Tuesday, August 3, 1999

Groups offer
trustee suggestions

They march to Kawaiahao Plaza
to present their plans to interim
Bishop trustees

By Rick Daysog


Members of several Hawaiian organizations, including ousted trustees Richard "Dickie" Wong, Henry Peters and Lokelani Lindsey, marched from the Royal Mausoleum to Kawaiahao Plaza this morning to present the Bishop Estate's interim board of trustees with their plan to select future trustees.

The Justices Working Group, which includes more than a dozen native Hawaiian civic groups, also filed documents in state Probate Court, calling for a selection process that follows the will of the estate's founder, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.

For nearly two years, the group has been working on a plan to select trustees after the state Supreme Court in December 1997 ended its century-long practice of picking the estate's board members. The high court, under the objection of Associate Justice Robert Klein, stepped away from the selection process after it was heavily criticized for its role in picking board members.

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
Bishop Estate trustee Henry Peters joins The Justices Working
Group march from the Royal Mausoleum to Circuit Court and
the Bishop Estate offices at Kawaihao Plaza today.

Kamaki Kanahele, outgoing chairman of the Justices Working Group, said the organization is proposing that future trustees be selected by Justice Klein. As an alternative, retired members of the high court should make the selections, Kanahele said.

The latter option would take politics out of the selection process, said Kanahele.

Retired Adm. Robert Kihune, chairman of the interim board, promised to take the group's plan under consideration. He noted that the current trustees plan to submit their own proposal to the probate court outlining their position on choosing successor trustees.

Other groups such as the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association and Na Pua a Ke Ali'i Pauahi, an organization that includes Kamehameha Schools parents, staffers and alumni, also plan to file proposals on picking future board members. "We don't all agree with everything," Kihune said. "But if we can all work together, it would be the right thing to do."

Peters, Wong and Lindsey, were temporarily ousted from their $1 million-a-year posts by Probate Judge Kevin Chang after the Internal Revenue Service threatened to revoke the estate's tax-exempt status. Lindsey was permanently removed by Circuit Judge Bambi Weil.

Peters, who is seeking reinstatement as a Bishop Estate trustee, criticized Chang's decision and the IRS action as a threat to Pauahi's will.

"This is not about Henry Peters. It's about Pauahi's will," said Peters.

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