We see the petition to removeBy Lori Tighe
trustee Lokelani Lindsey
as a good first step
Bishop Estate trustees not only have the right to remove one of their own, "it's their legal duty," say the five authors of the "Broken Trust" essay criticizing actions of some trustees.
"We see the petition to remove trustee Lokelani Lindsey as a good first step," said Randall Roth, a Broken Trust author.
"We think some people have overreacted to the petition and see it as the sum total of what's going to be done," said Roth, a University of Hawaii law professor. "The idea that Lokelani Lindsey is being used as a scapegoat is a reflection of that misperception."
Trustees have a legal duty to correct what they perceive as another trustee's breach of trust, according to a statement issued to the Star-Bulletin by Roth and the other "Broken Trust" authors yesterday.
"We think the case for removal of (Henry) Peters and (Richard S.H.) Wong is nearly as strong, and are disappointed that (Oswald) Stender and (Gerard) Jervis didn't ask for their removal as well," the statement read. "Our hope is that they see the removal of Lindsey as but the first step on a longer journey."
Stender and Jervis, who filed the petition to remove Lindsey, "are themselves not home free," said the authors.
"We feel much aloha for Stender and consider him a hero of sorts for what he has done, but these five trustees will be too distracted and at odds with one another to function effectively on behalf of the trust," the authors said.
The authors' statement came as a counterpoint to recent comments made by Gov. Ben Cayetano, who labeled the petition unfortunate.
"People are getting confused," said Samuel King, a Broken Trust author and senior U.S. District Court Judge. "We need to keep our eye on the ball."
The Broken Trust authors also disagree with Cayetano's publicly expressed opposition to the attorney general's role in trustee selection.
State Supreme Court justices have said they will no longer select estate trustees.
"The governor came out with some statements about the attorney general's role that made it even more confusing," King said.
The attorney general legally is the only person with the authority and responsibility to represent the public's best interests, according to the Broken Trust authors' statement.
"We think it's essential the attorney general be involved in developing criteria to select the Bishop Estate trustees," Roth said. "Somebody has to be ultimately responsible. It's a major chore. We don't think anyone is in a better position to do that than the attorney general."
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