UH Regents, Manoa chancellor to testify before State Senate about failed concert

Wonder Blunder hearings get heated

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A State Senate committee is scheduled to hear from three members of the UH Board of Regents and the head of the Manoa campus at its second briefing Tuesday looking into the Stevie Wonder blunder and its aftermath.

Click HERE for our special Wonder Blunder section.

Click HERE to watch the live steam at 1p.m. (not available on mobile devices)

The Senate Special Committee on Accountability planned to have UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple testify Tuesday afternoon at the State Capitol. Apple started work overseeing the UH Manoa campus in late June, just about three weeks before the university canceled the concert.

Stan Sheriff Center arena manager Rich Sheriff is also scheduled to answer questions from senators. Sheriff was the UH's point man with Bob Peyton, the promoter for the failed Stevie Wonder concert.

Peyton had also been invited to testify, but his lawyer said he was "seriously ill" and unable to testify.  Peyton's lawyer provided a letter from Peyton's doctor that said Peyton has been confined at Castle Medical Center since Aug. 17 for multiple medical problems requiring "extensive surgery" and amputation of his leg. Peyton also suffers from kidney disease, requiring dialysis, his doctor said.

Senators have also called three key leaders on the all-volunteer UH Board of Regents that oversees the ten-campus UH system.

Carl A. Carlson Jr. is one of two vice chairs of the regents.  He is among the top three regents who meet with UH President MRC Greenwood once a week to discuss UH affairs and help decide what is placed on the regents' agendas, sources said.  A resident of the Big Island, Carlson is founder of Huehue Ventures, a real estate consulting and agriculture property management services firm.

Also called to testify in the senate investigation is the regents' other vice chair, James H. Q. Lee.  An attorney, Lee served as managing director of Let's Eat Hawaii, owner and operator of Sam Choy's restaurants in Hawaii, Japan and Guam.

The third regent set to testify is Coralie Matayoshi, who heads the regents' personnel committee.  An attorney, she has served as CEO of the Hawaii chapter of the American Red Cross since 2003.

"Some of the decisions that were made fall under these regents' committees," said State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (D-Moanalua, Aiea, Kalihi Valley), explaining why she asked them to testify.

"I would like them to share some light as to how they are developing board policies, how they are following board policies, and whether or not the board has been responsive to people who have asked them to review their policies," Kim said. "These are policies regarding tenure, professional leave, PR and legal and how do they justify the budget and how do they justify the cost."

The regents are spending $50,000 for a consultant to do the leg work for a task force that's studying ways to improve UH management and financial oversight in the aftermath of the failed concert.  UH is paying one law firm at least $50,000 for its compilation of a fact finder's report on the fiasco, while a second firm has a $25,000 contract to advise UH officials who are testifying before the State Senate committee and to decide which names to remove from UH documents requested by senators and the media.

A public relations firm on a $2,500-a-month contract has been advising UH President M.R.C. Greenwood and other top UH officials since UH canceled the concert July 10.

The briefing will be held at 1 p.m. Monday. It will be web streamed live on the web site HawaiiNewsNow.com and shown live on Olelo Channel 52.

The committee is only accepting written testimony that can be emailed to SCATestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov.

A six-hour hearing held Monday, Sept. 24 featured testimony from Greenwood, former UH Athletics Director Jim Donovan and UH Regents Chair Eric Martinson, as well as attorneys hired by UH.

Click HERE for our special Wonder Blunder section.

The senate is investigating management and financial decisions at UH in the aftermath of the canceled athletics fundraising concert in which UH has been unable to locate a $200,000 deposit, a case the school turned over to the FBI.

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