Letters to the Editor
Thursday, November 27, 1997

Controversy was created based on pure jealousy

I am no mathematician but the knowledge that Bishop Estate is worth $11 billion, is the wealthiest school in the world, and that the trustees earned $8 million tells me the estate earned some $400 million this past year.

If my figures are near correct, wouldn't one say, overall, that the estate invested wisely, thus contributing to its wealth?

This controversy of Bishop Estate "wrongdoings" leads me to believe that the created allegations by people with impressive credentials boils down to one word: jealousy. Jealousy because:

The trustees make too much money.

They are Hawaiian.

Of the benefits that Hawaiian children receive.

The estate is exempt from paying taxes.

Of the extreme wealth of this Hawaiian institution.

How sad to have allegations of wrongdoing aimed at this Hawaiian institution because of jealousy.

Paul D. Lemke
Kapaa, Kauai

Trustee has usurped power from president of school

Regardless of what Judge Patrick Yim's fact-finding mission may reveal, there exists at the Kamehameha Schools a breach of faith in the ability of the schools' president to fulfill his leadership role.

The assuming of the responsibility by a single trustee for overseeing the administrative functions traditionally assigned to the Office of the President has led to the serious dilemma facing the trustees.

Presently, communication between the Office of the President and the Board of Trustees doesn't foster the face-to-face dialogue and open communication necessary on critical educational and administrative issues.

This situation has caused confusion, a lack of trust, and a feeling of betrayal of the part of alumni, students, families, and current and former staff, who are dedicated to the mission of the Bishop Estate.

Jack R. Herbertson
Former Kamehameha teacher
Fort Collins, Colo.

A takeover is brewing at Kamehameha Schools

Micro-management, often carried out by one person whether in industry or in education, is not in favorable respect.

In the Kamehameha catastrophe, the upheaval has resulted in administrative confusion, which led to a sinking morale among faculty and students and the loss of parental trust.

Historically, when an executive maneuvers to the CEO level, there is the firing of all administrative and managerial staff, and the hiring of new replacements.

At Kamehameha, the CEO remains until another person maneuvers himself into the CEO position. Yes, the passion for power poisons the soul.

Don Carline
Former Kamehameha teacher
Boulder, Colo.

When will something be done about trustees?

How many more revelations of incompetence do we have to suffer through before the trustees of the Bishop Estate are removed from office? Do we have to wait until the losses reach $500 million, or is the threshold $1 billion? How much more obstruction of justice must we endure?

This community has lost all respect for the trustees, and it is time for all five of them to be removed from office and held personally liable for the estate's losses.

No deals should be made with trustees to allow them to resign to avoid personal liability. No trustee should be appointed or retained simply because he or she is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools or is of Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian ancestry.

Future trustees must be selected based strictly on their credentials and past experience, which shows their ability to manage an estate of the size and complexity as that of the estate of Bernice Pauahi Bishop.

The Bishop Estate affects the lives of everyone in Hawaii through its control of vast areas of commercial and residential land. Therefore, it is not only students, teachers or alumni of Kamehameha Schools who are affected by the incompetence and arrogance of the trustees. We are all affected.

Robert M. Chapman

Estate was merely follower in leased-fee conversions

Robert Lowe's Nov. 6 letter says that Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate was a leader in lease-to-fee conversions. That is not true. KS/BE was not a leader but a follower.

By the time KS/BE started selling its leased-fee interests in 1991, between 20,000-30,000 leased-fee interests had been sold by other lessors. Small landowners were the leaders in voluntary lease-to-fee conversions.

Lowe also blames KS/BE for the weakness in our economy. Again, not true. When that question was asked of Nick Ordway, a University of Hawaii business professor and real estate expert, he stated, "He probably would make the same pricing decisions as Bishop Estate trustees if he were in their shoes."

Ordway also stated, "As a perpetual trust, the estate needs to consider the value of land on a long-term basis, and a five-year downturn in the real estate market should not affect that long-term view."

Peter Savio
President, Savio Realty Ltd.

Bishop Estate Archive

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