State Senators: Wonder Blunder cost to UH is $1 million

Published: Oct. 2, 2012 at 6:25 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 3, 2012 at 1:10 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - State senators began a briefing investigating the University of Hawaii's failed Stevie Wonder concert Tuesday by admonishing a lawyer hired by UH for not providing them an answer to a key question: a complete breakdown of the costs incurred because of the concert fiasco.

State Sen. Donna Kim, chair of the committee investigating the canceled concert, asked UH for "A complete breakdown of a running total of the costs incurred by the University of Hawaii relating to the failed Stevie Wonder concert and other relevant costs," according to a letter her office sent UH late last Wednesday.

The law firm Torkildson Katz, which UH is paying at least $25,000 to help with compiling documents and testimony for the senate briefings, answered in a letter received by the Senate last night that the only cost for the university so far was its own contract, worth $25,000.

Senators said the true cost of the debacle is a little more than $1 million, adding the cost of the lost deposit amount, three years of salary at $200,000 for former UH athletics Director Jim Donovan and contracts with three law firms.

"The problem is people are tired of stonewalling that's coming out of our university," said State Sen. Sam Slom.

"You're forcing us to come back again to get the answers," Kim told Jeffrey Harris, an attorney from the Torkildson Katz firm.

"Now that you've clarified it, we'll be happy to comply," Harris said. "We've responded to the question and if you want more information, we'll give it to you."

Harris spoke before the State Special Committee on Accountability at its second briefing investigating the failed Stevie Wonder concert, which lasted more than seven hours.

Others scheduled to testify later in the day included Stan Sheriff Center Arena Manager Rich Sheriff, UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple along with UH regents James Lee, Coralie Matayoshi, and Carl Carlson.

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