Wednesday, November 18, 1998

Stender goes
to bat against
Jervis ouster

His court filing calls it a 'disservice'
and says such action could harm
Kamehameha Schools

By Rick Daysog


Bishop Estate trustee Oswald Stender is objecting to Attorney General Margery Bronster's request to temporarily remove fellow trustee Gerard Jervis, saying Jervis has taken "courageous" action against harm to the multibillion-dollar trust.

In court papers to be filed this morning, Stender said Jervis has urged the estate to increase spending on the estate-run Kamehameha Schools, moved to resolve conflicts of interest among trustees, and opposed the intimidation of Kamehameha Schools faculty and students by majority trustees Richard Wong, Henry Peters and Lokelani Lindsey.

Last Friday, Bronster told Probate Judge Colleen Hirai that she is seeking the temporary removal of Wong, Peters, Lindsey and Jervis because of alleged breaches cited in a scathing report on the estate's 1994-1996 operations by court-appointed master Colbert Matsumoto.

Bronster, based on Matsumoto's report, charged that trustees violated the will of the estate's founder, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, by withholding about $350 million in income that should have been spent on Kamehameha Schools. The majority trustees have opposed Bronster's interim removal request and have called for a hearing.

Jervis alleged that the attorney general's office offered him a back-room deal in which Bronster would not seek his temporary removal if he would support the move against the three majority trustees. The attorney general's office has denied offering Jervis a deal.

Yesterday, Stender said Jervis's tenure as trustee coincided with about a half of the period covered by the Matsumoto report and that many of the criticisms raised in the study shouldn't apply to Jervis.

"It would be a disservice and may be harmful to Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate for trustee Jervis to be removed," Stender said.

Cynthia Quinn, special assistant to Bronster, said the state is seeking the temporary removal of the four trustees to address the ongoing harm to the trust that was documented in the master's report.

Jervis was included, Quinn said, because "he's just failed to distinguish himself in how he is not part of the problem of the ongoing harm to the schools."

In his court papers, Stender noted that Jervis put a halt to the interrogation of Kamehameha Schools faculty over the release of an accreditation report by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges that faulted trustees' management of the campus.

Stender also noted that he and Jervis are petitioning the state courts to remove Lindsey from the estate's board on charges that she was unfit to serve and has caused damage to Kamehameha Schools.

That case is now in trial before Circuit Judge Bambi Weil.

Yesterday, Weil heard testimony from estate employee Dennis Walsh, who worked for Lindsey when she was superintendent of the Maui school district.

Walsh, now a special projects officer for the estate, said he helped draft the controversial "Lindsey report," which criticized students' performance at Kamehameha Schools.

Stender and Jervis have charged that the report was inaccurate and that its release last year was intended to deflect criticism from Lindsey at the expense of students. Lindsey has denied the charge.

Walsh said he wrote much of the report based on handwritten notes by Lindsey. But under questioning from Stender's attorney, Crystal Rose, Walsh said he did not have a background in evaluating students' test scores or in conducting educational audits.

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