Wednesday, April 21, 1999

Jervis weighs
the future

The Bishop Estate trustee,
under a doctor's care, is
'talking to a number of key
people in this regard'

Ige defends right to vote on Bronster

By Star-Bulletin staff


Bishop Estate trustee Gerard Jervis is "seriously assessing his future and is talking to a number of key people in this regard," his attorney said yesterday.

"Trustee Jervis has returned to work on a limited basis," said attorney Ronald Sakamoto.

"He is still under doctor's care, and he is not prepared to make a statement or answer any questions at this time."

Sakamoto would not say if Jervis plans to step down or remain as a trustee.

Jervis, 50, was discharged from Castle Medical Center March 22. He took an overdose of sleeping pills on March 11, the week after an estate lawyer, Rene Ojiri Kitaoka, committed suicide.

The day before her death, a security guard at the Hawaii Prince Hotel had found Jervis and Kitaoka in a compromising position in a hotel restroom.

Meanwhile, Kitaoka's husband filed a Circuit Court petition yesterday asking that the Honolulu Police Department be ordered to hand over all documents connected to her suicide to determine if any lawsuit will be filed against the city.

The petition, filed by Scott Kitaoka, said there was no reason to believe city agencies or workers were liable for her death, but that police reports "will be invaluable" to an investigation of the death.

"This pre-complaint investigation could lead to a decision to not name a potential entity who might otherwise have to be named without the opportunity to evaluate the requested information," the petition said.

It says there is no reason the documents should be withheld.

The police department's legal counsel could not be reached yesterday, nor could Scott Kitaoka's attorneys, L. Richard Fried Jr. and Clarence S.K. Kekina.

An autopsy report said Rene Kitaoka, 39, died from self-inflicted carbon monoxide poisoning. She was found unresponsive in a car parked in the garage of her Kaneohe home on March 3.

Ige defends right
to vote on reappointment
of Bronster

By Craig Gima


State Sen. Marshall Ige says he does not see a conflict of interest in voting against the confirmation of Margery Bronster as attorney general, even though he may be a target of Bronster's Bishop Estate investigation.

According to the attorney general, the estate paid an $18,261.71 campaign debt for Ige using allegedly false invoices to hide the payments.

Gov. Ben Cayetano and Common Cause/Hawaii yesterday called for Ige (D, Kaneohe) to recuse himself from voting on Bronster's confirmation.

"I say this without taking any judgment about the allegations that have come out about Senator Ige," Cayetano said. "But I hardly think he's in any objective frame of mind."

But Ige said he intends to vote no.

"This is not a Bishop Estate battle. This is a battle between our highest legal officer in the state and she has failed miserably," Ige said. "Departments are coming to us just begging for attorneys and its turning out to be a fiasco."

The governor said he does not see a problem with Sen. Joe Tanaka (D, Kahului) voting even though he received a $42,000 consulting fee from developer Everett Dowling in the sale of land in Pukalani, Maui, to the estate. Tanaka has said his work did not involve the estate because he got the fee for introducing Dowling to Sports Shinko Inc., which originally owned the property.

Cayetano also thinks it's OK for Sen. Whitney Anderson (R, Kailua) to vote. Anderson's wife works for the estate as a travel coordinator.

Senate President Norman Mizuguchi said he thinks Ige can vote on the matter as long as he follows Senate procedure and declares his conflict.

"I believe the final decision-maker on his actions whether he has a conflict or not should be the voters in his district so I have no reason to not allow him to vote at this point in time," Mizuguchi said.

"I don't have any rule or law before me that disqualifies him from voting."

Even if Ige recuses himself, Bronster still will need 13 votes for confirmation.

At this point, she appears to be about three votes short of a majority.

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