new chief aims to
McCubbin sees his job as
working for children and the
building the trust
Trustees gone, case still goingBy Rick Daysog
HAMILTON McCubbin was going nowhere. A year after his father died of a heart attack in 1956, McCubbin, then a sophomore at the Kamehameha Schools, said he stopped going to classes and was on his way to becoming a juvenile delinquent before his mother and educators at the Kamehameha Schools turned his life around.
"When my father passed away early, I was really floundering," said the 58-year-old McCubbin, who recalled that his mother and his teachers took away his driver's license and his car. "I was on the verge of doing what a lot of Hawaiian kids did back then. Just tell the world what the heck, do anything you want and go to the beach and not go to school."
McCubbin -- who graduated from the Kamehameha Schools in 1959 and went on to become a world-class scholar -- will now play a key role in turning around the lives of at-risk Hawaiian children.
One day after he was appointed as the first-ever chief executive officer of the 115-year-old Kamehameha Schools, McCubbin sat down with the Star-Bulletin to outline his vision for the educational trust in the 21st century, a vision that aims to greatly expand the reach of the Kamehameha Schools in the local Hawaiian community.
McCubbin, the former dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Human Ecology, said that one of his priorities will be to reinstall many of the educational programs targeting young and at-risk Hawaiian children.
Ready to team with the DOEHe also hopes to reinstitute many of the estate's past partnerships with the state Department of Education, which educates about 85 percent of the isles' native Hawaiian children.
"Kamehameha has to broaden its perspective and ... create a learning community for these kids to be successful," McCubbin said. "Its mission is not just a matter of offering mortar and curriculum. It has to create an entire learning environment for native Hawaiian children to be successful."
As the new chief executive officer of the Kamehameha Schools, part of McCubbin's charge will be to restore the public's confidence in a trust wracked by controversy, internal dissension and state and federal investigations of its former board members.
McCubbin said that graduates like himself expected the very best from the school's trustees, given that the state Supreme Court had named the former board members to their seats. He said he was particularly disturbed by charges that the former trustees accumulated more than $350 million in trust income as the estate was cutting back the popular outreach programs for disadvantaged Hawaiians.
Activist Haunani-Kay Trask, Hawaiian studies professor at the University of Hawaii, said that McCubbin will inherit many of the problems created by the former trustees. But Trask, who has known McCubbin for nearly a decade, believes he is the right person to weed out much of the remnants of the old guard.
"Not all of the deadwood is out," said Trask, a 1967 Kamehameha Schools graduate. "I think Ham is the best person to address this."
Several trust observers were skeptical of McCubbin's appointment, saying he does not have the necessary financial expertise for the job. Former trustee Oswald Stender and Attorney General Earl Anzai suggested that someone with a business background should have been named CEO because problems at Kamehameha Schools were largely in the investment and management area.
The trust will address those concerns by hiring a new chief financial officer to oversee the day-to-day investment decisions of the trust, McCubbin said. He added that the trust in the future will rely more on professional money managers to handle the estate's far-flung holdings, a move that would maximize the estate's returns and take the politics out of investment decisions.
Turning to financial experts"When you look at the quality of the investment firms that exist out there, we could do a lot better than we are doing right now," McCubbin said. "The fiscal management of the estate is best placed in the hands of people who do this all the time and who are extremely successful."
McCubbin added that he hopes to establish a special endowment fund which would allow alumni to contribute to the future of Hawaiian children.
He also discussed the reasons why he turned down the job of senior vice president of academic affairs at the University of Hawaii back in 1992. News reports at the time stated that then-UH president Albert Simone reneged on promises over the terms of McCubbin's hiring and that of his wife, Marilyn, a nursing professor at the University of Wisconsin.
Contrary to statements attributed to Simone, Marilyn McCubbin said she had not sought automatic tenure at the university and was going through the normal tenure process. About the same time, she was granted tenure at the University of Wisconsin.
Complicating matters, Marilyn McCubbin was stricken by cancer, from which she has recovered.
Simone has since left the university for the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.
"As the politics unfolded, the mix just didn't seem right," McCubbin said. "We really felt bad because we wanted to make a contribution, but it wasn't meant to be."
Trustees gone, case
still going: Atty. general
seeks bigger budget
The state is pursuing $100 millionAssociated Press
in alleged mismanagement costs
The state's legal costs in the Bishop Estate case "are going up, not down," Attorney General Earl Anzai says.
In reviewing Anzai's supplemental budget proposals, House Finance Committee Chairman Dwight Takamine, D-North Hilo-Hamakua, asked yesterday if there might be some money left now that the five trustees of the estate have resigned.
Anzai said the opposite is true as the state pursues the former trustees for up to $100 million for alleged losses from questionable investment of trust funds. The state expects a judgment to include paying the state's legal costs, he said.
The state is now entering a more difficult phase of the case, Anzai said. "To pursue those claims, we need experts who are going to cost hundreds of dollars an hour. For example, we'll need experts on return on investments, real property investments on the partnerships investments they entered into, etc."
The state's claim focuses on getting money from the insurance company covering liabilities for the trustees, Anzai said.
"I don't think any of the trustees have personal assets that even come close to the losses we are claiming."
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