Saturday, January 9, 1999

By Craig Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Lokelani Lindsey's testimony resumes next week

Lindsey says
she is victim
of a plot

The trustee names 10
who are 'conspiring' to
blame her for
Kamehameha woes

By Rick Daysog


Bishop Estate trustees Oswald Stender and Gerard Jervis, the wife of Kamehameha Schools President Michael Chun, members of the Kamehameha Schools alumni and faculty groups are all part of a conspiracy against trustee Lokelani Lindsey, Lindsey says.

But one alumni group leader dismissed Lindsey's comments as paranoid.

On her third day of testimony in the trial to remove her from the estate's five-member board, Lindsey yesterday said that she is a victim of a plot hatched by Stender to blame her for problems at the estate-run Kamehameha Schools.

Lindsey, in response to questions from Deputy Attorney General Dorothy Sellers, named as many as 10 individuals -- including witnesses who have testified in the Lindsey removal trial -- as participants in the alleged conspiracy.

The conspiracy theory is a major theme in arguments by Lindsey's defense team in the 2-month-old removal trial before Circuit Judge Bambi Weil.

Stender and Jervis are seeking Lindsey's ouster on the grounds that she breached her fiduciary duties and is unfit to serve as a trustee. But Lindsey claims that she is being attacked by an entrenched group of teachers and administrators who opposed her efforts to improve academic programs at the Kapalama Heights campus.

Lindsey's attorneys also have alleged that Stender whipped up teachers and administrators through a campaign of rumor and innuendo.

That came after Lindsey criticized Stender's unsuccessful attempt to purchase Maui Land & Pineapple Co. in 1995 as a conflict of interest, her attorneys have argued. The estate had previously turned down a plan to buy the Kahului company.

Stender has denied the charge.

Roy Benham, president of the Oahu region of the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association, took offense to Lindsey's testimony, calling her statements paranoid.

When the controversy erupted early last year, the alumni association simply wanted to resolve it so that students at the Kamehameha Schools would not be affected, Benham said.

He said alumni members initially wanted only to meet with trustees to discuss concerns that trustees had taken away many of Michael Chun's duties.

"Conspiracy? We were just doing something for the children, for crying out loud," Benham said.

Besides Stender and Jervis, Lindsey included Benham, Bina Chun, graduate Tomi Chong and schoolteachers Charlene Hoe and Collette Akana.

She also named the 3,000-member Na Pua a Ke Ali'i Pauahi parent and alumni group and the Na Kumu o Kamehameha faculty group as alleged conspirators.

Benham; Akana; Chong, a Na Pua executive; and Hoe, a Na Kumu co-founder, all have testified about alleged harms caused by Lindsey at the school.

Lindsey said she "heard rumors" that Michael Chun may be a member of the plot; the attorney general's office also could be a participant.

The attorney general's office is seeking the permanent removal of Lindsey and trustees Richard "Dickie" Wong and Henry Peters, saying they engaged in a wide-ranging pattern of self-dealing and mismanagement.

Lindsey also said that the estate's court-appointed fact-finder Judge Patrick Yim is a "victim" of the conspiracy since his fact-finding study largely reflects the views of people screened by the Na Pua group.

The December 1997 Yim report charged that Lindsey managed by intimidation, fostered a culture of favoritism and hurt the morale of teachers and staff through "intemperate, inappropriate and at times ill-advised comments."

Lindsey's testimony resumes on Monday.

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