David C. Farmer, Successor-Trustee vs. Harmon
(Formerly Woo vs. Harmon & Nicholson vs. Harmon)
CV05-00030 DAE KSC
U.S. District Court For the District of Hawaii
Judges: David A. Ezra; Kevin S. Chang
Former investigative reporter for KITV News 4 and currently for The Honolulu Advertiser. Jim Dooley was the first reporter to interview Defendant, with the advice of his then-attorney, John Goemans, regarding his claims of fraud and corruption at Kamehameha Schools and P&C Insurance Company.
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NEW DISCOVERY (04-24-08): Undisclosed relationships between Mary Lou Woo, James B. Nicholson, David C. Farmer, Steven Guttman, Judith Neustadter Fuqua, Paul Alston, Judge Lloyd King, Judge Robert Faris, Judge Kevin Chang, Judge David Ezra, Judge Barry Kurren, Judge Elizabeth Eden Hifo, Dee Jay Mailer, Eric Grant, Jim Dooley, and other witnesses; denial of First Amendment and Seventh Amendment Rights to Defendant and his prior attorney, John Goemans:
April 24, 2008
Kamehameha wants $2 million returned
School points to breach in terms of
confidential settlement paid in 2007
By Jim Dooley, Advertiser Staff Writer
Kamehameha Schools is trying to get back as much as $2 million of the $7 million it paid last year to settle a lawsuit that challenged its admissions policy favoring Hawaiian students, according to legal papers filed in federal court in California.
The papers are contained in new litigation filed after publication of an Advertiser news story in February that revealed that the settlement was $7 million.
The money was paid to a Big Island mother and child in return for their agreement to drop the lawsuit just before the U.S. Supreme Court was to decide whether it would hear an appeal of the case.
The plaintiffs, who have never been publicly identified and are known as Jane and John Doe, alleged in the California case that the schools "threatened" to publicly identify them if they did not place $2 million in an escrow account for possible return to the schools because terms of the confidential settlement had been revealed.
Ken Kuniyuki, a Hawai'i lawyer who now represents the pair, is alleging that David Schulmeister, an attorney for the schools, said that if the schools were forced to file suit over the issue, the names of the Does would become public.
Kuniyuki made the allegation in a sworn declaration filed this month in federal court in Sacramento, seeking a court order barring public identification of the plaintiffs.
Schools attorney Paul Alston denied that Schulmeister threatened to reveal the plaintiff's identities.
"Schulmeister told Kuniyuki that the (Kamehameha Schools/ Bishop Estate) believed the settlement agreement had been breached and that the estate was entitled to damages," Alston said in court papers filed April 14 in Sacramento.
"He further explained that a public lawsuit could make it difficult for the Does' anonymity to be preserved" and suggested that the $2 million be held in escrow while the parties discussed resolution of the dispute short of a lawsuit, according to Alston.
Alston stressed on Tuesday that Kamehameha Schools has not filed a lawsuit or taken any action that would publicly identify the Does.
"Kamehameha Schools is closely scrutinizing how to proceed," he said.
Tuesday night and yesterday, the Kamehameha Schools board of trustees and Chief Executive Dee Jay Mailer sent a mass e-mail to parents and alumni notifying them of the new legal skirmishing in California and alerting them that The Advertiser was preparing a story on the subject.
"A breach of confidentiality has occurred, and an investigation into the line of responsibility is in process. Legal action as appropriate shall follow," the trustees' e-mail said.
"It is aggravating to be drawn into this complicated and unsavory infighting," the trustees' message continued. "However, we will not allow this latest legal maneuver to distract us from our mission."
'Fear for our safety'
Jane and John Doe filed legal papers in Sacramento federal court denying any role in the release of the settlement figure by John Goemans, an attorney who used to represent them but who now is involved in a dispute over compensation for his services in the case.
Their attorney, Kuniyuki, also asked the federal court to issue a restraining order against all parties in the case preventing any attempts to disclose the identities of Jane and John Doe.
He attached an April 2 sworn statement from Jane Doe that said, "both John Doe and I fear for our safety if our identities are made public."
