James B. Nicholson, Trustee vs. Harmon
(Formerly Woo vs. Harmon)
CV05-00030 DAE KSC
U.S. District Court For the District of Hawaii
Judges: David A. Ezra; Kevin S. Chang
HEARING ON MOTION FOR CONTEMPT OF COURT
DATE: January 16, 2007, 10:30 AM
JUDGE: Hon. David Ezra
MARI STONE WONG
Address to be determined.
Ex-wife of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate Trustee Richard “Dickie” Wong; sister of Jeffrey Stone.
~ ~ ~
April 19, 1999
The Bishop chairman's wife
and brother-in-law also plead
innocence in an alleged
By Rick Daysog, Star-Bulletin
Bishop Estate Chairman Richard "Dickie" Wong today pleaded not guilty to criminal charges relating to an alleged kickback scheme involving trust land in Hawaii Kai.
Wong's wife, Mari Stone Wong, and his brother-in-law Jeffrey Stone also pleaded not guilty to all charges relating to the estate's sale of its fee interest to the 219-unit Kalele Kai condominium project.
Wong, a former state Senate president, appeared at his arraignment before Circuit Judge Michael Town this morning and made a brief statement critical of the charges against his wife.
"Even Al Capone and his people, they never indicted his wife," Wong said.
Town has scheduled a hearing for the week of Aug. 9.
Last week, an independent Oahu grand jury -- convened by Attorney General Margery Bronster -- indicted Wong for theft, perjury and criminal conspiracy for allegedly taking a $115,800 kickback from Stone.
The grand jury said Stone received preferential treatment when he and his mainland partners acquired the land beneath the Kalele Kai project in 1995 for $21.9 million.
The secret panel also indicted Mari Wong for criminal conspiracy and hindering prosecution, and Stone for commercial bribery, conspiracy and serving as an accomplice to theft.
Mari Wong left the courthouse in tears, calling the latest turn of events "madness."
"I'd like to thank all the hundreds of people who have been writing and calling who pretty much agree with me that this is turning into madness," she said.
Meanwhile, Stone's lawyer, John Edmunds, said he plans to seek a dismissal of the charges, saying the grand jury's proceedings were "tainted" by testimony from a key witness, attorney Richard Frunzi.
Frunzi is Stone's former lawyer who recently was sentenced by a federal judge to five years in prison for an unrelated money-laundering scheme.
Transcripts of Frunzi's testimony before a separate grand jury that indicted trustee Henry Peters for theft last November were rife with unsubstantiated speculation by Frunzi, Edmunds said.
That grand jury also indicted Stone for commercial bribery and conspiracy. Peters and Stone have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Lawrence Goya said Frunzi's grand jury testimony in the Peters case is separate from his later testimony in the Wong case.
Town has tentatively scheduled a hearing on the dismissal motion for the first week of May.
~ ~ ~
April 20, 1999
Figure in Wong
case serving time
A real estate appraiser,
disciplined in Hawaii, is in
a South Dakota prison
By Ian Y. Lind, Star-Bulletin
A real estate appraiser cited in the state's criminal indictment of Bishop Estate trustee Richard S.H. "Dickie" Wong had his license revoked by state regulators in 1997 for professional misconduct, unethical practices, and failure to maintain a reputation for honesty.
State records show the appraiser, Patrick E. Keller, agreed to a five-year revocation after evidence in a disciplinary hearing showed he lied about his education and professional background, failed to file tax returns for several years and faced a $151,000 legal judgment resulting from fraud and misrepresentation.
Keller is currently serving a 14-month sentence in a federal prison in South Dakota after pleading guilty last year to unrelated charges of tax evasion and failure to pay more than $60,000 in delinquent child support.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Lawrence Goya declined to comment yesterday on whether Keller will be called as a witness against Wong, but a series of Keller's appraisals were key elements of the indictment last week of Wong, his wife, Mari Stone Wong, and her brother, Jeffrey R. Stone.
