Donovan loses UH AD job, but remains on payroll - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Donovan loses UH AD job, but remains on payroll after failed concert

Jim Donovan Jim Donovan
Tom Apple Tom Apple
Rich Sheriff Rich Sheriff

MANOA (HawaiiNewsNow) – One month after the canceled Stevie Wonder concert, the University of Hawaii said an internal investigation found Athletics Director Jim Donovan committed no wrongdoing in his role overseeing the concert's planning, but he's being reassigned to another UH job and keeping his current salary through next spring.

In a news release Sunday, UH said Donovan will return to work at the UH Monday, but will lose his job as athletics director. 

Instead, he will have a new job and report to UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple. 

In a news release, UH said Donovan will have "significant responsibilities" in designing, creating, marketing and communicating the university's mission to the public. 

Donovan has been on leave with pay from the U-H for the last month, after UH canceled a Stevie Wonder concert that was supposed to raise funds for the university's athletics program, which is in the red. 

In a statement, Donovan said, "I am very pleased that I have been cleared of any wrongdoing as I have always acted in the best interests of the university." 

"I appreciate Chancellor Apple's efforts and the cooperation of the university administration to return me to active state and I look forward to working with Chancellor Apple," Donovan added. 

Donovan will continue to collect his $240,000 salary for now, but when his contract expires in March, he will be reassigned to an as yet untitled position, the UH said.

Apple will recommend to the UH Regents that they approve a three-year appointment for Donovan, $211,200 a year, which will be temporarily reduced to $200,640.   

UH administrators have taken five-percent salary reductions, commensurate with the pay cuts experienced by UH staff and faculty.

In a written statement, Apple said, "Jim is a gentleman who had conducted himself with great honor during this difficult period.  I am delighted we have agreed to his return to full duty status and we are looking forward to a long-term relationship."

Sources said UH officials had lost faith in Donovan as the leader of the athletic department but "wanted to find something for him."  Officials considered several scenarios before deciding on the one announced Sunday, sources said.  One option was buying out Donovan's contract and having him leave UH, while another was allowing him to return as a short time as athletic director to help with a transition to a new AD as a national search was launched for his successor, sources said. 

Donovan has worked at the UH Manoa campus since 1985, serving as baseball stadium manager, then sports marketing director, assistant athletics director and associate athletics director before heading the department beginning in 2008. 

Stan Sheriff Center manager Rich Sheriff, who sources said was the point man in making arrangements for the Stevie Wonder concert, will be reinstated to his old position Monday, a source said. Sheriff is the son of the late UH athletics director for whom the center is named. 

The UH said the final written report of its internal investigation into the concert affair is still being prepared, so it's unclear if the probe blames anyone for the foul up. 

UH lawyers approved the legal form of the concert contract and a top UH fiscal official approved wiring $200,000 in UH athletics funds to a Florida booking agent as a deposit for the concert, money the UH has been so far unable to recover, sources said. 

UH took the case to the FBI, fearing the university had been scammed.

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