Senate panel to investigate UH buyouts

Senate panel to investigate UH buyouts
Virginia Hinshaw (at podium)
Virginia Hinshaw (at podium)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The chair of the special state Senate panel investigating the Stevie Wonder concert fiasco says she sees a "pattern" of lucrative payouts to outgoing University of Hawaii officials.

The Senate's Special Committee on Accountability on Monday released thousands of pages of UH documents, including records indicating the UH paid over $2.5 million to six former executives and coaches over a 12-year period.

"There seems to be a cavalier attitude that we can buyout a contract and we can offer tenure," said Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, the committee's chair.

"Many of these contracts are very lucrative."

The buyouts include:

  • More than $1 million to former UH President Evan Dobelle, who was forced out in 2004;
  • $600,000 to ex-football coach Greg McMackin, who left in the final year of a five-year contract;
  • Former Athletic Director Herman Frazier, who received $312,000.

Hawaii News Now has also learned that the UH paid basketball coach Riley Wallace $200,000 after he retired as the university's winningest basketball coach in 2007.

UH was supposed put that amount of money into an annuity for Wallace over five years, but somehow failed to do so.  

The total payouts don't include $287,000 that the UH is paying former UH Manoa chancellor Virginia Hinshaw. Hinshaw stepped down from her post this summer for a ten-month sabbatical.

The Senate Committee on Accountability will hold two more hearings on the UH controversy. Sources say concerns about these high-priced buyouts will come up again.

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