She noted that more than 1,550 reader comments were posted on the Advertiser's Web site following the February story that disclosed the settlement amount.
"Many of them are extremely critical of us. Some include threats of violence against us," she said.
"I have lived in Hawai'i for many years. The negative comments and threats posted to the Honolulu Advertiser's February 8, 2008 article are entirely consistent with my experience with many local residents regarding the admissions policy of the Kamehameha Schools."
If their identities become public, she said, "we are prepared to move and go into hiding."
Last week, following a hearing before U.S. District Judge Frank Damrell Jr., all parties in the federal court case stipulated that they would not disclose the true identities of the Does.
Goemans told The Advertiser in February that he believed the settlement amount should be a matter of public record, given Kamehameha Schools' status as the wealthiest and most influential nonprofit institution in Hawai'i.
In a separate civil case now pending in Sacramento state court, Goemans was sentenced earlier this month to serve eight days in jail and fined $4,000 for violating a court order to keep the settlement amount secret.
Goemans, 73, now living in Florida with his sister, said by telephone, "I have zero money, I have serious health issues, and now I've been ordered to serve an eight-day jail sentence in California in the middle of May. I don't know what's going to happen."
The California state case was filed against Goemans by Eric Grant, a Sacramento attorney who litigated the Does' lawsuit from the time it was first filed in Hawai'i in 2003 through its settlement in May 2007.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Grant was entitled to 40 percent of the $7 million total, or $2.8 million.
He sued Goemans in Superior Court in Sacramento last year to try to settle the outstanding question of how much Goemans should be compensated.
Goemans conceived the civil rights lawsuit against the schools, found the plaintiffs on the Big Island and brought them together with Grant.
Goemans said the only money he has received was a $20,000 loan from Jane Doe but believes he is entitled to as much as 25 percent of the total settlement, or $1.75 million.
According to documents filed in the California state case, Grant became concerned early this year that Goemans intended to reveal the amount of the legal settlement and on Feb. 5 obtained a court order against Goemans blocking any such disclosures.
Three days later, The Advertiser published a news story based on Goemans' statements about the settlement amount.
Goemans said in a sworn statement filed with the California court March 17 that he is "not medically or mentally 100 percent" and had no memory of being informed of the Feb. 5 court order.
"I want to emphasize to the court that it was not my intent to deliberately and knowingly violate the court's order," the statement said.
But he reiterated his belief that Kamehameha Schools, as a tax-exempt organization, should not and cannot keep the terms of the settlement confidential.
After the settlement terms were made public, Grant filed a new federal lawsuit March 28 in Sacramento against Kamehameha Schools and his own clients, Jane and John Doe, asking the court for a ruling that he was not responsible for the disclosure and has no financial liability because of it.
Grant and an attorney who represents him did not return telephone requests for comment.
Alston filed a lengthy legal memo in the case last week questioning the Sacramento court's jurisdiction in the matter since the Does and the schools are in Hawai'i.
Reach Jim Dooley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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February 8, 2008
Kamehameha Schools settled
lawsuit for $7M
By Jim Dooley, Advertiser Staff Writer
Kamehameha Schools paid $7 million to settle a lawsuit filed by an anonymous student who claimed the schools' Hawaiians-first admissions policy violates civil rights laws, according to an attorney involved in the case.
Terms of the confidential settlement have been a closely guarded secret since it was signed in May just before the U.S. Supreme Court was to decide whether to hear the case.
The settlement ended a four-year effort by a non-Hawaiian teenager, known only as John Doe, to enter the Kamehameha Schools system.
Attorney John Goemans — who planned the legal action, found the plaintiff and brought the case to Sacramento private attorney Eric Grant to litigate — revealed the amount of the settlement in an exclusive interview with The Advertiser.
"The amount of the settlement is important public information that should be disclosed by a charitable institution that receives tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service," Goemans said in a telephone interview.
The lawsuit challenging the schools' admissions policy was the first case of its kind to reach the doors of the U.S. Supreme Court and stirred enormous controversy in Hawai'i.
