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University releases report on failed concert

By Paul Drewes
Published On: Aug 30 2012 10:48:07 AM HST
Updated On: Aug 23 2012 01:00:10 PM HST

So what led to the University of Hawaii to be duped into giving 200-thousand dollars to someone who didn't even represent Stevie Wonder?

HONOLULU -

 Nearly a month-and-a-half after the Stevie Wonder Concert fiasco, the University of Hawaii released an official accounting of what went wrong -- along with several apologies.

"We apologize for the University's handling of this matter and are deeply sorry for the concern and upset it has caused in the community," said UH Board of Regent's Chair Eric Martinson.

"We are very, very sorry. Sincerely sorry this happened," added U.H. President M.R.C. Greenwood.

What happened, according to a 57 page Factfinder's report was: Many of the university personnel involved in the concert planning did not do a lot of things.

Some did not check to see if the school was dealing with a reputable agent, others did not double-check contract details, or simply failed to watch where the money went after $200,000 was wired to Florida.

"Our employees made mistakes, but the incident that caused that was someone tried to sell us a scam and we bit on that," said Greenwood.

The report also showed how some people responded after the scam was discovered. The UH point person for the concert, Rich Sheriff sent out this email on July 9, 2012.

"The President and the Chair of the Board of Regents are furious.  It will me a miracle if Jim and I still have a job by Friday," wrote Sheriff.

Greenwood said the school will not take punitive action against those involved in the debacle, but it will be making changes to the roles and responsibilities of some employees.  There will also be changes to school-wide policies, especially communication -- so no one is surprised when something big comes up.

"I try very hard not to surprise anyone and I don't like to be surprised myself. So in the future I would like to know if there is a big event," added Greenwood.

The report did not show any evidence of anyone at UH committing fraud, but did find many of the employees worked with loose guidelines.  Throughout the report, it seemed like many of the rules set up specifically for the concert contract simply weren't followed.

As for the missing $200,000, the school is waiting to see if the FBI will be able to recover the money.

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