The University of Hawaii Board of Regents formally accepted an internal audit of the Manoa athletics department on Wednesday.
The audit showed that the athletics director at the time, Jim Donovan, was reimbursed for entertaining guests at higher priced establishments, such as Alan Wong's Restaurant or Ruth's Chris Steak House.
The audit also said that the purpose and benefit to five athletics administration personnel attending the 2012 NCAA Final Four Basketball Tournament is questionable.
The money used came from the University of Hawaii Foundation, a fundraising organization for the University of Hawaii system.
In October, the university released receipts of what Donovan was spending donor money on when he was athletics director. During the hearings on the Stevie Wonder concert fundraiser scandal, Sen. Donna Mercado Kim called on the university to be more open and transparent.
The regents also approved a contract settlement for Donovan that guarantees him a position under Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple at $211,200 per year for the next three years, on the condition Donovan agrees not to sue the university. Donovan's new contract is scheduled to begin March 24, 2013. Until then, he's being paid $200,640, or $30,000 less than he earned as athletics director.
The threat of a lawsuit came to light after Donovan was placed on administrative leave while the university investigated how the school lost $200,000 in a bogus Stevie Wonder concert fundraiser.
Statement from the UH Board of Regents:
"The Board of Regents today announced its continued commitment to independently manage the mission of the University of Hawaii. The Board welcomes the views of University stakeholders and will work cooperatively with community leaders, government officials, alumni and supporters who share the common goal of continuously improving the University’s quality of education and research reputation. The Board’s autonomy will not be influenced or deterred by undue pressure from those outside or within the University system from performing its constitutional mandate.
The last few months have been extremely trying times for our students, alumni, supporters, donors and all who have a special aloha for our university. Mistakes were made, and significant changes in policies, procedures and oversight are being implemented.
Today we voted to affirm the Administration’s reassignment of former Athletic Director Jim Donovan because we need to put this affair and its aftermath behind us. We have learned from this matter and will make sure that we have safeguards and guidelines in place so it does not happen again. The Advisory Task Group Report will provide guidance to the Regents, the President and senior administration, and all of us charged with the honor of guiding the University of Hawaii.
We have much to be proud of at UH. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges issued a glowing report about the strides we have made in retention and graduation rates. The National Science Foundation ranked UH Manoa in the top ten percent of all research institutions. We will continue to move forward, and work with the University leadership to bring this institution to the next level of national research and academic prominence."