Friday, December 11, 1998

Freitas disagrees with
Lindsey report

He says Lindsey's findings
offered only a 'snapshot'
of the performance of
Kamehameha students

By Rick Daysog


second-highest-ranking official at Kamehameha Schools says he disagreed with key findings of a 1997 report by Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey that criticized students' test scores and their reading skills.

In testimony before Circuit Judge Bambi Weil yesterday, Rockne Freitas, a Kamehameha Schools vice president since 1995, said the Lindsey report offered a "snapshot" of students' scores but did not provide a study of students' scores as they progressed from kindergarten through the 12th grade.

Some educators believe that such a study of test scores provides a more accurate picture of student's academic performance.

The so-called Lindsey report, released to the media last December, alleged that the longer that students stayed at the estate-run Kamehameha Schools, the worse they performed.

The study also said that more than half of Kamehameha Schools' 1997 graduating class did not score well enough on the Scholastic Aptitude Test to meet minimum entrance standards at the University of Hawaii and that more than 30 students in the 1997 class could barely read at 12th-grade levels.

Bishop Estate trustees Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender are seeking the removal of Lindsey from the estate's five-member board on the grounds that she mismanaged the schools, abused her powers and is unfit to serve.

They believe that Lindsey used flawed data in her education report to deflect criticism of her management of Kamehameha Schools.

Lindsey's lawyers, Michael Green and David Gierlach, who were scheduled to cross-examine Freitas this afternoon, have argued that Lindsey has been a victim of a "status quo" at Kamehameha Schools that has resisted her attempts to improve the school's educational programs.

They portray her as a well-intentioned reformer who sought to improve the quality of education for native Hawaiian children.

Green has argued that a recent financial and educational audit of the Kamehameha Schools by Peterson Consulting L.L.C. supports Lindsey's analysis of the schools' academic record.

The Peterson report, which was completed in July, blamed much of the controversy on the school's president, Michael Chun, who they said was an ineffective leader who lacked an appropriate educational background to run the institution.

Yesterday, Freitas testified that he disagreed with the criticism of Kamehameha Schools students' SAT scores in the Lindsey report.

He noted that many students who took the SAT test in the spring of 1997 did not take the test seriously.

Freitas said students' scores improved when they were asked to take the test again in the following November.

At the time, school administrators had warned some students that low scores could affect the classes that they would be able to take in the following semester.

Freitas also testified about a trip he took with Lindsey and her husband to the 1997 Super Bowl in New Orleans.

Freitas, whose airfare to New Orleans was paid for by Lindsey, said he served as a business consultant to Lindsey.

There, they met with Kai Patterson, founder of New Jersey-based KDP Technologies L.L.C., and California investment adviser and former KDP director Benjamin Bush.

The Star-Bulletin reported in June that the estate invested about $1.2 million in KDP but stands to lose much of that investment.

The estate cut off the company last year after Bush was convicted of federal fraud charges in an unrelated venture.

Lindsey, who was in charge of the estate's investment in KDP until recently, was a co-investor with Bush in a Las Vegas gold bullion scheme in which Lindsey said she lost $400,000 of her own money.

Jervis and Stender charge that Lindsey hid her business relationship with Bush from the Bishop Estate board members when she urged the estate to put money in KDP, in violation of her fiduciary duty.

Yesterday, Freitas said Lindsey did not disclose her past business dealings with Bush nor did they have any discussions about Bush's background.

Lindsey's attorneys have denied any wrongdoing relating to KDP.

State takes computers
once used by Tom

By Rick Daysog


State investigators have seized two computers once used by former state Rep. Terrance Tom.

A deputy with the state attorney general's office last Thursday asked newly elected Rep. Iris Catalani if they could examine records left on the computers at Tom's former office at the state Capitol.

Catalani (D, Kaneohe), who took over Tom's office at the Capitol last month, said the attorney general's office told her the computers were the subject of an investigation.

Catalani, who voluntarily complied with the request, said the attorney general's office did not disclose the subject of its investigation.

She said the state did not serve her with a subpoena.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general's office declined comment.

Tom, meanwhile, said he was puzzled by the request. The former legislator, who is legally blind, said he did not use computers because they are not equipped for Braille.

The computers were used largely by staffers for drafting legislation and committee reports, he said.

"I am totally dumbfounded about what they were looking for and why," said Tom, who unsuccessfully ran for the state Senate earlier this year.

A former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Tom had come under the scrutiny of Attorney General Margery Bronster in her 15-month investigation into alleged breaches of trust and financial mismanagement by Bishop Estate's trustees.

In a Sept. 10 petition seeking the permanent removal of three Bishop Estate trustees, Bronster criticized board members for paying Tom a $4,000 monthly retainer for providing few meaningful legal services for the estate.

Tom has defended his work for the estate as proper, saying he conducted bill collecting and other general legal services for the charitable trust.

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