The Probate Court shouldBy Gladys Brandt, Walter Heen,
appoint a receiver immediately,
'Broken Trust' authors say
Monsignor Charles Kekumano,
Samuel P. King and Randall Roth
Special to the Star-Bulletin
The attorney general immediately should ask the probate court to appoint a receiver to take over the affairs of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate.
Recent events make clear that the trustees are stonewalling the attorney general's investigation. At a minimum, this will slow the process dramatically. Unless the trustees are at least temporarily replaced, precious resources will be wasted on unnecessary legal wrangling and relevant evidence will be harder to locate.
Although Patrick Yim continues unimpeded, his "investigation" strikes us as little more than a trustee-devised diversionary tactic. Tellingly, the trustees asked the probate court to "order" their designee to engage in fact finding, even though the facts in question are not in dispute and the trustees did not need the court's permission, much less order, to hire the person of their choice to interview KS/BE employees. Furthermore, there is no assurance that the trustees will do anything with Yim's findings.
The trustees appear to have stepped up their campaign of fear and intimidation in an obvious attempt to silence anyone who would dare to criticize them or assist in their removal. Several examples: (1) according to recent reports, the leaders of the Kamehameha teachers group individually were reprimanded and threatened with dismissal for daring to voice publicly the concerns of their members, and (2) a former head of their wholly owned captive insurance company recently was sued by trustees for having revealed breaches of trust. As long as the current trustees are in a position to retaliate against employees who speak up, the attorney general's investigation will be seriously hampered.
The trustees continue to refuse to distinguish themselves from the estate. They mischaracterize criticism of trustees as criticism of the estate. They then consume precious estate resources (primarily public relations and legal) defending themselves. This is likely to compound until they have been removed.
It has been nearly six weeks since the Broken Trust essay first appeared. The trustees have yet to specifically address a single one of numerous serious allegations directed at four of them. Instead, their energy seems to have gone into devising ways to thwart the attorney general's investigation. By appointing a receiver, the probate court could quickly eliminate the trustees' ability to stonewall, intimidate and waste estate assets.
The trustees don't have a right to their high-paying positions and they don't own the estate. Due process does not require that they maintain their positions until the wheels of justice have finally turned.
The probate court should do now what is in the best interests of the beneficiaries, not the trustees, and that is to appoint a receiver immediately.
Faculty, alumni attorneyBy Gregg K. Kakesako
praises call for receiver
The attorney for the group representing Kamehameha Schools students, faculty and alumni, applauded the call for the attorney general to ask the probate court to appoint a receiver to take over the affairs of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate.
Beadie Dawson, attorney for Na Pua a Ke Ali'i Pauahi -- an organization of more than 2,000 Kamehameha students, parents and alumni -- said "the trustees keep doing more things that cause people to realize the gravity of the situation."
Dawson referred to recent reports where leaders of the Kamehameha teachers group individually were reprimanded and threatened with dismissal for daring to voice publicly the concerns of their members.
She described the trustees' threat to reprimand or dismiss Kamehameha Schools faculty as "despicable."
Dawson said the appointment of a receiver by the probate court may be appropriate given the continual "paranoid" reactions by the trustees.
She said that is one reason she asked Circuit Judge Colleen Hirai last week to speed up the fact-finding process.
Dawson said the future of the students and the faculty of Kamehameha Schools are at stake as the investigations continue to drag on.
Bishop Estate Archive
Kekumano revealsBy Jim Witty
he has cancer
Veteran Hawaiian cleric Monsignor Charles A. Kekumano has been diagnosed with cancer.
Kekumano, 78, a co-author of the "Broken Trust" opinion piece that sparked the attorney general's investigation into Bishop Estate, said this morning that a visit to the doctor this week for a chronic hip problem turned up swelling in his shoulder.
A biopsy revealed cancer, he said.
Although "it's apparently quite extensive," Kekumano said physicians believe "it's treatable. They're trying to pinpoint it."
"It's taken all the starch out of me," he said. "Even Chevrolets get rusty at 78. But like a tennis ball, I bounce back."
Last Wednesday, Kekumano told a Rotary Club of Honolulu audience that Bishop Estate trustees lack accountability and charged "there are no honest answers" coming from them.