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Donovan to return to UH in new position after concert debacle

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    Jim Donovan, University of Hawaii athletic director, has been placed on indefinite leave after announcing there would be no Stevie Wonder concert. Also on indefinite leave is arena manager Rich Sheriff.

University of Hawaii officials said today that athletic director Jim Donovan has been cleared of wrongdoing in the Stevie Wonder concert debacle and will return to the school in a new position Monday.

They did not specify the title of his new position but said he “will have significant responsibilities in designing, creating, articulating, marketing and communicating to the community, including assisting with the evolving land grant mission of the university,” according to a press release issued today.

“I am very pleased that I have been cleared of any wrongdoing as I have always acted in the best interests of the university,” Donovan said in the release.

Donovan was placed on paid administrative leave on July 11, a day after it was announced that a planned Wonder concert to benefit the UH athletic department had been cancelled. UH said it put down a $200,000 deposit from athletic department funds for the planned Aug. 18 concert, but the money had gone missing. officials said they had learned that the event was planned without Wonder’s knowledge and that they may have been a victim of fraud.

UH vice president Rockne Freitas, a former UH assistant athletic director in the 1980s, was named acting athletic director as the UH commissioned an outside investigation of the canceled concert.

Today’s news release did not mention the fate of Sheriff Center manager Rich Sheriff who was also placed on indefinite paid administrative leave on the same day.

In the release, the UH said “Donovan’s base salary will remain the same through the term of his current contract ending in March. He will then be reassigned to a new position and will be recommended to receive a three-year appointment at a salary of $211,200 (temporarily reduced to $200,640) that will be subject to customary reviews and approvals in accordance with established policy.”

Donovan will report directly to Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple, the UH said.

 “Jim is a gentlemen (sic) who has conducted himself with great honor during this difficult period. I am delighted that we have agreed to his return to full duty status and we are looking forward to a long term relationship,” Apple said in the release. “Jim served the university well as our athletics director, and I know that his considerable talents are an asset to the university which will benefit from his continued service.”

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