Friday, May 7, 1999

Tam back as
estate executive

The acting attorney general
has concerns about his past
connection with the trust

By Rick Daysog


The Bishop Estate has hired former trust executive Gil Tam as its first chief executive officer just as trustees face removal.

Trustee Henry Peters yesterday confirmed Tam's hiring as an interim chief executive, pending court approval.

Tam, now a vice president at the Bank of Hawaii, formerly served as principal executive for the estate's administrative group.

Peters declined to reveal Tam's salary. But trust lawyer Bruce Graham last week testified that the likely salary for an estate chief executive would be about $500,000, not including benefits.

Tam's hiring comes after Probate Judge Kevin Chang has ordered the trustees to demonstrate to him why they have not hired a chief executive after agreeing to do so by April 1.

Chang also has ordered the trustees to show him why they should not resign or be temporarily removed from their $1 million-a-year jobs after the Internal Revenue Service threatened to cancel the estate's tax-exempt status.

Both show-cause orders are a subject of a hearing this morning.

The recommendation to create the chief executive officer post came from court-appointed special master Colbert Matsumoto. Trustees agreed in October to hire a chief executive to oversee the operations of the trust and to replace the so-called "lead trustee" system of management, in which one trustee is put in charge of a specific part of the estate's operation.

Critics say the lead trustee system was a major cause of the controversy surrounding the Bishop Estate, saying it excludes fellow trustees from the decision-making process.

Under the new system, the board would decide policy matters and leave them to be carried out by the chief executive officer, similar to the way many corporations are run.

Acting Attorney General Rick Keller raised concerns about Tam's hiring, saying his past connection with the trust taints his appointment

Bishop Estate archive

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