2 trustees flag Mehau contract

Two trustees say the $40,000-a-month job
was not presented to the board

By Rick Daysog

Kamehameha faculty wants Bishop trustees ousted

Hawaiiana collection purchase draws fire

Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate trustees Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender are questioning a campus security contract with a company headed by Big Island businessman Larry Mehau.

In court papers filed yesterday, Jervis and Stender said the security contract with Hawaii Protective Association Ltd. was never presented to the board for discussion or approval before it went into effect about July 1996.

The nonbid security contract for Kamehameha School's entry gates, which sources place at $40,000 a month, is one of several deals and policy decisions Stender and Jervis said were kept from them by trustees Richard Wong, Henry Peters and Lokelani Lindsey. Besides the security contract, Jervis and Stender allege:

The estate made substantial payments for a collection of Hawaiiana known as the Van Dyke collection, without conducting an inventory or appraisal.

Trustee Lokelani Lindsey required Hawaiian language teachers at Kamehameha Schools to teach only "traditional" Hawaiian words, or words that were in existence during the era of the estate's founder, Bernice Pauahi Bishop.

Trustee Richard Wong abruptly canceled informal "talk story" meetings between trustees and Kamehameha Schools' students, alumni and faculty regarding school-related issues.

Circuit Judge Colleen Hirai has set a Jan. 9 hearing date for the motion by Jervis and Stender. An estate spokesman had no comment, and Lindsey could not be reached for a response.

"A trustee who fails to keep his co-trustees so informed breaches the trust," Stender and Jervis said. "All trustees, whether in the majority or the minority, must be given notice and an opportunity to be heard on all significant issues regarding the administration of the trust."

Randall Roth, local trust expert and University of Hawaii law professor, said it would be a breach of a trustee's fiduciary duties if he or she kept other trustees from taking part in estate policy decisions.

Even if the trustees represent a minority view in the board room, they must be able to voice their opinions on a trust's policies, said Roth, one of the five authors of the "Broken Trust" article that criticized trustees' management of the multibillion estate.

Stender, in an affidavit, said he's never seen a written contract with Hawaii Protective Association and that details of an agreement are not listed in any minutes of trustees' weekly board meetings.

Mehau told the Star-Bulletin yesterday he is disappointed with the criticism of his company's contract to handle the gate security. Mehau said he was approached last year by Kamehameha Schools President Michael Chun and longtime friend and school Vice President Rockne Freitas about conducting the security work for the entire Kapalama Heights campus.

But after Stender criticized the contract, Mehau said, he only got the security contract for Kamehameha Schools' main and mauka gates, which he called a "headache." Hawaii Protective guards have the thankless job of stopping and checking students, faculty and parents who come and go at the Kapalama Heights campus, he said. On-campus security is handled by Bishop Estate employees, he said.

Hawaii Protective Association previously had handled security for Bishop Estate's Hamakua lands, for about $31,000 a month during the estate's fiscal year 1996. That lapsed after the estate decided to lease its Hamakua properties.

Mehau said he sees no problem doing work with longtime friends such as Freitas or trustees Wong and Peters.

"Most of our security contracts are with friends who gave us business."

Kamehameha faculty wants
Bishop trustees ousted

They ask that the court
place the estate in receivership

By Debra Barayuga

KAMEHAMEHA Schools faculty members are calling for the removal of Bishop Estate trustees -- even as schools President Michael Chun went before trustees today to answer criticisms over his management.

Chun arrived for the closed-door meeting at Kawaiahao Plaza early this morning to give the board his response to trustee Lokelani Lindsey's recent report saying test scores have dropped steadily during his tenure. Lindsey's report also accused Chun and his wife Bina of unauthorized expenditures.

No details of their discussions were immediately available.

Meanwhile, in a five-page draft letter to Attorney General Margery Bronster and deputy attorney general Kevin Wakayama, Na Kumu o Kamehameha yesterday asked for the ouster of all five trustees. The group, which includes 210 of the schools' 300-plus faculty members, also asked that the court place the estate in receivership.

"When your investigation and any other relevant litigation involving the trustees is complete, trustees deemed to have consistently acted in the best interest of Pauahi's trust can be reinstated," the faculty wrote. "Others should be permanently removed."

Kekoa Paulsen, spokesman for Bishop Estate, said yesterday that trustees have not seen the letter and declined to comment.

In its letter, faculty members supported "Broken Trust II" -- an article by five educators, published Nov. 27 in the Star-Bulletin, calling for the removal of trustees Lindsey, chairman Richard Wong, Henry Peters and Gerard Jervis.

Recent developments, including faculty members reprimanded at the direction of trustees for speaking against trustee actions and criticism of student achievement by Lindsey, reflect the trustee majority's focus during the past several years on "empire building," rather than "trust keeping," faculty members wrote.

They refer to the trustee majority as Peters, Wong and Lindsey.

