THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
OFFICE OF THE U.S. TRUSTEE
David C. Farmer, Successor Trustee
Bobby N. Harmon
(Formerly Mary Lou Woo vs. Harmon and James Nicholson vs. Harmon)
United States District Court, District of Hawaii
Judges: David A. Ezra; Kevin S. Chang
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JUDGE COLLEEN HIRAI
Address to be determined.
Judge Colleen Hirai was the probate judge in the Attorney General’s lawsuit to remove the former Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate Trustees, and the judge who decided the appointment of trustee Corbett Kalama and Micah Kane.
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NEW DISCOVERY (12-22-09): More evidence of bias and undisclosed conflicts of interest of Judge Eden Elizabeth Hifo (fka Bambi Weil) with Gov. John Waihee, Judge William S. Richardson, Judge Colleen Hirai, Judge Kevin Chang, Judge David Ezra, etc:
JUDGES HIFO, HIRAI TO STEP DOWN
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July 20, 2009
Micah Kane named Kamehameha Schools trustee
Pacific Business News (Honolulu)
Micah Kane, chairman of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, has been appointed a trustee of Kamehameha Schools.
Kane, a Kamehameha graduate, was named to a five-year term starting Sept. 1 by Probate Judge Colleen Hirai.
He replaces retired Adm. Robert Kihune, whose term ended Friday.
Kane has served as chairman of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands since 2003. He previously was chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party. He holds a master’s of business administration degree from the University of Hawaii.
Kane was one of three finalists. Also considered were Anthony Ching, executive director of the Hawaii Community Development Authority, and Ray Soon, a former Kamehameha Schools executive and former chairman of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
The four Kamehameha Schools trustees with current terms are: Diane Plotts, Corbett Kalama, Doug Ing and Chairman Nainoa Thompson.
The position pays about $90,000 annually.
Kamehameha Schools, founded in 1883 by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop as a nonprofit trust, operates schools on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island for more than 6,700 students of Hawaiian ancestry. It is the state’s largest private landowner with more than 360,000 acres.
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THE CATBIRD’S NEST
HERE COME DA JUDGE!
TRACKING THE TRUSTEES!
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NEW DISCOVERIES (05-15-09): More evidence of fraud, bad faith, racketeering, undisclosed conflicts of interest between Judge Colleen Hirai, Kamehameha Schools, Corbert Kalama, Judge Kevin Chang, David Farmer, etc:
ZOOMINFO PROFILE FOR ROBIN CAMPANIANO
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March 17, 2009
Trustee Pay Revisited
by Rick Daysog
Trustees of the Kamehameha Schools received much deserved applause last month when they rejected a court-approved pay increase plan and instead took a 10 percent pay cut.
After all, it's the prudent thing to do in face of the trust’s weakened financial condition, members of the Kamehameha Schools ohana have said.
But others, including former Gov. Ben Cayetano believe the way trustee pay is set is still out of whack and opens the trust to the type of abuses that haunted the estate during the late 1990s.
Previously, trustee pay was based on a formula set by law which entitled them to up to 2 percent of the estate’s annual gross. That resulted in $1 million-a-year trustee pay checks that nearly got the trust's tax-exempt status revoked by the Internal Revenue Service.
Now, trustee pay is supposed to be set at reasonable levels. Every several years, a Probate Court-appointed panel is supposed to come up with recommendations on what those reasonable levels are.
In 2004, the panel approved raising trustees maximum pay by more than 69 percent, generating much criticism among the schools’ ohana and the state Attorney General.
Probate Judge Colleen Hirai approved that increase but trustees turned it down.
Last year, the panel approved a similar plan before trustees decided to take their pay cut. The increase was again opposed by some members of the Kamehameha ohana as well as by the Attorney General’s office.
According to Cayetano, the lack of a more permanent trustee compensation schedule exposes the trust to future controversies.
In the past, the lucrative trustee compensation served as the “root cause for the ethical and political problems” that plagued the estate during the 1980s and 1990s, Cayetano wrote in his recently published memoir “Ben.”
It not only led to corrupted trust but it also tarnished the state Legislature and the state judiciary.
No doubt, the ethical characters of current Trustees Nainoa Thompson, Douglas Ing, Robert Kihune, Diane Plotts and Corbett Kalama are unquestioned. All are dedicated to the trust’s mission of educating native Hawaiian children.
