Friday, November 20, 1998

teacher tells of
Lindsey rant

The performing arts chief
testifies that Lindsey yelled and
swore at him in an April
1997 meeting

By Rick Daysog


As Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey glared at him, the popular head of Kamehameha Schools' performing arts department testified that Lindsey yelled and swore at him during a meeting last year.

Randie Fong, a 1978 Kamehameha Schools graduate and head of its performing arts department since 1985, yesterday said he met with Lindsey for nearly three hours on April 11, 1997, to raise concerns about her management style.

But early in the meeting, Lindsey stood up from her chair and screamed and swore at him for about five minutes, Fong said.

Lindsey 'unappreciated'?

"She said that 'who the 'F' does Dr. Chun think he is. Ever since I was a trustee no one has appreciated what I've done for the schools,' " Fong recalled Lindsey as saying. " 'Who the 'F' does he think he is?' "

Michael Chun is president of the estate-run Kamehameha Schools.

The courtroom drama was a highlight in the 2-week-old trial seeking Lindsey's removal from the Bishop Estate's boardroom. Fellow trustees Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender are asking the state courts to oust Lindsey, saying she breached her fiduciary duties and is unfit to serve on the 114-year-old estate's five-member board.

Lindsey, a Bishop Estate trustee since 1993, had served as lead trustee of educational programs until last year, when she stepped down amid controversy surrounding her management of the Kapalama Heights campus.

The nonjury trial before Circuit Judge Bambi Weil continues this afternoon.

As Fong testified yesterday about their April 11 meeting, Lindsey appeared to be mouthing words disagreeing with his account.

Michael Green, Lindsey's attorney, declined comment on the specifics of Fong's testimony but said he looks forward to cross-examining him next week.

In the past, Green has argued that Lindsey tried to improve the educational programs at Kamehameha Schools for native Hawaiian children, only to run into a barrage of criticism by a "status quo" that didn't want to see change.

Tried to better the school

"We've always maintained that she's always tried to better the programs," Green said yesterday.

Yesterday's hearing centered on allegations that Lindsey micromanaged Kamehameha Schools, intimidated faculty members and hurt school morale.

During his testimony, Fong said the management problems began in 1994 after Lindsey came aboard. He said that arbitrary directives from the board room made staffers feel stupid and incompetent.

One of the directives sent to teachers prohibited the use of Hawaiianized English words, eliminating some word usage that may have been in existence for many years, he said.

School pride 'plummeted'

Another required faculty members to rush the implementation of a school curriculum program, leading to a "tremendous amount of confusion."

"I cannot even think of words to describe the condition of . . . our institutional esteem," Fong said. "It just plummeted."

The hearing also included testimony from Sandy Behenna, assistant principal of Kamehameha Secondary Schools.

Behenna said students were devastated last December when Lindsey released her educational report, which criticized students' academic performance and faulted Chun.

Jervis and Stender have argued that the report is inaccurate and was released by Lindsey to deflect blame from her. Lindsey's lawyers have argued that she was given board permission to tell her story.

Behenna said that some of the data contained in the report appeared to be inaccurate.

"As I read it, I could not see any purpose than to hurt the school and to hurt the students," Behenna said. "We had no idea that this was going to happen."

Master asks Probate
Court for panel on
trustees ouster

The three administrators
would respond to the list of
removal proceedings

By Rick Daysog


Saying that trustees face a conflict of interest, Bishop Estate's court-appointed master today called for the appointment of a panel to address the various removal proceedings against the trustees.

In court papers filed this morning, special master Colbert Matsumoto asked the state Probate Court to name a panel of three administrators to respond to Attorney General Margery Bronster's petition to permanently remove at least three Bishop Estate trustees and another request to temporarily remove four.

The panel also would address a petition by trustees Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender to remove fellow trustee Lokelani Lindsey over alleged breaches of fiduciary duty.

Bronster is seeking the permanent ouster of trustees Lindsey, Henry Peters and Richard Wong on grounds that they engaged in a pattern of self-dealing and mismanaged the estate's assets.

She also is seeking to temporarily remove those three trustees plus Jervis, saying they continue to harm the estate.

An estate spokesman could not be reached for immediate comment this morning.

Today's action comes as the attorney general's office yesterday filed court papers opposing Bishop Estate's recent decision to transfer billions of dollars of trust assets into a separate, nonprofit corporation known as Kamehameha Activities Association.

The AG's office said the transfer, which involves the estate's holdings in Goldman Sachs Group, Columbia/HCA and WCI Limited Partnership places the assets outside federal and state oversight.

The estate's investment in Goldman Sachs alone is worth between $1 billion and $3 billion, and contributes more than $100 million in income to the estate each year.

KAA -- founded in 1975 to provide scholarships, loans and grants to Kamehameha Schools students and other students of native Hawaiian ancestry -- is controlled by the estate's trustees but is not owned by the Bishop Estate.

According to the state, the transfer takes away supervision from the Internal Revenue Service, the attorney general's office and the probate court and allows trustees to accumulate income in KAA at the expense of the trust's beneficiaries.

It also eliminates public disclosure requirements spelled out in the will of estate founder Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the attorney general's office said.

Estate attorney Nathan Aipa disagreed, saying the investments will remain under the supervision of the probate court.

A hearing on the attorney general's opposition to the restructuring was set for Dec. 18 in probate court.

The transfer is part of a major restructuring of the estate's operations, which was conducted this summer.

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