"Such misrepresentations do not paint Lindsey and her trustee supporters as saviors of the school but as self-serving individuals willing to sacrifice anything -- Kamehameha's standing as a quality school, the self-esteem of thousands of students, the confidence of the parents, the long-standing pride of alumni and the reputation of hundreds of teachers -- to salvage their public image," they said.

They accused the trustee majority of:

Making decisions that appear to push personal agendas rather than benefit the schools, such as spending estate resources on public relations campaigns, lobbying efforts and legal fees to defend trustee interests instead of estate interests.

Minimizing the value of staff expertise by disallowing contributions from front-line staff, ignoring faculty in developing the educational plan released in August and limiting their role in implementing it.

Responding negatively to any threat to their authority by ignoring all faculty requests to meet, refusing use of facilities for faculty meetings, canceling a school-wide prayer meeting and threatening Na Kumu leaders.

Responding to professional disagreements with individual staff by negatively impacting programs, staff resources and ultimately students.

Na Kumu disputed Lindsey's recent statements criticizing student achievement and programs at Kamehameha as deficient.

Her statements, described as full of half-truths, false impressions, faulty analysis and statistical manipulation, do "not honor our students' achievements and the support they received from Kamehameha and their families," Na Kumu said.

Lindsey has been advised by her attorneys not to respond until reviewing the letter, said Doug Carlson, her media adviser.

School administrators and faculty are working to address system-wide problems at Kamehameha Schools with the help of trustees Oswald Stender and Jervis, Na Kumu said. However, trustee management as evidenced by past experience may prevent it from happening, they said.

Faculty also fear the secondary schools' accreditation could be in jeopardy if the trustee majority blocks their efforts to implement 23 action plans created by faculty to prepare for the review.

Trustees had ignored a 1992 recommendation by the accreditation review committee calling for more faculty and staff involvement in decisions that affect them, faculty said. Trustees, in a follow-up report, told the committee that faculty and staff do not have a major role in decision making, but are informed of the rationale for changes.

In a related development, Lindsey yesterday joined others in asking a judge to make public a report on the estate and Kamehameha Schools by court-appointed fact finder Patrick Yim.

Hawaiiana collection
purchase draws fire

The former owner disputes accounts
of the transaction and sees 'a lot of lies'

By Ian Lind

KAMEHAMEHA Schools/Bishop Estate trustees Oswald Stender and Gerard Jervis have blasted the estate's 1996 purchase of a collection of Hawaiiana, charging that substantial payments were made before an inventory was done or an appraiser even hired.

But the collection's former owner, Robert E. Van Dyke, disputed their account and faulted news reporting about the collection.

"I didn't defraud them in any way," Van Dyke said in a telephone interview last night. "There's a lot of lies going around.

"They've robbed me blind. They have never paid me in full. There's always some excuse."

Van Dyke also alleged that estate employees took items that were not part of the deal, including paintings and calabashes belonging to his mother, and several valuable coins.

Van Dyke, 60, said he is in poor health and needs the funds owed by the estate to support himself and his 89-year old mother.

Van Dyke said the collection consisted of two parts. The first part was books and periodicals printed in or about Hawaii, including turn of the century laws, legislative records, and magazines. The second part consisted of photographs, motion picture films, and books by the noted photographer Ray Jerome Baker.

Van Dyke disputed Stender's claim that he told Van Dyke in 1995 that the estate was not interested in purchasing his collection.

Van Dyke said he met Stender at a dinner party, and later spent several hours reviewing his collection, including vintage movies of Kamehameha in which a young Stender appears.

According to Van Dyke, Stender expressed interest in the collection but said he could not get other trustees to support a purchase.

"I'm the odd man out," Van Dyke recalls Stender saying.

"They won't cooperate with anything I bring to the party."

Van Dyke said he was later approached by trustee Lokelani Lindsey, who then made a proposal to purchase the collection in July 1996.

A contract was signed in September 1996, and estate employees took the next nine months to process and move the collection, Van Dyke said.

Van Dyke said his collection was appraised five years ago for $600,000, but said the estate paid less than $250,000. Published reports previously put the sales price at $400,000.

Van Dyke was sued in 1995 after an earlier sale of the Baker materials fell through and he was accused of failing to return the buyer's $30,000 deposit, court records show. At that time, he was offering to sell the Baker collection for $250,000.

Bishop Estate has not provided an appraisal for review by the trustees, according to Stender and Jervis.

However, payments were made to Van Dyke in violation of an agreement by trustees that the purchase would not be completed until the appraisal and inventory were completed and a final purchase price approved, Stender and Jervis said.

Van Dyke was paid "in excess of one-third of maximum purchase price" even though the inventory had not been completed, Stender said in an affidavit.

The funds were paid before March 1997, and "an appraiser was not retained by the estate until eight months after the last unauthorized payment to Mr. Van Dyke," Jervis said.

Van Dyke acknowledged that some books sold to the estate had termite damage, but said this was typical of materials stored in Hawaii's climate.

Van Dyke said he contacted Attorney General Margery Bronster when her investigation was announced, and has "cooperated 100 percent."

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