Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, September 24, 1997

Bishop trustees
circle the wagons

Stonewalling proves need
to appoint receiver

The trustees of the Bishop Estate are exhibiting the same kind of recalcitrance and contempt for the investigation of the state attorney general that has marked their treatment of the members of Na Pua a Kealii Pauahi, an organization consisting of students, parents and alumni of the Kamehameha Schools, and Na Kumu o Kamehameha, an organization of the teachers of the Kamehameha Schools.

From the outset of this present eruption the trustees have refused to speak to Na Pua and Na Kumu. And now they refuse to allow the attorney general to review any of the estate's documents, except under conditions that they impose. They have forgotten that it was their arrogance toward those groups that created a storm of protest from the Kamehameha ohana and caused us to come to their support with our "Broken Trust" essay (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 9).

Their refusal to cooperate with the attorney general has forced her to issue subpoenas to obtain the materials she seeks, a tactic that can only result in unnecessary delay and expense.

It is reliably reported that the teachers are operating in a climate of intimidation and fear of retaliation. We are compelled to conclude from the trustees' treatment of the teachers that the estate's administrative employees are under the same apprehension and that they feel compelled not to cooperate with the attorney general.

We cannot help but contrast the trustees' obstinacy in this instance with the alacrity with which trustee Lokelani Lindsey summoned a student to her office to "discuss" the student's planned criticism of the trustees' meddling in the school's affairs. It is clear that they will talk with (or to) anyone whom they may completely dominate; however, when such is not the case they cloak themselves in the community's respect for the princess and accuse their critics of assaulting the estate and its institutions.

Everyone must remember that no criticism has been leveled against the will, the estate or the Kamehameha Schools. The trustees' protestations sound more like those of a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar than a mature response to valid criticism.

Their attempt to color the present situation as an attack on the estate is at the base of their arrogant attempt to use estate employees, estate attorneys, and estate funds to protect themselves. This milking of the estate's funds for private ends is characteristic of the manner in which they have mismanaged the estate up to now. It is simply another example of their arrogant attitude that no one can or should question them and their actions.

The trustees need to be open and candid with the attorney general about the estate's affairs. She has the authority, indeed the duty, to undertake the investigation that she is pressing. We need to disperse the trustees' smoke screen and let the light shine in. The actions of the trustees and the probability that they will continue to stonewall the attorney general make clear the need to appoint a receiver who will assist in the investigation rather than thwart it.

Walter Heen
Retired Judge
State Intermediate Court of Appeals

Aipa's attack on Bronster
was unwarranted

Attorney General Margery Bronster has the duty of monitoring all charitable trusts to see that they continue to operate in a manner that justifies the substantial public subsidy they receive by way of tax exemptions. In doing so, she represents all of the people of Hawaii.

Her investigation into allegations of breaches of trust by individual Bishop Estate trustees is in the public interest. All of us should cooperate with her to resolve the charges which have been in the public domain for many months.

Nathan Aipa's recent intemperate attack on the attorney general is far off the mark. The annual accounting rendered to the courts by the Bishop Estate is required by Princess Pauahi's will, not by the attorney general. Any "court-endorsed guidelines already in place" for reviewing those accountings have nothing to do with an investigation of the activities of individual trustees.

Aipa would have better forwarded the investigation if he had himself, as in-house attorney for the Bishop Estate, investigated the allegations of the trustees' self-dealing and let us know (1) whether the allegations were true and, if so, (2) what has been done about them.

I am assuming, of course, that his obligations are to the Bishop Estate itself and not to the individual trustees.

Samuel P. King
Senior Judge
Federal District Court

Estate lawyer insults
remarkable citizens

Bill McCorriston, the newest addition to the legal defense team of the Bishop Estate trustees, has suggested that the attorney general's investigation is controlled by me, rather than Attorney General Margery Bronster. This is reminiscent of trustee Dickie Wong's repeated attempts to mischaracterize the "Broken Trust" essay as my handiwork, as though Gladys Brandt, Monsignor Kekumano, Walter Heen and Sam King are somehow under my control.

Such suggestions are more than just ridiculous. They are offensive.

Anyone who knows the people I've been accused of controlling, knows that each has a reputation for integrity and independence that is beyond question. I admire Bronster greatly, and can only dream of someday having the kind of reputation now enjoyed by Gladys, Monsignor, Walter and Sam. To suggest that these noble warriors are under the control of anyone is to insult them and the many people who look up to them.

Dickie Wong and Bill McCorriston should be ashamed of themselves.

By the way, it's been nearly six weeks since the "Broken Trust" essay first appeared and, to my knowledge, none of the trustees or anyone from their growing cadre of lawyers has yet to address the issues that we have raised.

Randall Roth
Law Professor
University of Hawaii

Editor's note: Walter Heen, Samuel P. King and Randall Roth are three of the five authors of the "Broken Trust" report that sparked the attorney general's investigation of Bishop Estate.

Proper training is vital
to U.S. military readiness

Let's hope that OHA Trustee Rowena Akana (View Point, Sept. 20) knows more about overseeing Hawaiian affairs than she knows about current U.S. history.

In the 52 years since the end of World War II, our armed forces have been involved in shooting conflicts in Korea, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Lebanon, Grenada and the Persian Gulf.

The demise of the Soviet Union and the current world situation indicate that, for the foreseeable future, our armed forces will continue to be used in the limited but deadly conflicts we've experienced over the past 50 years.

A World War III? Not likely -- but our service members, especially our soldiers and Marines, must be allowed to train for the conflicts they will undoubtedly face.

Michael VonTungeln
(Via the Internet)

A chopping indictment
of wood pulp industry

Isn't it amazing that Mike Wilson of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources knows exactly what the position of his opposition to pulp trees is (View Point column, Sept. 5)? Does this make us feel good?

No, it doesn't, especially since we hear from all over the world the negative impact that giant pulp and paper companies have had on communities, socially and economically.

We hear how these companies promise jobs, which never come. How they promise a great future, but instead infiltrate the community by using great public relations. They take control and thereby change people's lives and livelihoods, taking away access to hunting grounds and the freedom to roam through woods.

They use herbicides and pesticides as well as clear-cutting, which pollute the water and affect water tables.

They will buy whatever trees they can get from private landowners, thereby changing the landscape and often leaving stumps behind.

Major protests have come from Alabama, Canada, and other states and countries after this industry took over their lands.We hope with all our hearts that Wilson does not become part of an industry that should stay away from Hawaii.

Ada Pulin-Lamme
Friends of Hamakua

Bishop Estate Archive

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