Tuesday, February 9, 1999




Wong attorney asks
for delay of hearing
by grand jury

By Rick Daysog
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

An attorney for Bishop Estate trustee Richard "Dickie" Wong is asking a state judge to suspend a grand jury hearing on Wong's role in an alleged kickback scheme.

Eric Seitz asked Circuit Judge Michael Town yesterday to order state Attorney General Margery Bronster to put off a grand jury hearing scheduled for Thursday until jurisdictional matters are resolved.

Seitz and Wong have argued that Bronster does not have the primary authority to pursue a criminal investigation and is in a conflict of interest for conducting a simultaneous civil and criminal investigation of trustees. Wong has denied wrongdoing.

Town, who is the supervising judge for grand jury proceedings, is holding hearings on similar jurisdictional challenges by trustee Henry Peters and businessmen Leighton Mau and Jeffrey Stone, Wong's brother-in-law.

A previous jury in November voted to indict Peters for theft and Mau and Stone for conspiracy charges for their role in a Hawaii Kai land deal.

The grand jury currently is investigating Wong's role in the deal. In January, the secret panel was seated to hear testimony of Wong's secretary and his accountant.

But the proceedings were postponed until Thursday after Seitz and Wong challenged Bronster's authority in the federal courts. U.S. District Judge Alan Kay last month denied Wong's motion without prejudice, saying Wong must pursue other avenues of appeal at the state court level before taking the case to the federal level.

The state attorney general's office had no comment.



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