Thursday, February 19, 1998

Oahu alums back Lindsey ouster

A letter asking her
removal will be sent to the
probate court

By Rick Daysog

The Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association's Oahu chapter voted last night to support a court action seeking the ouster of Lokelani Lindsey as Bishop Estate trustee.

In a four-hour meeting at Kamehameha Schools' Kapalama Heights campus, the group voted 81-10 to support a probate court petition filed by Bishop Estate trustees Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender seeking Lindsey's removal, said Roy Benham, the association's Oahu region president.

Members of the Oahu alumni group, the largest of the association's 13 regional chapters, also supported Jervis and Stender's petition to appoint a special administrator for Bishop Estate to address the state attorney general's investigation into allegations of mismanagement by the estate's trustees.

They also voted 81-14 in favor of last month's statement by the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association's board of presidents calling for Lindsey to resign.

Benham said the Oahu region plans to draft a letter to the probate court voicing its support for the petition seeking Lindsey's removal.

"It's a step that needed to be taken," Benham said of last night's meeting. "We're encouraged."

That view wasn't shared by all at last night's meeting.

Valerie Mendes, a business executive and a 1962 graduate, said she thought the proceedings were unfairly skewed against some of the trustees and that the vote didn't reflect the view of the majority of alumni members who weren't present last night.

"It was like a preordained kangaroo court, sort of like a lynch mob," said Mendes, who voted against the proposals.

But Beadie Kanahele Dawson, attorney for Na Pua a Ke Alii Pauahi, which represents Kamehameha Schools students, parents and staffers, called the vote a watershed event.

In the past, alumni have been among the trustees' most loyal supporters when the estate faced unfavorable legislative actions or outside criticism.

"I think this represents a remarkable advance for the alumni," Dawson said.

Last night's meeting came after Jervis and Stender in December filed court papers seeking Lindsey's removal. They argued that her actions hurt the estate and that she was unfit to serve. The two trustees' petition was in part based on conclusions by court-appointed fact finder Patrick Yim, who said that Lindsey fostered "an environment of favoritism" and managed by intimidation as lead trustee of the estate's educational programs.

A Bishop Estate spokesman had no response this morning, and a spokesman for Lindsey also had no comment.

In the past, Lindsey faulted the Yim report as biased, and her spokesman criticized Jervis and Stender for orchestrating votes against her during recent alumni association meetings on the neighbor islands.

The alumni association's Maui, Big Island and Molokai chapters also have voted in support of the petition seeking Lindsey's removal.

Last night's meeting was attended by all five trustees, who answered questions from alumni members about the recent turmoil at the estate.

Trustees Henry Peters and Richard Wong said they didn't agree with the vote.

And Lindsey said that the alumni group hasn't heard her side of the story, according to Benham.

Bishop Estate sues city, says city
isn't abiding by lease-to-fee law

By Rick Daysog

Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate has sued the city over plans to condemn the Kuapa Isle and Kahala Beach leasehold condominium complexes.

The estate said in a Circuit Court suit yesterday that the city Housing and Community Development Department did not follow rules established by the 1991 mandatory lease-to-fee conversion law.

The law allows the city to force landowners like Bishop Estate to sell their property beneath condominiums at market prices.

To qualify, lessees must be owner-occupants who own no other property.

The estate said many of the residents at the 234-unit Kuapa Isle project and the 196-unit Kahala Beach complex who applied for conversion aren't owner-occupants and shouldn't be eligible.

"We've been informing the city Housing and Community Development Department of this and we repeatedly have been ignored by them," said Bishop Estate spokesman Kekoa Paulsen. "Now we are seeking to get their attention in a formal manner."

Bishop Estate, the state's largest private landowner, was established to educate children of Hawaiian ancestry.

Paulsen noted the estate is challenging the mandatory conversion law in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

City Councilman John Henry Felix, the law's prime mover, said he's confident the law will be upheld in court and that the money the estate spends on this litigation could be put to better use educating local children.

"I wish they would channel their energies and resources in more productive ways," Felix said.

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