Chun to blame
The top trustee comes to
Lokelani Lindsey's defense in
her removal trial
Lindsey lawyers look to callBy Rick Daysog
Bishop Estate Chairman Richard "Dickie" Wong yesterday came to the defense of fellow trustee Lokelani Lindsey, saying Lindsey has been unfairly criticized for her labors at the estate-run Kamehameha Schools.
In testimony in the 4-month-old trial to remove Lindsey from the Bishop Estate board, Wong said Lindsey worked hard to improve academics at Kamehameha School, and blamed problems at the Kapalama Heights campus on schools President Michael Chun.
"I'm sorry for where she is at today because she tried to change the school," said Wong, former president of the state Senate. "We were entrusted with the care to educate these children. I thought that we failed."
Wong's testimony is key to Lindsey's defense team, who are eager to show that Lindsey was following the board of trustees' directives to improve Kamehameha Schools. Lindsey took a more active role in the management of the school after board members lost confidence in Chun, her attorneys have said.
Fellow trustees Oswald Stender and Gerard Jervis are seeking to remove Lindsey from the charitable trust's board, alleging she breached her fiduciary duties, mismanaged Kamehameha Schools and intimidated students and teachers.
Yesterday, Wong said Chun is responsible for morale problems among faculty members at the Kamehameha Schools. He believes that many teachers weren't able to bring their concerns about the school to Chun.
Wong said Chun never informed trustees of problems at the campus or of troubles he may have had with Lindsey during hundreds of twice-weekly trustee meetings that Chun attended since 1993. Chun's reports to trustees about campus activities largely focused on the progress of the school's athletic programs and other extracurricular events, Wong said.
"I think that Dr. Chun is a fine individual," said Wong, under questioning from Lindsey's lawyer David Gierlach. "I think he lacks the leadership to lead the Kamehameha Schools into the 21st century."
look to call high-court
justices to stand
Testimony from a sitting SupremeBy Rick Daysog
Court justice is unheard of in Hawaii
Lawyers for Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey want to call state Supreme Court Associate Justices Robert Klein or Steven Levinson as witnesses in the trial over her removal.
But in court papers filed yesterday, attorneys for trustees Oswald Stender and Gerard Jervis are opposing the move, saying it would be unfair to place the justices on the stand this late in the trial.
Testimony from a sitting Supreme Court justice is unheard of in Hawaii. If ordered to the stand, there's a possibility that the justices could be questioned about controversial issues such as the selection of Bishop Estate trustees.
Circuit Judge Bambi Weil, presiding in the removal case, will decide the issue.
Stender and Jervis are seeking Lindsey's removal from the board of trustees, alleging she breached her fiduciary duties, mismanaged the estate-run Kamehameha Schools and intimidated students and teachers.
Lindsey has denied the charges.
In a Feb. 26 letter to the trust's attorneys, Lindsey's lawyer David Gierlach said he plans to call Justices Klein or Levinson to testify on March 11.
Gierlach, who recently sent subpoenas to the judges, said he plans to question Klein or Levinson about discussions in early 1997 with Jervis. In testimony during the trial, Jervis said he spoke with the high-court justices about the brewing controversy at the Kamehameha Schools campus.
Gierlach said he also wants to recall Lindsey as a witness to rebut charges made against her during the trial. Lindsey previously testified for about eight days.
Stender's attorney Crystal Rose said it would be unfair to allow the judges' testimony now that the trial has been going on for four months. Neither of the judges was listed on Lindsey's witness lists, and neither has been deposed.
"Naming the two justices as witnesses at this very late date is unfair and a blatant attempt to short-circuit any cross-examination of them," Rose said.
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