Wednesday, May 19, 1999

Estate board
against trustees’

Bishop's new chairman
speaks to school alumni

Hearing set on Wong motion

Star-Bulletin staff


None of the current Bishop Estate trustees, who were removed or resigned from their jobs two weeks ago, should be reinstated, and their replacements shouldn't be former elected politicians.

That is the message retired Vice Adm. Robert Kihune, chairman of the Bishop Estate's interim board of trustees, left with Kamehameha Schools alumni last night.

Former House Speaker Henry Peters and former Senate President Richard Wong are among the four trustees temporarily removed by Probate Judge Kevin Chang on May 7. Also removed were Gerard Jervis and Lokelani Lindsey. Chang also accepted the voluntary resignation of the fifth trustee, Oswald Stender.

According to Oahu alumni chapter President Roy Benham, Kihune told the group he believes the trustees will be permanently removed within six months.

Kihune said the interim trustees believe new trustees should not include former elected officials and that trustees should not take directorships in estate subsidiaries.

He said the interim trustees were committed to making the school a happier place.

About 200 people attended Kihune's speech last night before the Oahu chapter of the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association at the schools' Kapalama Heights campus.

Kihune got several standing ovations during his speech, Benham said.

Under Chang's May 7 order, the attorney general's office, the estate's court-appointed master or the interim trustees have 90 days to seek the permanent removal of the trustees. If no such suit is filed during the 90-day period, the former board members must ask the court to lift the temporary ban.

Despite the temporary removal of the trustees, the Internal Revenue Service is insisting on the permanent ouster of all five board members to retain the estate's tax-exempt status, Kihune has said.

Hearing set on motion
to clear Wong, others



A hearing is scheduled for Monday in Circuit Court on a motion to dismiss the criminal indictment against ousted Bishop Estate trustee Richard "Dickie" Wong, his wife and brother-in-law.

Court papers filed Monday and last week are seeking to dismiss the indictment based on "inadequate" evidence, said Eric Seitz, one of Wong's attorneys.

The evidence presented "attempted to inflame the grand jury and inflame two witnesses not qualified to testify," Seitz said.

Among those who testified before the grand jury resulting in the indictment were Patrick Keller, an appraiser who lost his license, and disbarred attorney Richard Frunzi.

The attorney general's office today declined comment on the latest motion.

A hearing is set today before Judge Michael Town to hear the attorney general's request to extend the hearing on the motion to a later date, saying they need more time.

An Oahu grand jury in April indicted Wong, his wife, Mari Stone Wong, and brother-in-law, Jeffrey Stone, relating to an alleged kickback scheme involving the estate's sale of its fee interest in the Kalele Kai condominium project in Hawaii Kai.

Wong has been charged with theft, perjury and criminal conspiracy for allegedly taking a $115,800 kickback from Stone.

Mari Stone was charged with criminal conspiracy and hindering prosecution.

Jeffrey Stone was charged with commercial bribery, conspiracy and serving as an accomplice to theft. He allegedly received preferential treatment when he and his partners acquired the land beneath the condominium in 1995 for $21.9 million.

Wong, his wife and Stone have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Court papers filed by Seitz ask the attorney general to specify how the alleged transactions involving the sale are linked and how Wong was supposed to have benefited.

"You have to allege specific quid pro quo for a specific charge," Seitz said.

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