Friday, July 16, 1999

Former trustees targeted
for Stender legal bill

By Rick Daysog


Ousted Bishop Estate trustees Henry Peters, Richard "Dickie" Wong and Lokelani Lindsey should foot ex-board member Oswald Stender's $2 million legal bill, the attorney general's office said.

In documents filed in probate court yesterday, Deputy Attorney General Dorothy Sellers argued that Peters and Wong are liable for costs incurred by Stender in successfully removing Lindsey because they backed her actions and defended her.

"Wong and Peters tacitly approved if not acquiesced in Lindsey's wrongdoing and then compounded their erroneous side-choosing when they knowingly, voluntarily and deliberately joined Lindsey's defense to the removal petition. Her breaches became their breaches," Sellers said.

"This is not a case of a single breach of trust. Lindsey committed multiple -- nearly innumerable -- breaches of multiple fiduciary duties. She left no important duty unbreached."

A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 3.

In a stinging 190-page findings of fact supporting her May 6 removal of Lindsey, Circuit Judge Bambi Weil last month said that Lindsey misappropriated trust assets, micromanaged the trust-run Kamehameha Schools and created a climate of fear and intimidation at the Kapalama Heights campus.

One day after Lindsey's permanent removal, Probate Judge Kevin Chang temporarily ousted Peters, Wong and Gerard Jervis and accepted Stender's voluntary resignation.

Stender's legal team -- local attorneys Crystal Rose and Douglas Ing -- recently filed court papers seeking reimbursement from the estate, saying Stender's suit to remove Lindsey was in the best interest of the estate.

Peters, meanwhile, believes that he is not liable for Stender's legal expenses. Renee Yuen, Peters' lawyer, said that Weil made no adverse findings against Peters or the estate when she removed Lindsey.

Yuen said Stender and Jervis brought their action against Lindsey in concert with the attorney general's office to change the makeup of the board and change the way that trustees are selected.

"Their attempt to fund this effort by seeking an award is a transparent attempt to punish him without proving any wrongdoing on his part whatsoever," Yuen said.

In its filing yesterday, the attorney general made no mention of legal costs for Jervis, who joined Stender in seeking Lindsey's removal.

Earlier this year, Jervis took an overdose of sleeping pills after an estate attorney -- Rene Ojiri Kitaoka -- committed suicide. The day before her suicide, security workers at a Waikiki hotel found Jervis and Kitaoka having sex in a restroom.

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