THE FOCUS: Hilton Lui, a former
FBI agent, says he's uncovered improprieties
WHAT'S THERE: Lawyers won't
comment on findings
By Rick Daysog
Attorneys for Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey have hired an ex-FBI agent who is investigating potential wrongdoing by fellow trustees.
Hilton Lui, a local private investigator, said he has been working for Lindsey's lawyers, Keith Matsuoka and William Harrison, for the past several months to address charges raised against Lindsey.
During the course of his inquiry, Lui said he has uncovered possible wrongdoing by several trustees, whom he declined to identify. Lui also would not reveal the nature of the alleged improprieties, but said he and Lindsey's attorneys are interested in discovering the truth to the controversy.
"We've come up with some stuff," said Lui, president of Hilton & Associates Inc.
Matsuoka declined comment yesterday, and an estate spokesman also had no response.
Critics of the Bishop Estate said they are not surprised that Lindsey's legal team has hired a private investigator to sift through the ongoing controversy.
Toni Lee, president of Na Pua a Ke Ali'i Pauahi, which represents Kamehameha Schools students, alumni and parents, said Lindsey is fighting for her job as she has faced intense scrutiny during the past several months.
State Attorney General Margery Bronster is investigating allegations of financial mismanagement and breaches of fiduciary duties by individual Bishop Estate trustees. And the Internal Revenue Service is conducting an audit of the estimated $10 billion trust.
Trustees Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender also have petitioned the probate court to remove Lindsey from the estate's five-member board. That came after court-appointed fact-finder Patrick Yim said that Lindsey intimidated students and fostered an environment of favoritism at Kamehameha Schools.
Lindsey has denied the charges, saying the Yim report focused on rumors and innuendo and that Stender has waged a three-year campaign to discredit her. She also has said she's been unfairly targeted by the Na Pua group.
Attorneys for Jervis and Stender declined comment.
"It doesn't surprise me to hear that Lokelani is attempting to dig up dirt on other people," said Randall Roth, University of Hawaii law professor and co-author of the "Broken Trust" article that prompted the state's investigation of Bishop Estate.
"I suspect she would like other trustees to get some of the attention which she's been getting."
The Bishop Estate is a nonprofit charitable trust established in 1884 to educate children of Hawaiian ancestry. The estate, Hawaii's largest private landowner, operates the Kamehameha Schools.
Lui said Lindsey is paying for his services out of her own funds, not from estate coffers.
He said his hourly fee ranges between $100 and $200.
Lui, who said he has not met Lindsey, said that he's interviewing witnesses and checking out their allegations for Lindsey's lawyers.
He said he did not interview staffers at Kamehameha Schools.
Prior to forming Hilton & Associates in 1993, Lui said, he worked for the FBI for more than 20 years, specializing in investigations into illegal gambling and organized crime groups such as Japan's yakuza gangs.
In 1987, he was honored by the Hawaii State Law Enforcement Officials Association for his work with the FBI, according to a Star-Bulletin article.
In his private practice, Lui said he works with several local law firms, in addition to Harrison & Matsuoka.
In 1994, he teamed up with local attorney Mark Davis to represent Seattle newsman Scott Rensberger, who successfully sued Dole Food Co. and Microsoft Corp. billionaire William Gates.
Rensberger was unlawfully arrested while covering Gates' wedding on Lanai in 1994.
Hilton & Associates is not the only detective agency involved in the Bishop Estate controversy.
In December, the attorney general's office signed Goodenow Associates Inc., one of the state's largest private investigative firms, to a six-month contract to assist in its probe of the estate. That contract is capped at $300,000.
to make union decision
A national labor panel rulesBy Gregg K. Kakesako
that the faculty has the right to choose
Teachers at Kamehameha Schools have won a major victory and will be allowed to determine whether they can form a union at the Kapalama Heights campus.
The National Labor Relations Board in San Francisco yesterday ruled that Kamehameha Schools' teachers and librarians are not managers or supervisors, rejecting the arguments of the Bishop Estate Board of Trustees.
Dean Choy, the faculty's attorney, said an election will be held within the next 30 days.
"It's a vindication for what the teachers have been complaining about ... that they are removed from the decision-making process and they lack authority," he said.
"It was because they had no voice that led to the hearing."
The decision, Choy said, "is justification that the teachers had a good reason to file their petition."
On Dec. 23, teachers at the Kapalama Heights campus filed a petition with the labor board to hold an election. About 260 faculty members, or 70 percent of the teaching staff, signed the petition.
The teachers have complained about the estate trustees' management style.
Kekoa Paulsen, Bishop Estate spokesman, said the decision was "not unexpected." He said the matter is "under review" and no decision has been made whether to appeal the board's ruling in San Francisco to its national headquarters in Washington, D.C., during the next 30 days.
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