Wednesday, December 2, 1998

Stone’s lawyer
wants Peters case
thrown out

He says Bronster does not have
authority to prosecute

By Rick Daysog


An attorney for developer Jeffrey Stone is asking a Circuit Court judge to throw out a grand jury indictment alleging that Stone gave a kickback to Bishop Estate trustee Henry Peters.

In court papers filed yesterday, Stone's lawyer, John Edmunds, said Attorney General Margery Bronster, who initiated the grand jury investigation as part of her yearlong investigation of the Bishop Estate, does not have the authority to prosecute the criminal case.

Edmunds also is seeking to disqualify the attorney general's office on the ground that Bronster faces a conflict of interest between her role as prosecutor and her duties as parens patriae, or legal guardian, of the Bishop Estate.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general's office declined comment, saying she has not seen the motion.

A hearing is scheduled this afternoon before Circuit Judge Michael Town.Stone, a brother-in-law of Bishop Estate trustee Richard Wong, and Peters are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow morning. Both plan to plead not guilty.

Last Wednesday, an Oahu grand jury voted to indict Stone on commercial bribery, conspiracy and perjury charges. The grand jury also indicted Stone as an accomplice to theft.

The 16-member panel indicted Peters for first-degree theft charges.

The allegations involve a Hawaii Kai land deal between the Bishop Estate and a company affiliated with Stone, One Keahole Partners. According to the indictment, One Keahole Partners in 1995 acquired the fee interest to the 229-unit complex, known as Kalele Kai, from the estate for about $21 million.

As part of the deal, Stone, through a firm headed by one of his business partners, bought Peters' Makiki condo at an inflated price, the indictment said.

In his court pleadings, Edmunds cited a 1981 state Supreme Court opinion, which he believes limits the attorney general's powers to convene a grand jury and bring criminal indictments.

He argued that the city prosecutor's office has the primary jurisdiction on such criminal matters and that the attorney general's office can only become involved when the prosecutor's office is derelict in its duties or faces a conflict of interest.

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