The former spokeswomanBy Rick Daysog
for the Bishop Estate testifies
during the trial to remove
A former spokeswoman for the Bishop Estate today provided damaging testimony about trustee Lokelani Lindsey's alleged intimidation tactics and her micromanagement of the estate-run Kamehameha Schools.
Before Circuit Judge Bambi Weil, Elisa Yadao, former head of the estate's communications department, said that Lindsey asked members of the estate's communications group to photograph and videotape people who took part in the May 1997 march protesting trustees' management of Kamehameha Schools.
Lindsey, along with estate trustee Henry Peters, also took down many of the names of the march's participants, raising the possibility of retribution, said Yadao.
"The trustees being that angry was disconcerting," said Yadao, who left the estate in 1997 to become managing editor of NBC Hawaii News-8.
"Mrs. Lindsey believed that these people were marching against the trustees. She was very angry about it."
Yadao also testified that Lindsey often called her, school president Michael Chun and the estate's in-house lawyer Nathan Aipa insubordinate.
She said that Lindsey discussed with her Chun's possible firing several times, saying that Chun was a poor leader, a poor communicator and was weak on planning.
Yadao's testimony comes in the fourth month of the trial to remove Lindsey from the estate's five-member board. Trustees Oswald Stender and Gerard Jervis are seeking Lindsey's ouster, alleging she breached her fiduciary duties, intimidated students and teachers and mismanaged Kamehameha Schools.
Lindsey has argued that she took a more active role at Kamehameha Schools because she believed the schools lacked adequate leadership under Chun.
Yadao's testimony comes on the heels of testimony from an education expert who said that the trustee does not have a basic understanding of her roles and responsibilities as a trustee of an educational institution.
Robert Witt, executive director of the Hawaii Association for Independent Schools, yesterday said Lindsey violated several generally accepted standards for school governance while serving as lead trustee of education for the estate-run Kamehameha Schools.
By micromanaging the affairs of the Kapalama Heights campus, Lindsey overstepped her role as a trustee as spelled out by the National Association of Independent Schools principles of good practice, Witt said.
The association, whose membership includes 1,000 private schools countrywide, advocates that trustees serve as policy makers and not as day-to-day managers, he said.
"A trustee does not get involved in specific management, personnel, and curricular activities," Witt said.
Under direct questioning from Stender's lawyer, Crystal Rose, Witt criticized Lindsey for her public release of a report critical of students' academic progress and allegations that she micromanaged the schools.
The controversial Lindsey report, dubbed "An Imperative for Educational Change," argued that the longer students stayed at Kamehameha Schools, the worse they performed as measured by standardized test scores.
Witt said it was "highly irregular" for a trustee to release a report that was negative of students' performance.
He also said he believes that the report did not give a complete picture of the quality of education at Kamehameha Schools, focusing largely on test scores.
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