Peters is booked,
His lawyer says he'll pleadBy Rick Daysog
not guilty to theft in connection
with the sale of a condo and
Hawaii Kai land
Bishop Estate trustee Henry Peters surrendered to authorities two days after an Oahu grand jury indicted him on a theft charge.
The 57-year-old Peters, the first trustee to face a criminal indictment in the estate's 114-year history, appeared yesterday afternoon at District Court downtown where he was booked and fingerprinted, and then he posted $5,000 bail.
Arraignment was set for Dec. 3.
Peters, accompanied by his attorney, Renee Yuen, had no comment yesterday as he left the court building. Yuen said her client will plead not guilty to the theft charge.
On Wednesday, the 16-member grand jury indicted Peters, a former speaker of the state House of Representatives, on one count of first-degree theft in connection with a Hawaii Kai land deal between the estate and a brother-in-law of Bishop Estate trustee Richard Wong, Jeffrey Stone.
The indictment said that in 1995, Peters helped a company affiliated with Stone, One Keahole Partners, acquire the fee interest beneath the 229-unit Kalele Kai complex in Hawaii Kai.
In return, Stone, through a company controlled by a business associate, Leighton Mau, bought Peters' Makiki condo at an inflated price.
If found guilty, Peters faces up to 10 years in prison.
Yuen has denied wrongdoing by her client and questioned the grand jury proceedings, which she has described as "one-sided." She believes the evidence will show that her client is not guilty of a crime.
Yuen also said that Attorney General Margery Bronster, whose 15-month investigation of the estate prompted the grand jury investigation, has a conflict of interest in serving as prosecutor and as parens patriae, or legal guardian, of the estate.
Besides Peters, the grand jury Wednesday indicted Stone and Mau for criminal conspiracy and for serving as accomplices to theft. The grand jury indicted Stone on additional charges of commercial bribery and perjury.
Yesterday, Stone and Mau also appeared at District Court for booking and fingerprinting. Stone, joined by his wife, Lorrie, and his attorney, John Edmunds, posted bail of $12,000. Mau posted $10,000 bail.
Stone had no comment, but Edmunds said his client plans to plead not guilty.
Stone's arraignment also is set for Dec. 3.
News of Peters' indictment prompted critics of the Bishop Estate trustees to renew calls for the removal of trustees.
Beadie Kanahele Dawson, attorney for the 3,500-member parent and alumni group Na Pua a Ke Ali'i Pauahi, said Peters' indictment harms the estate and she called it a "scar" on the estate-run Kamehameha Schools.
She believes that Bronster will step up removal proceedings against Peters now that he faces a criminal trial.
"It is not a conviction, but it's a clear indication that everybody should take a serious look at this," Dawson said. "You can't leave a trustee in place while we make our way through a criminal indictment."
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