Estate tries to silence fired executive

It seeks contempt-of-court charges
against Bobby Harmon

By Jim Witty

Bishop Estate is seeking to silence Bobby Harmon again.

The trust has filed an emergency motion in Circuit Court seeking contempt of court charges against the fired Bishop Estate executive for allegedly violating a previous injunction that blocked him from disclosing "confidential" information about his former employer.

Matt Tsukazaki, attorney for the $10 billion charitable trust, asked for a closed hearing "to protect the confidentiality of the information that may be discussed."

This morning, Circuit Court Judge Bambi Weil continued the matter to Sept. 26; Bishop Estate attorneys are scheduled to conduct a deposition with Harmon Sept. 12.

"We're not dealing with the formula of Coca Cola," quipped Harmon's attorney, Roy Hughes. "We're dealing with business documents."

John Goemans, who is representing Harmon in his $1.8 million wrongful-termination suit against Bishop Estate, told Weil: "Anything that Harmon has said has been either a matter of opinion or in aid of law enforcement."

Bishop Estate attorneys contend that Harmon released a confidential and proprietary document that contained "false and defamatory allegations" and disclosed facts concerning his employment with Bishop Estate to "outside third parties."

Harmon, who was fired last year after serving eight years as president and chief executive officer of Bishop Estate subsidiary P&C Insurance Co., has said his questions about irregular and possibly illegal activities led to his ouster. The Attorney General has interviewed Harmon as part of its investigation into the estate's dealings.

"Here's a guy who brought to the attention of his company things that were of benefit to the company," Goemans said. "Instead of being rewarded for his diligence, the whole machinery of the estate came down on him like a ton of bricks, ending his career, to which he'd reached the pinnacle."

Harmon said he questioned an annual payment the estate made without accounting for why it was made, his salary as chief of the for-profit insurance subsidiary being paid by the nonprofit trust in apparent violation of IRS regulations, and the parceling out of legal work to selected lawyers.

Harmon is out of state and did not attend today's hearing.

Bishop Estate Archive

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Community]
[Info] [Letter to Editor] [Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1997 Honolulu Star-Bulletin