Critics of the settlement pointed out that additional legal challenges could still be mounted against the admissions policy, and news of the $7 million that the schools paid could increase the chances of new lawsuits.
Local attorney David Rosen, who made news last year by actively seeking plaintiffs for a new challenge to the admissions policy, said yesterday he is preparing a suit against Kamehameha Schools.
Kamehameha Schools, previously known as Bishop Estate, is a nonprofit organization with assets of $7.7 billion.
Grant, appearing yesterday at a University of Hawai'i law school symposium on the lawsuit, known as John Doe vs. Kamehameha Schools, declined to discuss the settlement when told that Goemans had disclosed the $7 million figure.
Kamehameha Schools' lead attorney in the lawsuit, Kathleen Sullivan, a former dean of the Stanford University law school, also declined comment.
"Terms of the settlement are inviolate," said Sullivan, also a participant at the UH symposium yesterday.
Ann Botticelli, spokeswoman for the Kamehameha Schools board of trustees, also declined to comment on Goemans' statements or the size of the settlement.
The settlement says that anyone who discloses its contents is subject to a $2 million penalty, but Goemans said he was not a party to the agreement and never signed it.
Goemans, who is recovering from heart surgery, said yesterday that he was opposed to the $7 million settlement but that "it was the client's decision" to accept it.
PART OF TAX RECORD
Goemans said an attorney representing Grant breached the confidentiality clause by mailing a copy of the agreement to Goemans last year.
Goemans added that Kamehameha Schools must disclose details of the settlement on its 2007 tax return, which is due to be filed later this year, and on annual financial reports the charity is required to file with the state attorney general's office and with the state court.
Tax returns of nonprofit institutions such as Kamehameha Schools are public records under federal law. The institution's annual financial accountings — which date to its founding by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop in 1888 — are also open to the public.
Kamehameha operates three campuses — its flagship at Kapalama Heights on O'ahu, one on Maui and another on the Big Island — for the benefit of children of Hawaiian ancestry.
The institution plays a central role in Hawai'i society, in part because of its financial clout and in part because of its mission to educate children of Hawaiian ancestry. It is also the state's largest private landowner.
There are about 70,000 school-age children with Hawaiian blood, and 5,400 students were enrolled at Kamehameha's various schools last year. Kamehameha served 30,000 other children and adults through outreach programs and through its support of charter schools.
TO SUPREME COURT
Hawai'i federal Judge Alan Kay initially dismissed the John Doe lawsuit in November 2003, upholding the schools' argument that the admissions policy helped address cultural and socio-economic disadvantages that have beset many Hawaiians since the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.
The plaintiffs appealed that decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned it in a three-judge decision in 2005. That ruling prompted protest rallies, prayer vigils and other gatherings around the state in support of the schools.
Lawyers for Kamehameha Schools then asked that all members of the appellate court review the matter and the full court reversed the three-judge panel's decision by an 8-7 vote in December 2006.
Grant then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, and last May, on the eve of the high court announcement on whether it would take the case, the matter was settled out of court.
"We didn't think that there was a strong possibility (of losing) but that risk is always out there," J. Douglas Ing, chairman of the Kamehameha board of trustees, said in announcing the settlement in 2007. "There are no guarantees and there certainly were no guarantees from our lawyers that we would win the case."
Grant, the attorney for John Doe, said after the case was settled, "Obviously, a settlement is not exactly what either side wanted. But it is something both sides eventually came to terms on."
SPATS OVER FEES
Goemans is involved in a continuing dispute with John Doe, whose identity has never been revealed, and with Grant over how much money Goemans should receive for his part in the case.
Grant received 40 percent of the overall settlement — $2.8 million — although he had to sue the plaintiff and the plaintiff's mother in federal court in Sacramento last year to collect the money, according to Goemans and federal court records.
That collection lawsuit was filed in June after Kamehameha had paid the $7 million settlement. The dispute over the payment of Grant's fee was settled and dismissed in September.
