The report that started it all

Peters: No one scrutinized
‘more than us’

By Rick Daysog

Bishop Estate trustee Henry Peters has urged community leaders to be patient as the estate sorts out dissension at its Kamehameha Schools campus.

"I just hope that the leaders of this community don't succumb to the hysteria that's out there," Peters said yesterday. "We have survived disagreements and criticisms (in the past) and as long as we are what we are, we're going to be faced with controversy."

Bishop Estate is the state's largest private landowner, established in 1884 by the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop to educate children of Hawaiian ancestry. Each year, the estate educates about 4,000 children at its Kamehameha Schools campuses.

Peters said he was surprised by Gov. Ben Cayetano's remarks about the state Supreme Court's role in selecting trustees and the appearance of politics in the selection process. But he said he welcomed the inquiry by the attorney general's office, which already reviews the estate's accounts each year.

He said Bishop Estate is under constant scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service, which reviews the estate's nonprofit status, and a court-appointed master, which oversees its finances each year. He added that independent Wall Street rating agencies such as Moody's and Standard & Poor's also review the estate's finances regularly.

"I don't know of any other entity in this town or in this country that is scrutinized more than us," he said.

Peters took issue with complaints that the state Supreme Court's selection of trustees may represent a conflict of interest. As spelled out in Bishop's will, the justices select trustees as individuals and not as representatives of the state Judiciary, he said.

During the past 10 years, the state Supreme Court has heard some 15 cases involving the Bishop Estate and not once has the court sided with the estate, Peters added.

Peters also responded to criticisms in an article in Saturday's Star-Bulletin by prominent members of Hawaii's native Hawaiian and legal communities. The article criticized trustees for personally investing $2 million in a Texas methane gas company in which the trust invested $85 million.

The article also singled out Peters for allegedly representing the buyers who purchased the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia in 1995 from a partnership that included Bishop Estate.

Peters said the issues raised by the article are "nothing new" and have been dealt with and resolved.

"I want the people of Hawaii to know that this is a thriving institution," Peters said. "Life goes on here in spite of the hysteria. Bills have to be paid and Kamehameha Schools has to be managed."

Past estate trustees

Charles Reed Bishop, 1884-98
Charles Montague Cooke, 1884-1897
Samuel Mills Damon, 1884-1897, 1898-1916
Charles McEwen Hyde, 1884-1899
William Owen Smith, 1884-1886
Joseph Oliver Carter, 1886-1909
William Fessender Allen, 1897-1904
Alfred W. Carter, 1900-1908, 1909-1917
Eben F. Bishop, 1904-1940
Albert F. Judd, 1908-1939
William Williamson, 1916-1928
Richard Henderson Trent, 1917-1939
George Miles Collins, 1928-1957
John Kinkwood Clarke, 1929-1951
Frank E. Midkiff, 1939-1983
Edwin Pauhaulani Murray, 1940-1968
Joseph B. Poindexter, 1943-1951
Wilson C. Moore, 1952-1962
Atherton Richards, 1952-1974
Samuel W. King, 1957-1959
Richard Lyman Jr., 1959-1988
Herbert K. Keppeler, 1962-1971
Hung Wo Ching, 1968-1982
Matsuo Takabuki, 1971-1993
Myron Thompson, 1974-1994
William S. Richardson, 1983-1993

Bishop Estate facing inquiry

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Waihee disputes allegations

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The Report that Started It All

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