The indictment alleges Wong received an illegal kickback of $115,800 when he was credited significantly more than the appraised value for a Makiki condominium unit as part of a complex exchange for a Kahala Avenue home.
According to the indictment, Keller appraised the condominium, along with the Kahala Avenue home involved in the exchange, and another Kahala home initially considered as part of the deal.
Keller went to Wong's Makiki apartment on March 10, 1996, where he met with Wong, discussed prospects for selling the apartment, and inspected the unit to prepare the appraisal, according to the indictment.
The state alleges Wong committed perjury when he told the grand jury in November that he never knew of Keller's visit.
Wong's statement to the grand jury allowed him "to disavow any knowledge that he knew he was receiving an improper bonus or commission," the indictment charged.
Wong's attorney, Eric Seitz, was surprised when told of Keller's past.
"This is amazing to me," said Seitz. "I'm amazed the state would ever use somebody like that as a witness in any proceeding."
Details of Keller's past are contained in published accounts, in federal and state court files, and in records of the Regulated Industries Complaints Office. These records show:
Keller resigned as the elected city clerk for Hawthorne, Calif., in 1992 after it was publicly disclosed he had been collecting his monthly salary of $600 for four years while actually living in Kona selling real estate and operating a hair salon, according to accounts published in the Los Angeles Times. Hawaii business registration records confirm that Keller was doing business in Kona during the period.
Keller testified in California Superior Court in Los Angeles in 1991 that he never earned degrees from Santa Monica Community College and California State University at Long Beach, which he routinely listed among his professional qualifications.
Also, Keller testified he had paid $100 for a master's degree in business administration from Pacific Northwest University. "However, I never attended that school, I've never been there. Don't know where it is," he said.
Federal prosecutors later described Pacific Northwest as a "diploma mill" which offered college degrees with "no studying, no classes, and no exams."
Keller attempted to conceal his income as an appraiser by directing payments to a company set up in the name of his wife, and at other times used false Social Security numbers to hide income from the IRS, according to federal charges that led to Keller's current imprisonment.
As part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Keller agreed to file federal tax returns for 1991, 1992, and 1993 within six months of his release from prison, and to pay the delinquent taxes, interest, and penalties.
Also, Keller agreed to contact state officials within 10 days of his release to arrange payment of $67,526.96 in restitution to the state Child Support Enforcement Agency.
A Honolulu arbitrator's decision in December 1995 ordered Keller to pay $150,000 to H.R. Hartz Inc., which had employed him as an appraiser for several years.
The company said Keller misrepresented his qualifications, failed to properly register his business in Hawaii, and then steered clients away from his employer into Keller's own private practice.
Then-Circuit Judge Daniel Heely later confirmed the award, and noted the arbitrator ruled in favor of Hartz "on the grounds of fraud, intentional misrepresentation, illegality, intentional interference with business relationships, unlawful seizure of Hartz's business opportunities, false light and breach of fiduciary duty."
~ ~ ~
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF HAWAI`I
RICHARD SUNG HONG WONG, MARI STONE WONG, and KATHLEEN WONG,
BENJAMIN CAYETANO, EARL I. ANZAI, MARGERY BRONSTER,
THOMAS R. KELLER, LAWRENCE A. GOYA, CYNTHIA QUINN, HUGH R.
JONES, DOROTHY SELLERS, STEVE GOODENOW, JOHN TSUKIYAMA,
JOHN DOES 1-25, Defendants
APPEAL FROM THE FIRST CIRCUIT COURT
(CIV. NO. 02-1-2411)
JULY 26, 2006
DUFFY, ACTING C.J., AND CIRCUIT JUDGES AHN, NISHIMURA,
BORDER, AND HARA, IN PLACE OF MOON, C.J., LEVINSON,
NAKAYAMA, AND ACOBA, JJ., RESPECTIVELY, RECUSED
OPINION OF THE COURT BY DUFFY, J.