Goemans said he asked John Doe and Jane Doe for 25 percent of the total settlement — $1.75 million — but has not yet received a response.
Grant filed a separate lawsuit against Goemans in California state court last year regarding how much compensation Goemans is owed for his part in the case.
That suit is still pending, although Goemans said he believes it is groundless and will be dismissed.
Grant yesterday declined comment on the collection lawsuit he filed in Sacramento against his own clients or the related action he filed against Goemans.
Goemans said he has received $20,000 in compensation to date from John Doe and his mother and is contemplating filing a new legal action of his own against them.
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February 9, 2008
School's $7M deal
raises ire, eyebrows
By Jim Dooley, Advertiser Staff Writer
Yesterday's disclosure of the $7 million payment made by Kamehameha Schools to settle a civil rights lawsuit prompted questions and anger from individuals on both sides of the schools' controversial admissions policy that gives preference to students of Native Hawaiian ancestry.
"It does seem like a lot of money. It sure would be if it was in my pocket," said University of Hawai'i law school professor Jon Van Dyke, who served as a legal consultant to Kamehameha in the lawsuit.
Van Dyke said yesterday he wasn't part of the settlement discussions and still believes the payment led to the right outcome for the school.
The settlement was signed in May just before the U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to announce whether it would hear an appeal of the case. Terms of the settlement had been kept confidential until this week. John Goemans, an attorney for the plaintiff in the case, revealed the $7 million figure to The Advertiser.
The settlement meant that an earlier 8-7 vote by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of Kamehameha's admissions policy is still the prevailing law.
H. William Burgess, a local attorney who filed legal papers with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the plaintiff in the case, said yesterday, "Wow. The settlement was much larger than I thought."
Burgess said he still believes the case should have been heard by the Supreme Court so that legal questions surrounding the school's Hawaiians-first admissions policy were settled.
"I actually think the trustees of the Kamehameha Schools have a legal duty, when there's a legitimate legal question about what they're doing, to seek a resolution of the issue," Burgess said.
News of the $7 million payment provoked more than 500 online postings to The Advertiser that variously criticized school officials who approved the payment and the lawyers and the client who received the money.
Beatrice "Beadie" Dawson, a native Hawaiian attorney who is active in Kamehameha Schools affairs, said yesterday the settlement itself and now news of the $7 million amount "are like an open invitation for more lawsuits."
"I was very dismayed by news of the settlement last year and I was very surprised by the size of it today," Dawson said.
Hawai'i attorney David Rosen, who last year announced plans to file another legal challenge to the school's admission policy, confirmed this week that the lawsuit is taking shape but has not been filed.
He issued a news release yesterday reacting to the settlement amount that said, "The people of Hawai'i should be outraged that the trustees of Kamehameha Schools place a higher value on discriminating rather than educating."
Goemans, the lawyer who publicly revealed the $7 million figure, said he believes the settlement should be a matter of public record given Kamehameha Schools' status as a tax-exempt charitable institution.
Goemans helped bring the civil rights lawsuit against Kamehameha in 2003 on behalf of a non-Hawaiian student denied admission to the high school. The student and the student's mother, who live on the Big Island, have never been identified except as John Doe and Jane Doe.
Goemans also said the settlement is subject to review by the Internal Revenue Service and by the state attorney general's office, which oversees Kamehameha Schools' annual financial accountings filed with state Probate Court.
Attorney General Mark Bennett could not be reached for comment yesterday.
David Fairbanks, a Honolulu lawyer serving as the appointed "master" who must review Kamehameha's financial fillings for the Probate Court, did not respond to a telephone message for comment yesterday.
Reach Jim Dooley at email@example.com.
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NEW DISCOVERY (11-20-07): Steven Guttman and Alan Ma are attorneys for Grayline Hawaii in their long-running bankruptcy case, with relationships to Kamehameha Schools’ Trustee J. Douglas Ing, and CEO Dee Jay Mailer:
November 19, 2007
Hawaii bankruptcies still active years later
By Jim Dooley, Advertiser Staff Writer
It's been almost 10 years since Sukamto Sia, the high-rolling former Honolulu bank owner and real estate dealer, filed a $300 million personal bankruptcy case — and it still hasn't been resolved.
