Thursday, June 24, 1999

Holt loses Bishop
‘special’ post

The layoff is the latest in a
string of setbacks for the once-
powerful lawmaker

By Rick Daysog


Former state Sen. Milton Holt, already under criminal indictment for alleged campaign spending abuses, is losing his job at the Bishop Estate.

Sources said the estate recently gave layoff notice to Holt and several employees in the trust's government relations unit as part of a department restructuring.

Holt -- a special projects officer at the estate who previously served as assistant athletic director of the trust-run Kamehameha Schools -- was placed on paid transitional leave Monday, sources said.

Holt could not be reached for response, and his attorney Reginald Minn had no comment.

Holt's layoff at the Bishop Estate marks the latest in a string of setbacks for the once-powerful lawmaker.

Last October, a federal grand jury indicted Holt, a Kamehameha Schools and Harvard University graduate, on two criminal counts of theft of campaign funds.

The grand jury -- which added four new criminal charges against him in March -- said Holt diverted money from his unsuccessful 1996 re-election campaign for personal uses such as car insurance premiums and relatives' birthday and wedding celebrations at the Honolulu Country Club.

U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren in March also ordered Holt to enter a substance abuse treatment center after he violated the terms of his supervised release by using illegal drugs.

Holt, who said he had had a substance abuse problem for more than a year, tested positive for crystal methamphetamine on March 2.

Holt has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges and is asking for dismissal of the federal indictments. Trial is set for September.

The former lawmaker -- he lost his Senate seat to former state Rep. Suzanne Chun Oakland in 1996 -- was regarded by his peers as a brilliant legislator and a behind-the-scenes power broker. But he had been in trouble with the law.

Last year, then-Attorney General Margery Bronster disclosed that Holt had spent $21,000 with his Bishop Estate credit cards at local hostess bars, restaurants and Las Vegas casinos.

Holt repaid the estate, but only after the trust gave him a one-time salary adjustment.

Inquiries into Holt's activities by the Campaign Spending Commission, FBI, and city and federal prosecutors followed in rapid succession.

Holt's future at the estate had been the subject of much speculation after Probate Judge Kevin Chang last month appointed five interim trustees -- retired Adm. Robert Kihune, former Iolani School headmaster David Coon, former Honolulu police Chief Francis Keala, local attorney Ronald Libkuman and Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. treasurer Constance Lau -- to run the multibillion-dollar Bishop Estate.

The new trustees -- who replaced Henry Peters, Richard "Dickie" Wong, Gerard Jervis, Lokelani Lindsey and Oswald Stender -- recently canceled a $48,000-a-year contract with former state Rep. Terrance Tom, who once headed the powerful House Judiciary Committee.

The trustees also have restored some Kamehameha Schools outreach programs eliminated by the previous board.

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