Saturday, July 17, 1999

State may
appeal Wong
dismissal order

A Circuit judge threw out
a charge against Bishop
trustee 'Dickie' Wong

By Rick Daysog


The attorney general's office may appeal a state judge's order to throw out indictments against Bishop Estate trustee Richard "Dickie" Wong, his wife and local developer Jeffrey Stone.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Lawrence Goya last week filed a notice of appeal of Circuit Judge Michael Town's June 16 dismissal order with the state Supreme Court and the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

The notice is not a formal appeal but preserves the state's right to challenge Town's ruling in appellate courts.

Town dismissed grand jury indictments against the Wongs and Stone, who is trustee Wong's brother-in-law, saying the indictments were tainted by the testimony of Stone's former attorney, Richard Frunzi.

The judge said the state illegally bolstered Frunzi's testimony when it allowed him to speak about client matters, which should have been protected as privileged material. Frunzi is in a federal prison on the mainland after he was convicted of money laundering.

The grand jury in April indicted Wong for criminal theft, and Stone for commercial bribery and conspiracy, saying they took part in an alleged kickback scheme involving Bishop Estate land in Hawaii Kai. Wong's wife, Mari, was indicted for hindering prosecution.

All three have denied wrongdoing, saying the land deal -- the 1995 sale of the estate's fee interest in the 219-unit Kalele Kai condominium project -- benefited the trust immensely.

Wong has sued the state in federal court for wrongful prosecution, but recently put the suit on hold. Wong's attorney Eric Seitz declined comment on the state's appeal notice.

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