Sia's case is not the oldest bankruptcy pending in Hawai'i. A computer search of court dockets showed that there are 22 open cases filed between 1992 and 2000, involving hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid debts.
Several of the bankruptcies generated financial and social shockwaves when they were filed. Sia's case was notable because of his flamboyant lifestyle and the related financial collapse of the Bank of Honolulu.
The old cases, while still unresolved, have dwindled away to obscurity.
As they drag out there is "less money ... to pay creditors," bankruptcy attorney Dawn Smith said. "Usually there are administrative expenses that have to be paid to attorneys, accountants, appraisers and so forth."
Those expenditures can result in recovery of money owed to the bankrupt estate and later distributed to creditors, but Smith noted that for creditors "waiting years and years for payment means they've lost the use of that money and interest it could have been earning."
The oldest active case is the 1992 Hamakua Sugar bankruptcy, in which one of the largest sugar plantations in Hawai'i closed its doors, throwing some 700 employees out of work and idling cultivation of some 35,000 acres of land on the Big Island. The bankruptcy case was first closed in 1999 but reopened in 2004 to deal with a $36,000 fuel rebate apparently owed to the bankrupt estate. That collection issue is unresolved.
According to paperwork filed when the case was reopened, even if the money is collected, it won't come close to paying all the bills in the case.
"The total amount of unpaid administrative (expenses) in this case is $1.2 million," the Office of the U.S. Trustee reported. "There are over 1,200 administrative claimants comprised of government agencies, former employees, landlords, professionals, and others."
The oldest personal bankruptcy case still active here is that of Marlene Lindsey, sister of former Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey.
The sisters were convicted in 2002 of federal money-laundering and tax charges connected to Marlene Lindsey's bankruptcy case. The bankruptcy remains open while Lokelani Lindsey, who once collected $1 million per year from the Bishop Estate and was one of the most powerful and controversial women in Hawai'i, makes $300 monthly restitution payments to her sister's bankrupt estate.
As of July 31, she had managed to pay $5,000 of the $35,000 she was ordered to repay in 2002.
Other cases include that of Mahalo Air, the startup interisland air carrier that launched service here in 1993 and shut its doors with a 1997 bankruptcy filing that is still active.
The financial failure of Gray Line Hawaii Ltd., the state's third-largest tour bus company, which shut its doors in 1997, is also generating paperwork in Bankruptcy Court.
In the Sia case, a lot has happened to the Indonesian-born businessman since he filed the bankruptcy action in 1998, listing among his debts tens of millions of dollars owed to gambling casinos in Las Vegas, London and Asia.
He was convicted in 2002 of bank and bankruptcy fraud related to the financial collapse and federal takeover of the Bank of Honolulu. He served three years in federal prison and was deported and forbidden ever to return to the United States.
Just a few months ago, he married Kelly Randall, who was his co-defendant in the fraud case, in a lavish wedding at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco.
A few friends from Honolulu attended the July nuptials, including state Senate vice president Donna Mercado Kim and Waikiki's "Ambassador of Aloha," entertainer Danny Kaleikini, according to news accounts of the event.
Attempts to reach Kim, Kaleikini and Linda Wong, another Honolulu friend of Sia's who attended the Monaco wedding, were unsuccessful.
Sia and Randall could not be reached. Sia's local bankruptcy attorney, Noah Fiddler, did not return telephone calls for comment.
Sia still owes more than $200 million to creditors around the world. Randall owes more than $1 million because of a series of transfers of assets Sia made to her, according to documents in the case.
Some creditors wonder where the money came from for the European wedding.
"I don't doubt there are still millions dollars out there which were never found," said Paul Alston, local attorney for an Asian bank owed more than $4 million.
The largest single creditor in the case is CommerzBank (Southeast Asia), which is owed some $41 million, according to case records.
According to accounts of the wedding published in two Singapore-based magazines, it was an exclusive and expensive affair.
