Special legislative hearing on UH set for Sept.

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Aug 29 2012 10:43:33 PM HST
Updated On: Aug 30 2012 08:18:20 AM HST

Lawmakers investigate the mishandled Stevie Wonder concert fiasco and the events that followed including former Athletic Director Jim Donovan's reassignment.

HONOLULU -

Lawmakers want to know who is calling the shots at the University of Hawaii in light of the mishandling of a bogus Stevie Wonder concert, and the internal probe that followed.

As KITV reported last week, lawmakers were unhappy with the handling of the concert debacle and the reassignment of athletic director Jim Donovan.

Now, a special legislative committee may convene in mid-September.

But, lawmakers said the probe isn’t limited to the concert fiasco and will press for answers from UH administrators and regents about their operational and fiscal responsibility to taxpayers.

The bogus concert lost $200,000 for the already cash strapped UH athletics department.

But, there are also questions about spending in the top offices and whether it can be justified.

"The chancellor’s office, and the president’s office are creating positions right now. There is a lot of general fund money that goes in, and there is the increase in tuition, and the students feel that the money is being wasted," said Sen. Donna Mercado Kim.

The concert and probe has also turned into a public relations nightmare.

Kim says there may be a line of questioning about that.

The university administration recently hired a number former broadcast journalists as part of the president's communications staff, some who used to work at KITV.

On top of that, a private public relations firm was hired in May to assist in handling certain controversial issues.

The legislative committee does not have subpoena powers and will be arranging with UH officials to see when they will be available to answer questions about the recent events.

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