Probate Court could
set selection rules

She thinks the state Supreme Court
made the right decision on the issue
of choosing Bishop Estate trustees

By Rick Daysog

The state Probate Court could establish the means of selecting future trustees of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, according to state Attorney General Margery Bronster.

Bronster said yesterday that she thought the state Supreme Court made the right decision this weekend when it decided to end its century-old practice of selecting trustees of the multibillion-dollar charitable trust.

Bronster believes the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, which established the estate 113 years ago, should be upheld as much as possible. But she believes the court inevitably would run into conflicts.

"I think the Supreme Court acted appropriately," she said. "I think that it is difficult, if not impossible, for them to be involved in the process without running into problems with their duties."

Bronster said the probate court probably won't select future trustees but could set up a method for selecting future board members.

She said her office plans to play a role in establishing guidelines for the selection process.

Native Hawaiian community leaders also said they plan to offer input on the selection process. Both the estate and native Hawaiian groups had urged the Supreme Court to continuing selecting trustees, as set forth in Bishop's will.

Bronster also said her investigation into charges of trustee mismanagement is progressing despite some resistance from the estate.

She said that the estate is contesting a subpoena for a list of documents requested by the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS has been conducting an audit of the trust.

The estate has said that it was cooperating with the state investigation but has been reluctant to divulge confidential business information.

Bronster said the investigation is being conducted under broad guidelines, meaning that it is examining potential violations of civil, administrative as well as criminal law.

"I think that more has happened in the last six months than has in the last 10 years," she said.

Kamehameha faculty
looks to form union

Na Kumu o Kamehameha, representing members of the Kamehameha Schools faculty, is seeking to organize a union.

The group has petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to conduct an election for the certification of a faculty union.

In a news release issued yesterday, the group says the current employment handbook contains "numerous, vague work rules which are unpredictably enforced."

"The most onerous of these is the curtailment of our basic rights to freedom of speech," the group said.

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