Tuesday, November 24, 1998

petitions separate,
judge rules

Bronster cannot band together
with trustees Stender
and Jervis

By Rick Daysog


Circuit Judge Kevin Chang has denied a request by Attorney General Margery Bronster to consolidate two removal petitions against Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey, a ruling that could have a significant impact on the Bishop Estate controversy.

Bronster has requested that Lindsey, Henry Peters and Richard Wong be permanently removed as Bishop Estate trustees. In a separate request, trustees Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender have asked that Lindsey be removed.

Bronster wanted the court to combine the two petitions. Chang ruled yesterday that Bronster's request to consolidate was untimely and would cause confusion.

The decision makes it virtually impossible for Bronster to seek Lindsey's removal on allegations raised and litigated in the current trial over Jervis and Stender's removal petition.

It also could make it very difficult for Bronster to remove Lindsey for allegations not raised in the Jervis and Stender petition, attorneys for trustees have argued.

Bronster has said Lindsey, Wong and Peters engaged in a widespread pattern of self-dealing and mismanagement. That case is not expected to go to trial for at least a year.

Jervis and Stender have said Lindsey breached her fiduciary duties and mismanaged the estate-run Kamehameha Schools. They say she is unfit to serve on the trust's five-member board. That trial, before Circuit Judge Bambi Weil, is now in its second week.

The issue of consolidation has no direct impact on Bronster's permanent removal petition against Peters and Wong.

Michael Green, Lindsey's attorney, has called Bronster's late request for trial consolidation a major blunder. Chang's decision would prohibit the state from seeking various penalties against Lindsey that are spelled out in the state's removal petition, attorneys for Lindsey have also argued.

Cynthia Quinn, special assistant to Bronster, disagreed. She said that the state Probate Court has wide discretion on trust matters and a trustee's removal can be brought any time that there is a breach of fiduciary duty.

"It doesn't insulate her from any further action," Quinn said.

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