Saturday, May 8, 1999

Trustees no more

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Lindsey, shown testifying at her removal trial, calls Oswald
Stender the "enemy within" who helped bring down
Bishop Estate trustees.

Lokelani Lindsey

The first trustee to be removed
blames Oswald Stender and others
for the 'second overthrow'

By Rod Ohira


Ousted trustee Lokelani Lindsey says Oswald Stender was the "enemy within," who orchestrated what she calls the "second overthrow" with the help of the state attorney general and the Star-Bulletin.

"It was clearly an orchestrated plan by Oz Stender," Lindsey said yesterday. "He had a lot of people working with him, including Doc Stryker (chairman of Stryker Weiner Associates).

"The Star-Bulletin was in bed with the attorney general, with Oz and their groups, Na Pua and everything. Everything they said got in the newspaper.

"I've had more ink, negatively in the Star-Bulletin, than anybody I think ever, even more than (Frank) Fasi," added Lindsey, who was permanently dismissed as a trustee by Circuit Judge Bambi Weil on Thursday.

Stender, who resigned as a Bishop Estate trustee instead of being temporarily removed by Probate Judge Kevin S.C. Chang along with other board members, leaked information and documents to fuel opposition, said Lindsey.

"He (Stender) definitely edited or corrected, depending on whose word you want to use -- I say edited, he says corrected, under oath in court -- the Broken Trust article," Lindsey said. "He met with Gladys Brandt and all of them ... before it was printed. He also admitted in court, under oath, that he met with the Broken Trust II authors.

"He admitted in court, under oath, that he took documents out of our boardroom to other people in the community; he definitely, per his own plan in 1993, wanted the trust to be changed.

"He wanted them to have more trustees, he wanted to make sure that the Supreme Court justices were out of the selection process. There are many things in that plan that he has been able to fulfill through devious means," she added.

When asked what Stender had to gain by such a move, Lindsey said, "I don't know."

"Oz told Dickie (Chairman Richard Wong) the other day that he never thought it would come to this," Lindsey said. "All he wanted was me off the campus.

"But I've been off the campus since August of '97 except for ceremonial things. Once the Strategic Plan was finished, I was out of there."

Lindsey said she was shocked by Chang's decision.

"This isn't about Lokelani Lindsey and this isn't about all the other trustees they pointed the finger at," she said. "This is the second overthrow. It's the dismantling of the Bishop Estate because it's changing the will of the princess, slowly but surely.

"What's to be gained is land and power. Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate would never be the focus if we weren't as successful as we are. We own a lot of land in the state of Hawaii and now that the Goldman Sachs thing went through, we have a lot of money. Land and power is synonymous.

"I think this is one of the reasons we're in trouble. We've been too successful."

The Internal Revenue Service forced the removal process by denying the trustees due process, Lindsey said.

"We couldn't talk to the IRS," she added. "It doesn't sound like justice to me. They acted in a capricious manner and denied us our due process rights, our taxpayer rights that's available to every other citizen by saying to the courts, through the special panel trustees, that we will not talk to these guys unless the trustees are gone."

Lindsey admitted to having problems with popular Kamehameha Schools President Michael Chun and said conflicts with Chun's wife, the former Bina Mossman, contributed to the situation.

When asked if she thought Chun was qualified, Lindsey said, "I didn't think so, that was my perception."

"There were two major things," she said about Chun's work. "One was for him to strategic plan, having things in place and making sure they were moving toward accomplishing the plan.

"The other thing is, he's in charge of the morale of the school. And I don't think those two conditions were met.

"Of course, I'm blamed for that. I've been blamed from Day One for that, it was part of the rally cry."

Lindsey said conflicts arose over Bina Mossman's role at Kamehameha.

"I stepped on her toes, there's no doubt about it, because I didn't believe she was authorized to be purchasing things and signing orders," Lindsey said.

Lindsey said her management policy had board support.

"I got a lot of support from Dickie, and some support from Henry (Peters), at times, even Gerry (Gerard Jervis) would say something," Lindsey said. "But it seemed like Oz Stender was going to save Mike Chun no matter what.

"They've told me enough times that they have a different feeling amongst the alumni and we don't understand because we're not alumni."


Beadie Dawson
"I think it marks the beginning of a healing for the Bishop Estate as well as for the Kamehameha Schools. Many of the children and the teachers have experienced and sustained enormous anger, embarrassment and hardship. I have talked with them directly, and it is time to make things right again for them ...

"I have full confidence in the interim trustees. I think they're capable of not just holding down the fort but bringing a new impetus to the trust, and a healthy one at that. I think the part (of the order) that got me the most was somewhere in the last paragraph where it said trustees are ordered to clean out their desks. This sort of brings home the conclusiveness of the order."

Cynthia Quinn
"We were very pleased with the ruling because it showed that the course that our departing attorney general set was always the right one. I think it's a well-thought-out ruling and it sends a clear message to the community that justice will be served."

Tomi Chong
"This long-awaited victory is bittersweet, and the entire Kamehameha ohana has paid a high price for justice ... It is assuring to know that the judicial system works, albeit slowly. It is also regrettable that this controversy had to deteriorate to such a low, ugly level and over such a long period of time in order for changes and improvements to be possible at KSBE ...

"Judge Chang's decision ... is the right one and speaks to the courage of the many who came forward and put themselves at risk by speaking out against the Bishop Estate trustees. (It) affirms that those courageous efforts have not been for naught."

Samuel P. King
"All this started with (Hawaiiana authority and "Broken Trust II' co-author) Nona Beamer as the whistle-blower. Then came the school's ohana -- composed of alumni, parents, students, teachers -- who tried to see the trustees about their concerns and got stiff-armed. That's what started the whole thing. The "Broken Trust' authors have only been in this to help them."

Jan Becket
"I have divided feelings about it. On the one hand I'm relieved and delighted at the end of a two-year struggle, but on the other hand I'm aware of the tremendous waste of resources -- both human and financial resources -- in the past two years.

"I don't know much about the interim trustees. We've been so focused on the current folks, but all of us on campus are very concerned with the future and the selection process of the permanent trustees, and most teachers that I've spoken to would like to see a Kamehameha teacher sitting on the selection committee. (The interim trustees) should be very conservative in their decisions, make few changes and wait for the permanent trustees to make the major shifts in direction for the estate."

Kawika Eyre
"The school is wealthy but not at all healthy. We're a very sad and sick place after years of abuse. They've kept us on our knees for years now, and my sense is that we're standing tall today. Whether we can move forward now, I don't know ... I think we're exhausted, but the energy is starting to flow back and we'll be all right."

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