But in approving steep pay raises for the trustees, Cayetano see a potential for history repeating itself:
“One could only wonder whether the panel, the probate judge and the new trustees had learned any lessons from the Bishop Estate controversy,” he wrote.
“The failure of the new trustees to ‘clean house’ left me wondering whether the problems that vexed the old trustees and the Bishop Estate would emerge again one day when the passing of time had blurred the reasons the reforms were made in the first place.”
Tags: Ben Cayetano, Kamehameha Schools, Trustee pay
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NEW DISCOVERY (08-04-08): UNDISCLOSED CONFLICTS-OF-INTEREST BETWEEN JUDGE KEVIN CHANG; THE FORMER BISHOP ESTATE TRUSTEES (DEFENDANTS IN HARMON’S RICO LAWSUIT); THE COURT-APPOINTED MEDIATORS IN EQUITY 2048 (DAVID FAIRBANKS AND JAMES DUFFY); FEDERAL INSURANCE COMPANY; DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL HUGH JONES, AND OTHERS:
August 11, 2000
State deal with
former trustees reported
The terms: Dickie Wong's attorney says the agreement resolves pending action against the ex-trustees
The significance: A settlement of the suit would avoid a costly trial scheduled next month
By Rick Daysog, Star-Bulletin
The attorney general`s office has agreed to settle its multimillion dollar lawsuit against the five former trustees of the Kamehameha Schools, according to a lawyer for former trustee Richard "Dickie" Wong.
Another person familiar with the settlement talks said, however, that while there is an agreement in principle it may be some time before it is completed.
In a sworn affidavit filed in the Hawaii Supreme Court yesterday, Wong's lawyer Eric Seitz said he has been informed that the attorney general`s office reached a "global settlement" on Aug. 4 with ex-board members Wong, Henry Peters, Gerard Jervis, Oswald Stender and Lokelani Lindsey that resolves the pending probate, tax and civil litigation against the former trustees.
The plan, which requires approval from the state Probate Court, represents a major milestone in the three-year controversy that has dogged the $6 billion charitable trust. If approved, the deal would avert a costly, one-year trial that is scheduled to begin Sept. 18. Details of the proposed deal remain under seal but Seitz, who represents Wong in the criminal actions brought by the state, said some of the attorney general`s civil claims against the former trustees will be covered by the estate`s $25 million insurance policy with Federal Insurance Co.
It is not clear whether the former trustees will be personally liable for any of the surcharges sought by the attorney general`s office. Seitz added that the insurance company will not cover the outstanding legal bills for the criminal proceedings against his client and Peters, who were indicted by an Oahu grand jury on theft charges. The criminal theft charges have been overturned by Circuit Judge Michael Town, but the state is appealing those decisions. Seitz, who is owed about $20,000 in legal fees for his work in Wong's criminal case, criticized the proposed settlement, saying it uses the insurance company's resources to pay for the civil cases at the expense of the criminal cases involving former trustees Wong and Peters. Until now, the insurance policy had been covering Wong's and Peters' criminal defense costs.
"It's not only unfair but it's an outrage, because it takes away ... the criminal protection that he's entitled to," Seitz said.
Seitz' affidavit was in response to a request by the attorney general's office for records relating to Federal Insurance's payments for Wong's legal costs, a subject of the state's surcharge suit. Seitz argued that state attorneys shouldn't be entitled to the insurance records since they have settled the surcharge suit.
Deputy Attorney General Hugh Jones had no comment on Seitz' affidavit, saying the mediation process is subject to a confidentiality order. Glenn Sato, a lawyer representing Wong in the Probate Court proceedings, also declined comment on Seitz' filing, citing the court's confidentiality order.
An attorney for Stender also had no response, while lawyers for Peters and Jervis could not be reached.
Michael Green, Lindsey's lawyer, took issue with Seitz' affidavit, calling it irresponsible given the sensitivity of the settlement talks.
"The discussions at this point are fragile at best," Green said. "For any lawyer, including Mr. Seitz, to say this case is settled is irresponsible."
A spokesman for the estate said there is no settlement at this time. He declined further comment.
In its lawsuit, the state is seeking multimillion dollar surcharges against the former trustees for allegedly taking excessive compensation, mismanaging the trust's educational programs and incurring more than $200 million in investment losses.
The former trustees have denied wrongdoing, saying the trust is well-run and financially stable.
