UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII FOOTBALL
Ethics panel asks for Sugar Bowl list
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The Hawaii State Ethics Commission has requested that the University of Hawaii provide it with a complete list of the travel party for the Sugar Bowl.
A UH spokesman said the school will comply. It released a list on May 23, but 45 names were blacked out.
Executive Director Daniel Mollway said the commission wants to determine whether people were on the trip at state expense but possibly without a state function, which would be illegal.
"What the NCAA allows doesn't trump the state ethics code," Mollway said. "Not at all. What they allow we would normally say is irrelevant."
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The Hawaii State Ethics Commission is pursuing information about the University of Hawaii's trip to the Sugar Bowl, including a complete travel list.
At issue is whether people not serving a function for the state went at UH, and hence, state expense, which is against Hawaii law.
The UH athletic department released on May 23 a partial list of people who traveled free to the event in New Orleans. Forty-five names of the 550 provided were blacked out due to union concerns, school officials said.
Commission Executive Director Daniel Mollway wants the complete list to help determine whether any laws were broken, specifically the Hawaii State Ethics Code (HRS 84).
The Hawaii State Ethics Commission is a six-member board that administers and enforces governmental and lobbying laws. The commission can refer cases to the state attorney general's office. Penalties for breaking the state ethics code can include recovery of losses, a $500 fine per offense and disciplinary action including discharge from employment.
"We can subpoena for information and presumably obtain it," Mollway said. "If there's some discrepancy we can ask why and see what happened."
A UH spokesman said the school will provide the information.
"Yes, we've been in contact and fully cooperating, as we have from the very start," said Gregg Takayama, speaking on behalf of UH-Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw, who was on the mainland yesterday and unavailable for comment. "One thing we both agree on is this is new territory for both of us. We have been fully cooperative."
Said Mollway, "The Sugar Bowl was a unique, unusual thing, but the logic still applies. You need to be there on a legitimate state purpose."
Mollway met with Hinshaw, then-athletic director Herman Frazier, associate athletic director Carl Clapp and other UH officials on Dec. 20, five days before the travel contingent flew to New Orleans. Mollway said he initiated the meeting because he had "heard rumors" there might be problems with UH's proposed travel list.
The UH officials told Mollway that Bowl Championship Series, NCAA and Western Athletic Conference officials required that UH send a sizable "delegation" to New Orleans to represent the school and the WAC, and that some spouses would be required to be part of it.
"They explained it as an official party that they had to put together a delegation very quickly," Mollway said. "The BCS needed to see a very strong commitment. We were told there would be a lot of social events.
"Normally the state does not pay for spouses," Mollway added. "Our basic thing is a spouse doesn't go. It's a freebie."
Mollway added he was told at the meeting that a few children would be on the trip, presumably at their parents' expense.
"They said they (UH) would not be paying for their travel," Mollway said.
Takayama said people who were at the meeting dispute that.
"They do remember that there was not a specific agreement about the children," Takayama said.
Takayama said discussions at the Dec. 20 meeting were in "very general terms."
"The thing to remember is that, and the chancellor has said, there was no travel policy prior to (the Sugar Bowl invitation). Everything was developed on the fly as quickly as possible and to the best of our ability. We only had about three weeks from the (University of) Washington game to literally getting on the flight on Christmas Day."