage the event.
Donovan was placed on a leave of absence in the wake of the concert cancellation, then was removed as Athletic
Director and transferred to a new job in the office of UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple.
Also scheduled to appear at the hearing are the Cades Schutte “fact finders.”
The hearing will begin at 1 p.m. in Senate Conference Room 211 and will be broadcast live on the state public access station, Olelo.
The briefing will also be available via a live webstream at:http://olelo.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=13