State, trustee Lindsey
spar over lawyers

She brings two attorneys, then walks
out after being told one must go

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

Legal motions will be filed tomorrow following a brief but stormy visit to the attorney general's office by Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey yesterday.

Lindsey took two lawyers with her to answer a state subpoena for an investigation into the estate, even though she had been told by state attorneys to bring just one.

When state attorneys told Lindsey one of her counsels would have to leave, she and both her attorneys walked out.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Lawrence Goya said he will seek a motion compelling Lindsey to return -- with just one attorney. And William Harrison, Lindsey's personal attorney, said he's filing a motion tomorrow allowing Seattle-based Dawson Taylor as co-counsel.

Attorney General Margery Bronster subpoenaed Lindsey as part of her investigation into allegations that the trustees have mismanaged finances and breached fiduciary duty.

"We explained to her earlier that while we wanted her to have her attorney of choice, she was limited to one," Goya said. "She said she could not agree to that."

The meeting lasted "just a few minutes," he said. "Looking from our point of view, we did provide her with the choice of having one or the other with her," Goya said. "We're satisfied that we had complied with all of the protections that needed to be afforded to her."

Added Goya: "We were trying to get the questioning done as quickly and as expeditiously as we could.

"That was the purpose of trying to have Ms. Lindsey have just one counsel present."

The court may find Lindsey in contempt as a result of her action, he said.

Harrison said that Taylor, as his co-counsel, had every right to appear before state attorneys.

"They were going to bar him from the premises, which we thought was totally outrageous," Harrison said.

"At that point, we decided the interview was terminated," he said.

"They have absolutely no authority, and their unilateral decision to bar Ms. Lindsey's attorney from the premises was a clear abuse of power."

Lindsey wants Taylor present as co-counsel "because of his expertise in trust and estate matters," Harrison said. "I'm a trial attorney."

Harrison said he had "no idea" why state attorneys limited Lindsey to one attorney present.

He noted that besides Goya, the attorney general's side had two other deputy attorneys -- Kevin Wakayama and Hugh Jones -- as well as investigator Joy Aipolani in the room.

Harrison added that earlier yesterday Circuit Judge Kevin Chang approved a motion allowing Taylor to serve as co-counsel, as is necessary for an attorney not licensed to practice in Hawaii.

Witnesses in investigative proceedings held by the attorney general are allowed the same privileges as those in state Circuit Court, he said, and court rules stipulate that no more than two counsels shall appear for any party.

Lindsey is the second of the estate's five trustees to appear before state attorneys.

Oswald Stender, the first, brought one attorney, Goya said.

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