Hawaii Senators Push For Unredacted Fact-Finder's Report From University

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

What exactly happened with the Stevie Wonder concert deal intended to raise money for the University of Hawaii Athletics Department?

Was it a $200,000 scam, as university officials have suggested, or a business deal gone bad, as former UH Athletics Director Jim Donovan — who lost the AD job as a result of the blown concert — has described it?

The benefit concert is at the heart of Senate special committee examining the accountability and transparency of operational and financial management at the University of Hawaii. It has raised serious questions and embarrassed the state's premier education institution.

The investigation, headed by Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, continues Tuesday at the Capitol.

In addition to concerns about how the UH operates, lawmakers are frustrated that a fact-finders' report into the matter was heavily redacted, leaving the media and the public in the dark about what exactly happened.

Kim and Sen. Les Ihara, who also sits on the Senate Special Committee on Accountability, have asked the state's Office of Information Practices to determine whether the redactions were valid. OIP is tasked with promoting open and transparent government.

"I have read much of the unredacted material, and it's somewhat revealing," Ihara told Civil Beat Saturday. "It shows what might be the relationships and about what's going on amongst the competing national and international agents for Stevie Wonder."

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