By Star-Bulletin Staff

Saturday, June 13, 1998

Judge orders halt to inquiry
of Kamehameha faculty

Bishop Estate's questioning at Kamehameha
Schools is put on hold for 10 days

By Rick Daysog


Saying the Kamehameha Schools would suffer little harm from a delay, a state judge has put a temporary halt to the questioning of school employees by Bishop Estate lawyers.

Circuit Judge Kevin Chang Friday approved a 10-day temporary restraining order prohibiting the estate from interviewing employees about the alleged leak of an accreditation report critical of trustees.

Bishop Estate trustees Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender, who sought the order, said yesterday that the estate's majority trustees -- Richard Wong, Henry Peters and Lokelani Lindsey -- are trying to intimidate staffers and will end up harming the schools.

"The manner in which they are going about this is very heavy-handed," Stender said. "It's never been done in the estate or any organization that I'm aware of."

Bishop Estate attorney William McCorriston, whose firm is conducting the inquiry, said the estate is following standard business practices. As an employer, he said, the estate has the right to conduct an investigation into an unauthorized disclosure of estate information.

The accreditation report, conducted by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, faulted Bishop Estate's trustees for "dysfunctional management" and a "perverse application of top-down decision making" at Kamehameha Schools.

The association recently gave Kamehameha Schools a three-year accreditation instead of the six that they had sought.

Before yesterday's ruling, attorneys from the McCorriston firm interviewed three school employees and had scheduled another three for questioning.

Jervis and Stender faulted the method of the inquiry, rather than the inquiry itself. Staffers were asked to testify under oath and before court reporters but weren't allowed to have an attorney present, they said.

Yuklin Aluli, attorney for two of the women who were called in for interviews, said her clients were afraid of the consequences of the questioning.

Aluli said the proposed "no rules" interviews were oppressive to her clients and were inappropriate for an educational setting.

She said the estate's inquiry was not limited to the release of the accreditation report, adding further to the hostile atmosphere.

Isle-born educator hired to lead state's public schools

Hawaii's next school superintendent believes his role is to lead by example, to involve all constituencies in helping set direction for public schools with a lot less regulating.

And Paul LeMahieu is looking forward to doing just that.

LeMahieu, 46 -- a researcher, educational consultant and nationally respected authority on school reform, assessment and accountability -- was the state Board of Education's unanimous choice for the superintendent's position after it deliberated Friday night for 1-1/2 hours.

He was among four finalists interviewed by the board yesterday. He succeeds outgoing Superintendent Herman Aizawa, who steps down at the end of the month.

LeMahieu said he was "humbled and grateful" for the board's vote of confidence and is excited about the possibilities for the school system.

A leader is supposed to guide, not prescribe what teachers must do, he said.

"The teachers, the extra effort they give us every single day, every single year -- you can't legislate that, you can't regulate that and we should stop trying," he said.

Teachers, principals, parents and the private sector were excluded from the selection process but flooded the board with letters, telephone calls and e-mail praising selection and pledging their support.

Confidence is high for Honolulu police, poll finds

The Honolulu Police Department generally gets strong backing in a recent survey but receives less support over officers this year shooting four suspects, two of whom were killed.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin/NBC Hawaii News 8 poll showed that 83 percent of people questioned rated the department fair to excellent. Only 4 percent rated it poor.

"The survey shows that the majority of the people interviewed have confidence in their police department," said Deputy Chief Bill Clark. "With the continued support of the community, we can continue to improve the quality of life in Honolulu."

Some 35 percent of the respondents felt the four shootings were all justified, and about 29 percent said the shootings were justified most of the time.

Only 3 percent said the shootings were never justified, and 8 percent were undecided.

"I really believe their training is intensive and good enough to make the right decision in the field," said Moanalua resident Colin Chatani, who rated the department as excellent. "The officers can't just stand there and get shot or stabbed."

Gun at Puna man's side, daughter says

HILO -- The 16-year-old daughter of a man shot dead by a police officer Wednesday says her father had his gun at his side and was not threatening the officer when he was shot.

Sharina Pavao said the only thing she saw her father, Jon W. Pavao, do immediately before he was shot was to give the officer a "smirk smile."

But in a news conference Friday, Capt. Morton Carter said the officer fired when Pavao, 38, lowered the gun from his head in a forward motion and pointed it at the officer. Seconds earlier, Pavao had threatened to kill himself, Carter said.

Two other witnesses -- Pavao's girlfriend, Linda Sadino, and her 14-year-old daughter -- said at the scene that Pavao lowered his gun in the direction of the officer. They later refused to be reinterviewed, he said.

Sharina also described the gun as pointing at the officer, but she later gave an "inconsistent statement," he said.

An investigation showed that Pavao's .32-caliber revolver was not loaded.

Police are testing the weapon to determine the accuracy of a statement by Pavao's girlfriend that the gun was broken and could not be fired.

Carter said officers are trained to shoot to kill if it appears their own life or another person's life is in danger.

Pastor, lawyer urge release of Ewa Villages suspect

Michael Kahapea has found God and "thrown himself into the life of the church," says the Rev. Harvey Ching of the Kaneohe Congregational Church.

But prosecutors and police detectives say Kahapea has been a high-stakes Las Vegas gambler who masterminded the Ewa Villages relocation scam bilking the city of more than $5 million to cover his losses.

Those are the arguments Circuit Judge Victoria Marks will weigh Monday, when she rules whether to waive bail of $460,000 and grant Kahapea supervised release.

The decision was to have been made Friday but was postponed to allow police Detective Daniel Hanagami, who was unavailable, to testify against the release.

Deputy Prosecutor Christopher Young has been painting Kahapea as a flight risk and danger to the community.

Kahapea's ex-wife lives in Las Vegas, and he has large lines of credit in Vegas hotels and holds several business interests there with co-defendant Russell Williams, Young said.

Renee Yuen, Kahapea's attorney, said her client has had more than seven months to flee the island but has not done so. Kahapea's Las Vegas business interests are not active and his ex-wife is remarried, Yuen said.

Prison term doubled for baseball-bat killing

Sean Carvalho Friday was sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing his grandmother with an aluminum baseball bat in September 1995.

Carvalho accepted the sentence from Circuit Judge Richard Perkins calmly, after apologizing to family and friends of the victim.

The 21-year-old man was convicted of manslaughter for hitting Aminia "Mini" Santiago on the head with the bat in her Punchbowl Homes apartment.

The term for manslaughter at the time was 10 years, but Deputy Prosecutor Randy Oyama asked Perkins to double the term to conform with current law.

Defense attorney Willie Domingo asked for a 10-year term.

The parole board will determine how many of the 20 years Carvalho must serve.

Oahu's big waves keep lifeguards on the move

High surf played havoc with boaters and surfers Friday as city lifeguards reported more than 50 rescues.

The busy day started in Waikiki at midmorning when a big wave pounded a four-man canoe at the "Castles" surf site, injuring one paddler.

At 1 p.m., a 30-foot boat and inflatable craft both ran into trouble trying to get out of the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, said Jim Howe of the city Water Safety Division.

A woman passenger on the boat was treated for injuries. The boat eventually was towed by the Coast Guard to Keehi.

"We get surf like this once every five years," said Howe, who reported 38 rescues in Waikiki, 10 along the Leeward Coast and four in Windward Oahu.

See expanded coverage in Saturday's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
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