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Officials: UH report redactions were not unjustified

Stevie Wonder’s name even blacked out in scam study

April 6, 2013
The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Nearly none of the redactions made to a University of Hawaii fact finder's report on a botched Stevie Wonder concert fundraiser were necessary, according to the state Office of Information Practices.

The state office found that "almost none" of the redactions in the 57-page report were justified under state law, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

The office criticized the university for redacting Wonder's name, noting that the name was publicized by the university to announce the concert. It also points out that tickets with Wonder's name on them were being pre-sold when the concert was canceled.

The state office recommended that the report be returned to the university to be redone.

The opinion was prompted by a request last fall from state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Special Committee on Accountability, and was released last week.

The university commissioned the Cades Schutte law firm to investigate and compile the report. Another law firm, Torkildson Katz Moore Hetherington & Harris, was hired to help university officials prepare for the Senate hearings, including redacting the report.

The report was done after the university paid a North Carolina man a $200,000 deposit for the concert and began selling advance tickets. According to authorities, Marc Hubbard, of Waxhaw, N.C., said he had connections with a former Motown Records executive who could secure Wonder for an August fundraiser.

The school later learned that neither the singer nor his representatives authorized the concert.

Hubbard entered a not guilty plea to wire fraud in November. He is scheduled to go on trial Aug. 13.

A special state Senate committee that investigated the university's handling of the bungled concert said the incident tarnished the university's reputation both nationally and within the state.

The committee said no one at the university looked into whether the agent was an authorized representative of the singer. The lawmakers also faulted a lack of oversight and communication in the school's athletic department, general counsel and disbursing office.

 
 

 

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