In this action for malicious prosecution, Defendants-Appellants Richard Sung Hong Wong (Richard), Mari Stone Wong (Mari), and Kathleen Wong (Kathleen) [hereinafter collectively, the Wongs] appeal from the February 4, 2005 final judgment of the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (1) in favor of Defendants-Appellees Benjamin Cayetano, Earl I. Anzai, Margery Bronster, Thomas R. Keller, Lawrence A. Goya, and Cynthia Quinn [hereinafter collectively, Cayetano Group], and Defendants-Appellees Hugh R. Jones and Dorothy R. Sellers [hereinafter collectively, Jones Group, and collectively with the Cayetano Group, Defendants]. (2)
On appeal, the Wongs assign a single point of error: that the circuit court erred in "determining that [the Wongs] did bring or should have brought their state malicious prosecution claims" in their prior federal court action. The Cayetano Group counters that: (1) the circuit court did not err in concluding that the Wongs' claims were barred by res judicata; (2) the judgment must be affirmed as against Kathleen based on the circuit court's unchallenged conclusion that she failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted; (3) the judgment must be affirmed as against Richard and Mari based on the circuit court's unchallenged conclusion that their claims are barred by collateral estoppel; (4) the judgment must be affirmed as against Richard on the basis that he released his claims; and (5) the judgment must be affirmed in favor of Cayetano on the basis that the Wongs failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact. The Jones Group similarly counters that: (1) the circuit court did not err in concluding that the Wongs' claims were barred by res judicata; (2) the judgment must be affirmed as against Kathleen based on the circuit court's unchallenged conclusion that she failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted; (3) the judgment must be affirmed as against Richard and Mari based on the circuit court's unchallenged conclusion that their claims are barred by collateral estoppel; (4) the judgment must be affirmed as against Richard and in favor of the Jones Group based on the circuit court's unchallenged conclusion that he released his claims against them; and (5) the judgment must be affirmed in favor of the Jones Group on the basis that the Wongs failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact.
Based on the following, we affirm the circuit court's final judgment in favor of all Defendants.
Disposition of the instant action requires consideration of a federal court action filed by Richard and Mari pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging federal civil rights violations, as well as consideration of various civil and criminal proceedings instituted with respect to the Estate of Bernice P. Bishop (Bishop Estate) (3) and its trustees, of whom Richard was one. Accordingly, this opinion sets forth the background of each proceeding insofar as it is relevant to the instant case. (4)
A. Civil Probate Proceeding
On September 10, 1998, then-Attorney General of the State of Hawai`i Bronster (5) filed a petition in the circuit court of the first circuit, sitting as a probate court In re Estate of Bernice P. Bishop, Deceased, First Circuit Equity No. 2048, alleging misconduct on the part of the five Bishop Estate trustees, including Richard, and seeking their surcharge and removal. Jones and Sellers were the deputy attorneys general assigned to litigate the petition. The Attorney General's office also began a criminal investigation, but established a "Chinese Wall" between the probate litigation team (including Jones and Sellers) and the team pursuing the criminal investigation (including Goya and Quinn). (6)...
~ ~ ~
Mari Stone Wong is expected to testify regarding her business, professional, political and personal relationships with Richard “Dickie” Wong, Henry Peters, Jeffrey Stone, Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, Judge Kevin Chang, Mary Lou Woo, Coldwell Banker, Guido Giacometti, Nathan Aipa, Colleen Wong, Margery Bronster, Lyn Anzai, Earl Anzai, Eric Seitz, Rockne Freitas, Paul Cathcart, Larry Mehau, John Waihee, Jake’s Restaurant & Bar, American Mutual Underwriters, Sukamto Sia, Judge James Duffy, John Marshall, David C. Farmer, and other entities to be named upon discovery.
~ ~ ~
Documents, Letters, News Articles and Related Links
TO GO TO THE WOO VS. HARMON WITNESS INDEX