Wonder Blunder: Following The Money

There has been no update from Hawaii regarding Wonder Blunder, otherwise known as the bizarre concert cancellation that took place in Hawaii, but Pollstar has done some digging.

The University of Hawaii, on the island of Oahu, was to host Stevie Wonder at its Stan Sheriff Center Aug. 18. Now there is a missing $200,000 deposit, and two staff members –the venue GM and the school’s athletic director – have been suspended. It also put veteran Hawaii promoter Bob Peyton of BPE Productions – who sent $50,000 of his own money – into an uncomfortable situation.

Wonder is repped worldwide by CAA, but apparently the university tried other, cheaper means to get to him. The R&B legend was going to be recruited for a show to benefit the university’s athletic program. Money was sent to a black hole called Epic Talent in Florida that now has a disconnected phone number.

Soon, CAA contacted the university to confirm it had no knowledge of the event. Peyton, who was contracted to promote the show, is on record saying university officials canceled the concert after he asked them not to. And because the university canceled, the deposit doesn’t come back. But, then again, it wasn’t CAA’s contract in the first place, so there really wasn’t a deposit for a show – at least, that’s where it all gets a little hairy.

Apparently, as Saul Goodman in “Breaking Bad” would put it, somebody knew somebody … who knew somebody. And a contact in England suggested a contact in Spain named Helen Williams who worked a lot with Russian acts, who suggested a contact in Florida who allegedly had a management contact for Wonder (which, apparently, is a lot easier than just calling his management office in Los Angeles).

Whether Epic is working on getting the money back to the university is up for speculation.

This story has a lot of “allegedly” and “apparently” because nobody is talking, but this is the gist so far. The university has hired an outside firm to investigate the matter, and the FBI is involved.

Meanwhile, Hawaii News Now reported Peyton promoted the Beauty and The Beast Ice Show at Blaisdell Arena in 2009, and records show crew and stagehands are owed them more than $20,000 in unpaid wages. The crew was never paid, with Peyton filing Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy protection two months later. He is also facing foreclosure on his Kailua home.