Witnesses called before State Senate panel investigating UH’s Stevie Wonder blunder

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – These are the witnesses expected to testify before the special State Senate committee investigating the failed UH Stevie Wonder concert as well as other UH management and spending issues:

Attorney Dennis Chong Kee, a partner in the Honolulu law firm Cades Schutte, compiled the 57-page investigative report into UH's failed Stevie Wonder concert, along with fellow law partner Calvert Chipchase.  Chong Kee works in the litigation department of the firm, focusing on real estate and commercial litigation, arbitration, and mediation.

A UH contract hiring Chong Kee's law firm allowed the firm to charge UH up to $50,000 for its work on the probe, billing the UH $275 an hour for his time. 

Former UH Manoa Athletics Director Jim Donovan served in the post from March 2008 at an annual salary of $240,000.  Donovan threatened to sue after UH officials put him on paid leave to investigate the failed Stevie Wonder concert, which he approved and oversaw as a fundraiser for the debt-ridden athletics department.

A UH investigation found Donovan OK'd the contract for the concert while he was traveling on the mainland and had "little involvement and provided little oversight."

In exchange for dropping his threat of a lawsuit, Donovan stepped down from the AD job and will keep his current salary until his AD contract runs out in March of 2013.  As part of the settlement, he'll see his pay drop to about $211,200 for the next three years after that for the newly created communications job he began Aug. 14 in the UH Manoa chancellor's office.   

UH President M.R.C. Greenwood oversees the 10-campus UH system as the university's 14th president and the first woman to hold the post. In Aug. 2009, the UH Board of Regents approved a three-year contract paying her $475,008, along with a $5,000-a-month housing allowance and use of a car or a monthly automobile allowance of $326.  In early 2011, the regents approved a three-year extension of her contract until July 31, 2015 at the same rate of pay and benefits.

Greenwood said she was not notified of plans for the concert in advance and did not find out about it until it was announced to the public.  She has apologized to the public, UH students and the regents for her administration's handling of the fiasco and its aftermath. 

Former UH Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw headed the university's flagship campus for five years until her appointment ended June 30, 2012.  As AD Donovan's boss, she oversaw the athletics department and was briefed on plans for the concert.  Hinshaw asked Greenwood for five- and three-year contract extensions for Donovan, but Greenwood turned down those requests.

Hinshaw, whose salary as chancellor was $344,880 a year, is now being paid $287,000 for a ten-month sabbatical before she begins a new job teaching at the UH medical school which will pay her $292,000 annually.

UH Board of Regents Chairman Eric Martinson was elected to lead the UH Board of Regents in May 2011.  According to his profile on the UH web site, he has more than 28 years of institutional investment and asset management experience.  Martinson is senior vice president, endowment and chief investment officer of The Queen's Health Systems and president of Queen Emma Land Company.

He joined Queens in July of 2010 and the nonprofit's tax returns show Martinson's salary for that partial year was $161,517, with $7,877 in other compensation.  That's the most recent information available but not reflective of his total annual salary.  Martinson earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from UH and an MBA from Duke University. 

Sheriff Center Arena Manager Rich Sheriff is the son of the late UH Athletics Director Stan Sheriff, for whom the center he manages is named.  Sheriff was the point person for UH on the Stevie Wonder concert, serving as its main liaison with local promoter Bob Peyton, according to a UH investigative report.  After Donovan approved the idea, Sheriff oversaw the formation and the execution of the deal and the steps necessary to mount the concert, the probe said.

Sheriff has worked for UH since 1995 and is paid between $44,724 to $113,424 a year.  Since he is a civil servant who's a member of the HGEA public employees' union, UH will release only his salary range.

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