Monday, January 25, 1999

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
At a hearing today in state Circuit Court, attorneys for,
from left, businessmen Leighton Mau and Jeff Stone and
Bishop Estate trustee Henry Peters, sought to dismiss
indictments against the three. The attorneys said the
state attorney general does not have the authority
to prosecute the parties.

Peters leaves
top bank post

The Bishop trustee today
gets an expert's support in
fighting a theft charge

By Rick Daysog


Bishop Estate trustee Henry Peters has temporarily stepped down as chairman of a Beverly Hills-based savings and loan in connection with his recent criminal indictment.

Peters today said he voluntarily relinquished his duties as chair of PBOC Holdings Inc., parent of the People's Bank of California, as he addresses his Nov. 27 grand jury indictment for a theft charge.

Peters is a longtime director of PBOC, formerly known as SoCal Holdings Inc., and the Bishop Estate owns more than 20 percent of the 19-branch financial institution. The company went public last May, resulting in a $60 million windfall for the Bishop Estate.

Under federal banking laws, Peters must relinquish his duties if charged with a crime. Peters can resume the chairmanship if he clears the charge.

Peters has vowed to fight the indictment, saying it is politically motivated.

"This is how bad this is," Peter said.

The disclosure was made this morning in a state Circuit Court hearing on a motion to dismiss indictments against Peters and local businessmen Jeffrey Stone and Leighton Mau. Attorneys for Peters, Stone and Mau argue that the attorney general's office -- which convened the grand jury -- does not have the authority to prosecute the parties.

They also allege the attorney general's office has a conflict of interest between its roles as the Bishop Estate's legal guardian, or parens patriae, and prosecutor of the criminal case against Peters.

Stone, brother-in-law of Bishop Estate trustee Richard "Dickie" Wong, and Mau were indicted with Peters by the grand jury on separate charges relating to a Hawaii Kai land deal with the estate. Stone was indicted on commercial bribery and conspiracy charges while Mau was indicted for conspiracy.

During today's hearing, an expert on legal ethics testified that Bronster does not have the authority to indict three defendants.

Geoffrey Hazard, University of Pennsylvania law professor and executive director of the American Law Institute, said he believes that the attorney general's dual role as legal guardian of the estate and criminal prosecutor places the office in conflict.

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