Wednesday, February 24, 1999

Lindsey defense
starts telling
her side

The Bishop trustee's attorneys
put their first witness
on the stand

By Rick Daysog and Debra Barayuga


After more than three months of testimony, attorneys for Bishop Estate trustees Oswald Stender and Gerard Jervis completed their case for removal against trustee Lokelani Lindsey.

Yesterday, Stender's lawyer, Douglas Ing, questioned his last two witnesses, the estate's court-appointed fact-finder Patrick Yim and Kamehameha Schools curriculum coordinator Pat Holmes.

Ing yesterday summarized the removal case, saying Lindsey committed multiple breaches of her fiduciary duty to the trust and the estate-run Kamehameha Schools.

"She breached her duties by micromanaging the school, creating harm to the school and creating harm to the faculty and students," Ing said.

Ing's comments were in response to Lindsey attorney David Gierlach's request to dismiss the removal petition. Gierlach argued that Stender and Jervis failed to prove that Lindsey breached her duties, noting that Lindsey's "hands-on" management style is in keeping with the will of the estate's founder, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.

Circuit Judge Bambi Weil denied the dismissal request.

"They have not proven by clear and convincing evidence that a removal, which would amount to a capital offense for a trustee, is warranted in this case," Gierlach said.

Gierlach and his partner, Michael Green, have said they expect to take about a month to present their defense of Lindsey. Yesterday, they called their first witness, Rodney Park, director of Bishop Estate's administrative group.

Park testified Lindsey was instrumental in computerizing both the Kapalama Heights campus and the estate's Kawaiahao Plaza.

Park also testified about Lindsey's attitude toward job cuts brought on by the estate's 1995 decision to eliminate various outreach programs and implement its Go/Forward initiative. The program cuts, which resulted in the loss of more than 150 jobs, has been cited as one of several key causes of the campus turmoil.

Park said Lindsey cared for many of the people who lost their positions and recommended that staffers set up a job referral service for those who were laid off. Park continues on the stand today.

Earlier in the day, Weil heard testimony from Yim about how he conducted his December 1997 fact-finding report on the Bishop Estate controversy.

The Yim report, entered into evidence Tuesday, alleged that Lindsey intimidated students and faculty members, fostered an environment of favoritism and undermined school President Michael Chun's authority.

Lindsey has criticized the Yim report as unbalanced, saying it focused on rumor and innuendo.

Her lawyers have argued that many of the people interviewed by Yim were first screened by an alumni and parent group, Na Pua a Ke Ali'i Pauahi.

They believe the Na Pua group is biased against Lindsey.

During interviews with members of the Kamehameha ohana, Yim said he was aware that at least one-third of them had attended "facilitating" sessions with the Na Pua group.

But he said these sessions were to explain the interview process and assure prospective participants of their confidentiality.

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