Friday, April 20, 2001

Wong re-indicted
on perjury charges

Judge Town threw out similar
charges against the ex-Bishop
trustee just five months ago

By Debra Barayuga

The state attorney general has resurrected perjury charges against former Bishop Estate trustee Richard "Dickie" Wong.

Nearly five months to the day after a state judge dismissed charges against Wong, an Oahu grand jury yesterday came back and indicted Wong on two charges of perjury.

The charges stem from testimony Wong gave to a previous grand jury about a 1995 Hawaii Kai land deal between Bishop Estate and National Housing Corp., a partnership that involved Wong's former brother-in-law, local developer Jeffrey Stone.

Wong testified that he had no contact with Stone when Stone was negotiating the purchase of Kalele Kai.

The second perjury count involved Wong's claims to the grand jury that he had no further involvement with Stone once Stone informed him he was negotiating the purchase of the condominium project.

Eric Seitz, attorney for Wong, said he had not been notified yet of the charges but expects the same results as before when the charges were initially dismissed.

"I don't think the charges will be significantly different, and the outcome is virtually to be the same," he said.

Circuit Judge Michael Town tossed out the perjury charges against Wong in November after ruling that the Attorney General's Office provided improper testimony that prejudiced Wong's right to a fair trial.

Town had previously dismissed theft charges involving the Kalele Kai land deal against Wong and a commercial bribery charge against Stone with prejudice, meaning the state could re-indict them on the same charges.

The state appealed, seeking to overturn the court's dismissal.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Larry Goya said Stone was not charged because a decision on the state's appeal is still pending before the Hawaii Supreme Court.

A malicious-prosecution complaint filed by Wong in U.S. District Court has been delayed pending the outcome of the state's appeal. Perjury is punishable by maximum prison terms of five years and a $10,000 fine.

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