Home‎ > ‎CVO5-00030 - WITNESS INDEX‎ > ‎





David C. Farmer, Successor Trustee
Bobby N. Harmon

(Formerly Mary Lou Woo vs. Harmon and James Nicholson vs. Harmon)

CV05-00030 DAE/KSC

United States District Court, District of Hawaii

Judges: David A. Ezra; Kevin S. Chang

~ ~ ~



Barry Kurren is a Magistrate Judge for the Ninth District; judge in Sukamto Sia case; judge in Milton Holt case; Judge in the Hawaiian Airlines bankruptcy case Magistrate Judge in Defendant’s RICO case and for the Settlement Agreement; husband of witness Faye Kurren.

* * * * *



* * * * *

NEW DISCOVERY (09/21/11): More undisclosed conflicts of interests between Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS); Robin Campaniano, Barack Obama, Dee Jay Mailer, Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, Constance Lau, Hawaiian Electric Co., Robert Clarke, Edwina Clarke, Faye Kurren, Judge Barry Kurren, Walter Dods, First Hawaiian Bank, Aloha Airlines, David Farmer, etc.:

University of Hawaii Shidler College of Business Advisory Council

Robin K. Campaniano, President & CEO, AIG Hawaii Insurance Company

Steven Ai, President & CEO, City Mill Company, Ltd.
Robert F. Clarke, Chairman, Former President & CEO, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.
John C. Dean, Managing General Partner, Startup Capital Ventures
W. Allen Doane, President & CEO, Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.
H. Mitchell D’Olier, President & CEO, The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation & Kaneohe Ranch Co., Ltd.
Brenda Lei Foster, President, American Chamber of Commerce Shanghai

Terri Fujii, Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, Honolulu
David A. Heenan, James Campbell Company LLC
Paul Higo, Managing Partner - Hawaii, Deloitte & Touche LLP
Glenn K.Y. Hong, President & CEO, Young Brothers Ltd.
Donald G. Horner, President & CEO, First Hawaiian Bank
Faye W. Kurren, President & CEO, Hawaii Dental Service
Constance H. Lau, Chairman, President & CEO, American Savings Bank, F.S.B.
Warren K.K. Luke, Chairman, President & CEO, Hawaii National Bank
Tan Tek Lum, President & Director, Lum Yip Kee Ltd.

Bill D. Mills, Chairman, The Mills Group
Jean E. Rolles, Vice President, Community Affairs, Outrigger Enterprises, Inc.
Nancy Rose, Managing Partner, KPMG LLP
Nate Smith, President, Oceanic Time Warner Hawaii
Charles A. Sted, President & CEO, Hawaii Pacific Health
Kent K. Tsukamoto, Managing Partner, Accuity LLP
Keith M. Vieira, Senior Vice President & Director of Operations - Hawaii, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.
Joseph L. Wikoff, Managing Director, Wikoff, Combs

NEW DISCOVERY (05/13/09): More undisclosed conflicts of interest between Judge Barry Kurren and numerous other entities involved in this case:

Judge Barry M. Kurren

Barry's profile was created using:175 online sources

1-10 of 175 online sources for Barry Kurren

www.starbulletin.com/news/bulletin/40793333.html -

In October, Federal Magistrate Barry Kurren ruled that they could not remain anonymous if they wanted to proceed with the lawsuit.
www.kycbs.net/CV05-00030-Witness-Dawson-Beadie.htm -

NEW DISCOVERY (10-29-08): New facts providing more evidence of undisclosed conflicts of interests between Judge Barry Kurren and his wife, Faye Kurren, Paul Alston, Rick Daysog, Eric Grant, John Goemans and other entities involved in this case:
In a 22-page order, U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren said the public, as in other civil rights cases, has "a strong interest in knowing who is using the courts to vindicate their rights."

"The severity of the threatened harm and the reasonableness of plaintiffs' fears do not weigh in favor of anonymity," Kurren wrote. "At most, plaintiffs are vulnerable children who have a reasonable fear of social ostracization."

Kamehameha Schools spokeswoman Ann Botticelli said the schools appreciated the ruling, saying, "Judge Kurren obviously deliberated carefully on the matter."
Kurren, however, ruled that Grant and Rosen didn't provide evidence of "any threat of physical or economic harm" against the Does.

http://starbulletin.com/2007/08/31/news/story09.html -

"I believe I'm going to do what's right and (will be) held responsible for my actions," said John Saguibo, 40, before entering a guilty plea with U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren for conspiring to distribute a controlled substance and conspiring to aid an illegal gambling operation.

www.kycbs.net/CV05-00030-Witness-Waihee-John.htm -

NEW DISCOVERY (08-15-08): Undisclosed conflicts of interests between Dan Inouye, Ted Stevens, VECO Corporation, George W. Bush, John McCain, Dick Cheney, