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Concert probe unable to determine who approved ticket sales

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Regents meeting at the UH-Maui campus in Kahului Thursday morning Regents meeting at the UH-Maui campus in Kahului Thursday morning
KAHULUI, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A University of Hawaii Board of Regents task group studying what went wrong in the Stevie Wonder blunder has been unable to figure out who approved the printing and sale of tickets to the failed fundraising concert, the regents were told Thursday morning.

Members of the nine-member group briefed the regents' audit committee about their findings at a meeting Thursday morning at UH Maui College in Kahului.

During interviews with UH officials, the group was "unable to document who authorized the printing or the selling of tickets" for the event, said Larry Rodriquez, who chaired the panel.

A report by the task group said besides the $200,000 deposit for the failed concert, UH lost $11,955 in internet host ticket processing fees, ticket printing costs and wages for student ticket office workers.

The UH ticket office manager said Stan Sheriff Center Manager Rich Sheriff approved of the sale and printing of the tickets, but Sheriff denied that and said UH higher ups made the approval, according to Dallas Weyand, a senior manager at KMH LLP, the consulting company that did the bulk of the work in the review. Weyand said Sheriff did not name names and who made the approval is "still undefined."

"I'm baffled," said UH Regent John Dean. "Someone must have said 'Print those tickets.'"

The UH has a $50,000 contract with KMH for its assistance on the project, a bill that is expected to increase.

The group analyzed four financial transactions in the first phase of its review of the failed concert: the contract for the event, the sale of tickets, paying the $200,000 deposit and the refunding of the tickets.

The panel found the concert agreement should have been prepared for approval by then-UH Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw, something that did not happen. It said former Athletics Director Jim Donovan was responsible for overseeing the concert, which he had approved.

UH did not require a deposit for the event, contrary to its own policy, the group also said. An application to use the Stan Sheriff Center was also not completed, the panel found.

Better procedures need to be developed to guide the UH in future events like concerts, the panel said, changes that UH officials have said are already underway.

"There was a series of multiple situations where policies and practices were not followed, or where there were not polices for people to follow to fulfill their duties," Rodriguez said. "A series of miscues took place that resulted in a loss to the university."

"Due diligence was lacking or not documented," about BPE, the company owned by Oahu promoter Bob Peyton, who made arrangements for the failed concert. Peyton had recently filed for Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy and his Kailua home was facing foreclosure when the concert deal was coming together.

The panel recommends UH create policies for non-athletic events that are held in UH athletic facilities. And the group said UH should provide training on new policies and procedures to its staff.

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