Friday, March 12, 1999

Jervis recovering after overdose

Bishop Estate trustee Gerard Jervis
is hospitalized after taking an
overdose of sleeping pills

Details were about to be revealed of
a sexual encounter in a hotel restroom
stall with an estate employee

Feds want Holt bail revoked

Testimony ends in Lindsey case

Rick Daysog
and Christine Donnelly


Bishop Estate trustee Gerard Jervis remained hospitalized a day after overdosing on sleeping pills as his involvement with a woman who apparently committed suicide last week was about to become public.

The 50-year-old Jervis, who was rushed to Castle Medical Center from his Kailua home around noon yesterday, was expected to recover but intends to take a medical leave of absence from his $843,000-a-year post, according to his lawyer, Ronald Sakamoto. The lawyer said he did not know whether the overdose was intentional.

The overdose came about a week after the death of Bishop Estate lawyer Rene Ojiri Kitaoka, who died from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning in the garage of her Kaneohe home on March 3, police said. The night before, Jervis and Kitaoka had been thrown out of the Hawaii Prince Hotel after security guards found them in a compromising position in a stall in a men's restroom, according to a source familiar with the incident.

The two, who had dinner together at a hotel restaurant earlier that night, were identified, photographed and escorted off the premises by the guards, the source said.

Dean Dantsuka, assistant manager of the Hawaii Prince, refused to confirm the report, referring all queries to Kelly Conmey of MacNeil Wilson Communications. She also declined comment.

Sakamoto said yesterday that there was a basis "for the reported incident" but that some of the details had been inaccurately described. He declined to elaborate.

The lawyer said Jervis was "saddened and distraught" by Kitaoka's death.

Her husband, Scott Kitaoka, did not return phone messages last night. According to police reports, he found his wife in her car while it was running in their enclosed garage. She did not leave a note.

She was pronounced dead at the scene and police have classified the case a suicide pending toxicology results. Besides her husband, she is survived by parents Jerry and Laura Ojiri and sister Donna Ojiri.

Kekoa Paulsen, a spokesman for the Bishop Estate, said that co-workers regarded the 39-year-old Kitaoka, who was born on Maui, as a bright and hardworking employee.

A 1984 graduate of Georgetown Law School, she came to the Bishop Estate from the Cades Schutte Fleming & Wright law firm and later became general counsel for the estate's for-profit Kamehameha Investment Corp. subsidiary. At KIC, she worked with Jervis, who was chairman of the company.

Sakamoto said he would ask the trustees of the multibillion dollar estate for a medical leave for Jervis. Still at issue was whether the events would force Jervis to resign permanently. But even his temporary absence would add new pressures to a boardroom already fraught with tension.

Jervis and fellow trustee Oswald Stender are seeking the removal of fellow trustee Lokelani Lindsey for alleged breaches of trust. Jervis -- along with trustees Lindsey, Richard "Dickie" Wong and Henry Peters -- are also the target of a temporary removal petition by state Attorney General Margery Bronster, who has been investigating allegations of financial mismanagement by trustees.

The attorney general's office also reportedly had inquired into Jervis' alleged involvement with Kitaoka. And Jervis was aware reporters had been looking into it.

Jervis, a Bishop Estate trustee since 1994, is the youngest member of the five-member board. A trial attorney by training, Jervis is considered a political insider and is a longtime associate for former Gov. John Waihee.

A 1979 graduate of the University of Hawaii Law School, he served on the powerful Judicial Selection Commission. He also is a past member of the UH Board of Regents.

Jervis's wife, Avis, was with him at the hospital yesterday and did not return requests for comment.

But longtime friends and associates expressed total surprise at the events.

"He is a very dear friend and this is a complete shock. I have nothing more to say right now," said William Boyle, a Kailua Realtor and partner with Jervis in a Big Island housing venture.

Retired Circuit Judge Patrick Yim, who was the estate's fact-finder during the campus controversy, declined to speculate how the developments might impact the legal battle being fought at the Bishop Estate.

"I'm as surprised as you are and probably as surprised as everyone else in Honolulu," Yim said.

Star-Bulletin reporter Rod Ohira contributed to this report.

How to deal
with scandal

Teachers look for ways to
discuss the Kamehameha
ohana's latest black eye

By Christine Donnelly


An all-too-public tryst. An apparent suicide. A drug overdose.

It sounds like a soap opera, but it's depressingly real. And on the minds of many Kamehameha Schools teachers today is what to tell students about this latest scandal involving a Bishop Estate trustee, one far more personal, explicit and tragic than the ongoing legal woes that have plagued the estate and the school it runs.

"What next? It's unbelievable," said one staffer, who like others in the Kamehameha "ohana" refused to have her name printed. "I just have to get my thoughts together better. Right now I'm in shock."

What's sent the school reeling is news that trustee Gerard Jervis was caught in a compromising position with a woman in a hotel bathroom stall. The woman -- a Bishop Estate lawyer -- apparently killed herself the next day, and a little more than a week after that, Jervis took an overdose of sleeping pills. He is expected to recover.

"The children today get exposed to so much. What was the term I heard, 'Clintonesque?' The Kamehameha family needs to get together as a family and work this out as a family," said Roy Benham, president of the Oahu regional chapter of the Kamehameha Alumni Association. "We hope and pray for (everyone involved), especially knowing that lady's family is grieving."

Kamehameha Schools president Michael Chun said there would be a concerted effort to console students. "This has caught us all by surprise. . . . We're working on something that at the appropriate time we'll share with our ohana," he said, refusing further comment.

Teachers burned up the phone lines last night, strategizing how to help students process the news without losing pride in themselves or their school.

Some also said they hoped kids would not focus on the titillating nature of the case, but take a lesson from the tragic outcome.

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Four of the five Bishop Estate trustees addressed
thet media today from outside their offices at Kawaiahao
Plaza. Richard Wong, front, spoke for the group.
The others, from left, are Lokelani Lindsey, Henry
Peters and Oswald Stender.

Trustees saddened
by week’s events

By Rick Daysog


Four Bishop Estate trustees today expressed their sadness over the suicide of an estate attorney and the attempted suicide of fellow trustee Gerard Jervis.

A spokesman said the four trustees are continuing to oversee trust business while Jervis recuperates from an overdose of sleeping pills.

In a statement issued this morning, trustee Richard "Dickie" Wong said, "The entire KSBE ohana is saddened by the events of the past week."

"This is a very private and personal matter, and I ask that we all keep the people -- the family involved in this matter -- in our prayers and in our hearts.

"Please respect their need for an opportunity to pause and reflect during this difficult period, and please join with me and the other trustees in sending our aloha to the individuals who have been so deeply hurt by these events."

Kekoa Paulsen, a spokesman for Bishop Estate, said the trust continues to operate, and the four trustees are overseeing the daily business.

Feds want Holt bail revoked

Testimony ends in Lindsey case

Bishop Estate Archive

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