sought in court
Fellow Bishop trustees JervisBy Rick Daysog
and Stender petition to remove her,
saying she is unfit to serve
Weeks of verbal sparring between Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate trustees entered a new arena after trustees Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender petitioned the Circuit Court to remove fellow trustee Lokelani Lindsey.
In what may result in a prolonged legal battle, Stender and Jervis yesterday followed through on their threat to seek Lindsey's ouster, saying she was unfit to serve, had breached her fiduciary duties and had lost the confidence of faculty and students.
"Trustee Lindsey must be removed because her continuing to act as trustee would be detrimental to the accomplished purpose of the trust," Jervis and Stender said.
"She is unable or unwilling to acknowledge any wrongdoing on her part."
Lindsey fought back, calling the allegations by Jervis and Stender baseless. Lindsey, who refused to step down, accused Stender of masterminding a three-year campaign to discredit her.
She said many of Stender's charges were picked up by the recent report by court-appointed fact-finder Patrick Yim, which was highly critical of Lindsey's management of Kamehameha Schools.
Lindsey's attorney, William Harrison, added that his client welcomed the petition by Jervis and Stender since it puts the dispute in a court of law. He prefers that to answering allegations in the media, which he likened to "shadowboxing with ghosts."
"Stender and Jervis saw an opening when the fact-finder's report was released but, as I've pointed out, that report merely repeated the same allegations, rumors and innuendo that Stender planted in the first place," Lindsey said.
The call for Lindsey's removal is the latest in the continuing controversy surrounding the multibillion-dollar Bishop Estate. Besides the Yim report, Attorney General Margery Bronster has opened an investigation into allegations of trustees' mismanagement, and the Internal Revenue Service is conducting an audit.
One group representing students, alumni and parents believes that the Stender-Jervis petition doesn't go far enough.
"We have said from day one that all of them should step down," said Toni Lee, president of Na Pua a Ke Ali'i Pauahi.
Beadie Dawson, Na Pua's attorney, added that the dispute among the three trustees shows that the estate's board is so fractured that it is affecting operations of the charitable trust. Na Pua has urged Circuit Judge Colleen Hirai, who oversees probate matters, to appoint a receiver or a panel of receivers to oversee the estate's daily operations.
"If they have the estate beneficiaries in mind, the trustees cannot do anything but step down," said Dawson.
In calling for Lindsey's removal, Jervis and Stender relied on the Yim report, which accused Lindsey of managing "by intimidation" and fostering a climate of favoritism at the schools.
The trustees also cited Lindsey's use of Bishop Estate employees to obtain city permits and variances for her Punaluu home and her involvement in the estate's acquisition of Robert Van Dyke's collection of Hawaiian-related magazines, periodicals, photos and other materials.
Beyond the Yim report, Jervis and Stender accused Lindsey of launching a public relations offensive to protect her own interests and bolster her reputation at the expense of the schools and the trust.
Although she announced she was giving up her role as lead trustee over the schools in August, Lindsey has continued to interfere with the schools and on Dec. 5 released an "education report," which was misleading and inflicted harm on the students, teachers and administrators, the petition said.
A hearing on the petition has been set for Feb. 27 before Circuit Judge Virginia Lea Crandall.
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