Bishop Estate agrees
not to destroy files
The agreement also calls for a banBy Jim Witty
on retaliation against KSBE
employees who come forward
The attorney general's office and Bishop Estate have struck an agreement behind closed doors that prohibits the destruction or removal of any trust documents and bans retaliation against any employee who comes forward with any information to the contrary.
The agreement, which carries the same judicial weight as an injunction, was hailed as a victory by both sides.
"We have achieved what we sought to achieve," said Deputy Attorney General Larry Goya, who had sought a permanent injunction against the destruction of estate documents after a Bishop Estate employee said the secretary for trustee Lokelani Lindsey was deleting computer files.
Bishop Estate attorney Bill McCorriston said the prohibitions on destroying documents and retaliation were never matters of contention during four days of negotiations, but "the allegation that any record was destroyed or eliminated by any KSBE employee, including Mrs. Lindsey's secretary" was not negotiable. "We would have gone to trial and hearing on this point if that provision was not placed in this order," McCorriston said.
According to the stipulation signed by Judge Kevin Chang, the court made "no finding concerning any misconduct by any employee of KSBE regarding deletion, destruction or removal of any KSBE documents including computer records."
"It's a pass on the issue at this point," said Howard Luke, attorney for the estate employees called in to be interviewed on the matter.
McCorriston contended that Lindsey's secretary was the victim of office "gossip" by Bishop Estate computer technicians and that she downloaded personal files she had in the system and saved them on five disks in order to adhere to trust policy. He said that the disks, now in Chang's possession, contained Hawaiian song lyrics, personal travel itineraries and notes on Polynesian culture.
But when Goya was asked if he thought any records were destroyed, or if the files included anything more than what was represented, he responded, "We'll probably never know."
Goya, who said he hadn't been able to look at the contents of the disks, added: "At this point, it doesn't seem that there's a whole lot of evidentiary value to it, because it appears that those diskettes may contain things such as personal documents. That does not mean we're confident that those same diskettes were in fact copies of what was deleted."
McCorriston blasted the attorney general's office for getting a temporary restraining order before conducting an inquiry into the incident.
"What we have here is a classic situation of shoot first and ask questions later," he said.
Luke called the downloading of the files "a very innocent and benign act."
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