Trustees try to block
They take their battle against ChangBy Rick Daysog
decisions to the Supreme Court
Trustees of the Bishop Estate are appealing a Circuit Court judge's ruling ordering trustee Lokelani Lindsey to testify in the state attorney general's investigation of the embattled trust.
The trustees, who filed the appeal with the state Supreme Court on Monday, also want the high court to overturn subpoenas seeking lists of Bishop Estate employees and vendors who do business with the trust.
The subpoenas recently were approved by Circuit Judge Kevin Chang.
Two of the estate's five trustees, Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender, said they voted against the appeal during a recent weekly trustees' meeting.
They believe the estate should be providing information to Attorney General Margery Bronster and Colbert Matsumoto, the estate's court-appointed master who last week criticized trustees for withholding information.
Bronster is investigating allegations of mismanagement of the estate's assets. She has issued up to 31 subpoenas seeking interviews with trustees, estate financial documents and rosters of Bishop Estate employees and business partners.
Four of those subpoenas were issued to Lindsey, who has fought them unsuccessfully.
William McCorriston, the estate's attorney, said the appeal seeks to clarify the scope of the attorney general's investigation of the charitable trust, which he said was too broad.
By law, Bronster can only investigate violations of law, which she has refused to identify, according to McCorriston.
"She's asking for every document we have had from 1993 to the present," said McCorriston. "It's getting to the point of ridiculousness."
Bronster said the estate is trying to stall her investigation. She said McCorriston raised similar arguments during hearings before Chang.
Chang ruled against the estate, upholding the subpoenas.
"I think this whole thing is an effort to delay our investigation," Bronster said.
The appeal also raises a potential conflict for the state Supreme Court, since the high court selects the five trustees.
Jim Branham, staff attorney for the state Supreme Court, declined comment on the Bishop Estate's motion for appeal. But in cases where there could be a conflict, the Supreme Court justices could recuse themselves and allow lower-court judges to replace them, Branham said.
They also can assign the case to a lower court, such as the intermediate court of appeals, Branham said.