Thursday, September 24, 1998

AG’s office scorns Peters’
attempt to oust Bronster

By Rick Daysog


The attorney general's office has urged Probate Court to dismiss Bishop Estate trustee Henry Peters' petition to disqualify Attorney General Margery Bronster as legal guardian of the estate, describing Peters' charges as "incoherent" and "erroneous."

Deputy Attorney General Hugh Jones called Peters' petition -- which alleged that Bronster's investigation of the estate's trustees is in conflict with her duties as parens patriae of the estate -- a "desperate" move by a trustee facing removal for self-dealing and breach of duties.

"Peters' petition is truly remarkable in that it cites no legal authorities, alleges facts on 'information and belief' (because investigation would dispel them), and recites no relevant dates (because doing so would reveal the untimeliness of the petition)," the state said in papers filed yesterday.

"The feebleness and unreliability of Peters' unsubstantiated allegations are matched by the total lack of any legal authority in his petition to support the relief requested."

Renee Yuen, Peters' attorney, said the attorney general's office hasn't addressed many of the questions raised by Peters.

In seeking Bronster's removal as parens patriae, Peters argued that Bronster was pursuing the investigation to boost the election efforts of Gov. Ben Cayetano and to divert the public's attention from the sluggish isle economy.

Yuen said that Bronster has hurt the trust by "intimidating" the state Supreme Court to step away from selecting Bishop Estate trustees, ending a 113-year-old practice established by the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.

"She has shown an inability to be fair and has disregarded the role of parens patriae in carrying out the role of the governor's agenda," said Yuen.

Peters' charges came days before Bronster asked the probate court to remove the estate's majority trustees, saying they benefited at the expense of the trust and mismanaged the estate-run Kamehameha Schools.

Two trustees -- Peters and Richard Wong -- received kickbacks from Wong's brother-in-law, Jeffrey Stone, while trust employees participated in an illegal campaign financing scheme, Bronster also alleged.

The trustees have denied wrongdoing, saying they would fight the removal proceedings. Stone denied offering kickbacks.

A hearing on Peters' petition is set for Oct. 23.

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