POSTED: 03:13 p.m. HST, Jul 12, 2012
The FBI has informed University of Hawaii officials that it can find no trace of the school's money in a Florida bank account said to be involved in a bogus Stevie Wonder fund-raising concert for UH athletics, UH sources told the Star-Advertiser today.
Local promoter Bob Peyton told the Star-Advertiser that he wired $50,000 of his money to an account at an Orlando, Fla., bank belonging to Epic Talent Inc., which has a Miami address. And Peyton said that UH officials wired $200,000 to the same account.
But a UH official said the school has been told by the FBI that there is no trace of the money in the account purportedly belonging to Epic Talent Inc.
FBI Special Agent Tom Simon acknowledged the agency had been contacted by the UH, but said he could not comment further. "I can confirm that the referral has been made to the FBI Honolulu office by the University of Hawaii. But DOJ (Department of Justice) policies prohibit me from confirming or denying the existence of an FBI investigation unless or until charges are filed," he said.
New UH-Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple told reporters Wednesday that the $200,000 came from UH funds, possibly athletic department revolving funds. The money was wired by the school's finance office, according to UH.
UH athletic director Jim Donovan told reporters Tuesday that UH had wired $200,000 as part of the deal to bring the Aug. 18 benefit concert to the Stan Sheriff Center. The concert was canceled Tuesday when Donovan said Wonder's agent told the school that the entertainer had no knowledge of the event.
UH officials placed Donovan, and Stan Sheriff arena manager Rich Sheriff, on indefinite paid leave Wednesday pending an investigation.
Apple told the Star-Advertiser today that he does not anticipate any other disciplinary actions against UH officials who may have been involved in the concert until a separate investigation by "an external investigator" is finished. "I don't know if it will take two days or two weeks," Apple said.
Apple declined to identify who will conduct the investigation looking into UH operational policies.