Governor joins calls
A Bishop attorney says Cayetano is attempting to influence the judge in the case for removal
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And Mary Adamski
Bishop Estate trustees are "dysfunctional" and should step down, Gov. Ben Cayetano said yesterday, appropriating a word used in the latest publication from the authors of "Broken Trust," a scathing critique of the charitable trust which set a state investigation into motion in 1997.
"How many outside evaluators have to call the trustees' role 'dysfunctional' before a probate judge puts them aside?" asked the authors -- Gladys Brandt, Walter Heen, Samuel P. King and Randall Roth -- in a letter published Monday in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
Cayetano told reporters: "I think the statement made by the authors of 'Broken Trust' has a great deal of merit to it. I believe if the trustees themselves don't come forward, I cannot see how the court would ignore the present situation. It's an unworkable situation."
"You can see that (Bishop) Estate trustees -- and this is a good description -- are right now dysfunctional," the governor said.
Replied Bishop Estate attorney William McCorriston, "If you compare how he is doing in education compared to how the trustees are doing in the education of the students at Kamehameha Schools, one would have to question which is dysfunctional and who should resign."
McCorriston said the comments by the governor and "Broken Trust" authors, who include a judge and a retired judge, are attempts to influence the judge in the case. "The comments are reckless and reprehensible and perhaps unethical" because the removal issue will be heard later this month by Circuit Judge Colleen Hirai.
Cayetano referred to "the present situation," and the critics' letter mentioned "this whole sordid affair," but neither directly cited the lastest twist in the Bishop Estate story: the hospitalization of trustee Gerard Jervis after an overdose of sleeping pills.
But McCorriston charged, "Like the 'Broken Trust' essayists, he's seizing upon a recent, unfortunate tragedy involving the private affairs of individuals, and for that particular incident, he's calling for the removal of all five trustees ... four of whom weren't involved in that incident. The remarks are meant to capitalize on a very personal, private situation that doesn't pertain to all the trustees."
Jervis remains hospitalized since being taken to Castle Hospital on Thursday. The incident at his home followed the March 3 apparent suicide of Bishop Estate lawyer Rene Ojiri Kitaoka, the night after she and Jervis were found in a compromising position by security guards at the Hawaii Prince Hotel.
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