BY JIM DOOLEY – A local entertainment promoter at the center of the “Wonder Blunder” fundraiser fiasco at the University of Hawaii has been “invited to appear” before a state Senate committee investigating the matter.
Robert Peyton, head of Bob Peyton Entertainment Corp. and BPE Productions, Inc., worked with the UH Athletics Department to stage a fundraising concert last month by singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder.
The event was cancelled, and $200,000 in UH money disappeared, after Wonder’s agents told UH officials that the entertainer had never agreed to, or even heard of, the appearance here.
State Sen. Donna Kim, head of a special committee looking into the concert cancellation as well as university management and financial, announced this afternoon that Peyton has been invited to appear before the committee Monday.
Peyton’s lawyer, Ken Kuniyuki, did not respond to questions late Thursday afternoon about whether Peyton will speak to the panel.
Peyton reportedly arranged with a Miami-based firm, Epic Talent, LLC, to book Wonder for the Aug. 18 event that was meant to raise funds for the UH Athletics Department.
The UH $200,000 deposit was wired to a bank account in Florida and Peyton reportedly also wired $50,000 to the same account.
Peyton has declined through Kuniyuki to discuss the concert with Hawaii Reporter.
Epic Talent executive Sean Barriero did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Yesterday, another company official, Sannise S. “Sunny” Crosby, told Hawaii Reporter’s Malia Zimmerman that Epic Talent does not have an office and uses a private postal service as its business address.
Crosby promised to discuss the concert in a later telephone call to Zimmerman, who is in Florida, but has been unreachable since then.
Florida business records list Crosby as an officer in two Florida house painting companies. Court records also list unpaid business and tax liens pending against her.
University President M.R.C. Greenwood told the senate committee last week that the FBI is conducting an investigation of the failed concert, which Greenwood described as a “fraud” and a “scam.”
Former Athletic Director Jim Donovan told the committee that he does not know if the university lost its money to fraud or to an unsuccessful business deal.
The committee will hold its second briefing Tuesday, October 2, at the state capitol.
Also invited to appear are UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple, Stan Sheriff Center Manager Rich Sheriff, and Regents James Lee, Carl Carlson and Coralie Matayoshi.
“At this briefing, we will continue where we left off on September 24 and we expect to gain some insight into the University’s budget policy,” Kim said in a statement today.