University releases internal audit of athletics department

Regents question spending practices, loose oversight

Published  6:38 PM HST Nov 07, 2012
HONOLULU -

The audit was triggered by a firestorm of protest about Jim Donovan’s high-paying reassignment and the subsequent scrutiny about what's really going in the athletic department.

Click here for the entire audit report.  Click here for a list of itemized receipts.

Regents were told the findings flagged a need for additional checks and balances to ensure discretionary spending of private and public money was in line with UH policy.

In some cases, it wasn’t.

There are new questions about why coaches were advanced large sums for tournament travel but did not return the excess money in a timely fashion.

In one case, more than $4,700 left in a sports office vanished in a break-in.

“Prior to it being returned, it was sitting in a coach’s safe, and it was stolen,” said UH internal auditor Glenn Shizumura.

The auditor also noted that excess money from sports banquets or sports camps was later doled out to the coaches as a bonus.

It’s a practice that is covered in language in some coaches' contracts.

"Clearly it’s questionable as to the appropriateness to pull it out of foundation accounts, and then transferred as additional compensation to the coaches," Shizumura said.

At least one regent asked for better accounting.

"That will assure donors that are subsidizing these events, that it is being used for direct costs and won't go for a windfall to these coaches and other people," said regent Coralie Matayoshi.

The audit has now prompted the UH Foundation which manages millions of donor money, to tighten up its reimbursement guidelines on everything from meals, to alcohol.

 It’s given the publicity about receipts that Jim Donovan submitted.

They included dinners with prospective corporate sponsors at Alan Wong's, as well as for lunches with other UH workers.

"Often we get, it is to discuss university business and other issues. Those will not be sufficient going forward. If they go outside these guidelines, they must contact us first," said Bill King, UH Foundation Chief Financial Officer.

Jim Donovan told KITV the practice of using sports camp money to compensate coaches is standard at many universities.  And he said following the theft of the money, he sent a memo reminding staff of the need to follow UH policies.

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