Guido Giacometti, the court-appointed private trustee in charge of the Sia bankruptcy case, said he believes it will be closed in the next few months.
"We found all the pockets (of money) that we could," he said.
The Office of the U.S. Trustee, an arm of the Justice Department that oversees the administration of bankruptcy cases, stresses the need to close cases as quickly as possible, Giacometti said.
"We stay in close touch with the office," Giacometti said. "There are cases like this one which stretch out over years and I think the U.S. Trustee's office understands that."
He added: "This was a very complex case with international aspects and with connections to criminal proceedings. Next year it will be 10 years since the case was filed and I'm as anxious to close it as anyone else involved."
Carol Muranaka, assistant U.S. trustee in charge of the Hawai'i office, declined comment, referring questions to Steven Katzman, head of the U.S. Trustee's regional office in San Diego.
Katzman, who oversees bankruptcy administration in Southern California, Hawai'i, Guam and Saipan, was traveling and could not be reached for comment.
Hawai'i bankruptcies filed 1992-2000 that are still active:
1992: Hamakua Sugar Co. Inc.
1994: Papa Bay Inc.
1995: Lindsey, Marlene
Gray Line Hawaii Ltd.
Industrial Technology Inc.
Mahalo Air Inc.
Hawaiian International Service & Tours
Oahu Construction Co. Ltd.
Harmon, Bobby & Theresa
Multimedia Pacific Inc.
Hawaiian Super Prix LLC & Frontier Insurance Group
Hawaiian Grocery Stores Ltd.
Midpac Lumber Co. Ltd.
Cg Investments Inc.
Giacometti v. Arton Bermuda Ltd. (related to 1998 Sia case)
Source: U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Reach Jim Dooley at firstname.lastname@example.org
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NEW DISCOVERY (10/29/07): David Farmer has conflicting financial and professional relationships with Judge Robert Faris and Marsh & McLennan’s Mercer Consulting Services in the Aloha Airlines bankruptcy case.
Proposed Successor-Trustee David C. Farmer, was an associate of the Ashford & Wriston law firm from 1998 to 2001 – during a period of Defendant’s RICO lawsuit and his bankruptcy proceedings. Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate is a major client of this firm.
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Jim Dooley is expected to testify regarding First Amendment Rights to Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press, as respects his contacts with Defendant - in person or by letter, telephone, Email, fax or any other form of communication. Jim Dooley is also expected to testify with regard to her personal and professional relationships with Defendant, John Goemans, Judge Bambi Weil, Roy Hughes, John Waihee, Paul Alston, Lokelani Lindsey, Oswald Stender, Randy Roth, Roy Hughes, Robert Richards, Colbert Matsumoto, Jeffrey Watanabe, Michael Hare, Henry Peters, Richard Wong, Jeffrey Stone, Margery Bronster, Moya Davenport Gray, Benjamin Cayetano, Office of Information Practices, Warren Price, Robert Marks, Kathleen Callaghan, Darolyn Lendio, Elisa Yadao, Kekoa Paulson, James Kawachika, Laureen K.K. Wong, Judge Patrick Yim, Ian Lind, Sally Apgar, Gordon Pang, Richard Borreca, Pat Omandam, Rick Daysog, Jim Witty, Bruce Dunford, Robert Rees, David Shapiro, Desmond Byrne, Terrance Tom, William McCorriston, Beadie Dawson, Calvin Say, Robin Matsunaga, Judge Kevin Chang, Earl Anzai, Lawrence Goya, Hugh Jones, Dorothy Sellers and others to be named upon discovery.
Documents, News Articles and Related Links
First Amendment Rights/Obstruction of Justice
IRS - PricewaterhouseCoopers, Arm’s Length and Intermediate Sanctions
Hawaii Dept. of Labor - CV 98-2394-05 - Unemployment Insurance Appeal
The Na Kumu Book Advisory Group
Broken Trust: Greed, Mismanagement and Political Manipulation
Lost Generations: A Boy, A School, A Princess
KITV Special Report