According to Seitz, the global settlement was reached by all of the parties, including Federal Insurance, during an Aug. 4 closed-door conference with Probate Judge Kevin Chang. Seitz said the plan was placed on the record, making it enforceable.
But others familiar with the talks said that while there may be tentative agreement, there are outstanding issues.
They noted that the attorney general's office and lawyers for the former trustees continue to hold discussions with the court-appointed mediators, David Fairbanks and James Duffy.
Minutes to the Aug. 4 meeting in Chang`s chambers are under a court-ordered seal.
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October 28, 2004
HIRAI NAMED “JURIST OF THE YEAR”
Hawaii State Judiciary Press Release
Chief Justice Ronald T.Y. Moon selected Judge Colleen Hirai, Chief Judge of the First Judicial Circuit to receive the Hawaii State Judiciary’s second annual “Jurist of the Year” award....
Judge Hirai joined the Judiciary in 1994, when she was appointed Circuit Judge of the First Judicial Circuit. Prior to joining the Judiciary, she worked in private practice as a partner in the firm Libkuman, Ventura, Ayabe, Chong and Nishimoto. Hirai also served as a deputy prosecuting attorney with the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, City and County of Honolulu, and as deputy corporation counsel with the Trials Division of the Department of Corporation Council, City and County of Honolulu....
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November 27, 2006
A totally independent, slightly irreverent and hopelessly idealistic view of people and events in Hawai'i and beyond. David Shapiro has covered Hawai'i and national news for 38 years as a reporter, editor and columnist.
Reach David at email@example.com.
Kamehameha hopefuls face grilling
The three final candidates for Kamehameha Schools trustee will be questioned by Kamehameha beneficiaries tomorrow at a public forum from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.
The sponsor, Na Pua A Ke Ali'i Pauahi, has opened the event to public participation as an opportunity for beneficiaries and others to learn more about candidates for the $100,000-a-year position.
Banker Corbett Kalama and attorneys Allen Hoe and Ivan Lui-Kwan are the finalists named by a court-appointed selection committee to compete for the Kamehameha Schools trustee vacancy created by the resignation of Constance Lau.
State Probate Judge Colleen Hirai is accepting public comment until Dec. 1, after which she'll make her appointment.
The candidates have actively courted support from the Kamehameha 'ohana, but it's uncertain if the beneficiaries will make an endorsement — or how much weight Hirai would give their backing.
I received mixed reaction to my Advertiser column last week exploring the selection process. Some have enthusiastically supported one candidate or another, while others have expressed skepticism about selection procedures.
The skeptics believe the court needs to cast a wider net than the half mile between Bishop Street and the State Capitol if Kamehameha trustees are to represent the diversity of Hawaiian thought and experience as they fulfill the school's educational mission and help advance Hawaiian interests.
There's also a fear that politics is again becoming paramount in trustee selection just eight years after the politically connected former board of trustees was ousted for breaches of trust.
Hoe has been an associate of former Gov. John Waihee and Lui-Kwan has worked in the campaigns of U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka. Both Waihee and Akaka supported the old trustees in the turmoil that led to their removal.
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Judge Colleen Hirai is expected to testify regarding her business, professional, political and personal relationships with Douglas Ing, Ronald Libkuman, Sidney Ayabe, Constance Lau, Diane Plotts, Robert Kihune, William S. Richardson, Gilbert Tam, Corbett Kalama, Faye Kurren, Judge Barry Kurren, Judge Kevin Chang, Judge David Ezra, Judge Lloyd King, Judge Robert Faris, Judge James Duffy, Judge Eden Elizabeth Hifo (fka Bambi Weil), Judge James Duffy, Sidney Ayabe, Jeffrey Sia, Colbert Matsumoto, John Waihee, Ben Cayetano, Daniel Akaka, Dan Inouye, Dee Jay Mailer, Robert Kessner, James Duca, Margery Bronster, Earl Anzai, Lyn Anzai, Nathan Aipa, Colleen Wong, Louanne Kam, Carol Muranaka, Curtis Ching, James Nicholson, Mary Lou Woo, Steven Guttman, Frank Fasi, Warren Price, Robert Alm, Steven Alm, Judge Alan Kay, Judge Michael Town, Judge James Duffy, Judge Alan Kay, Judge Michael Seabright, and others to be named upon discovery.
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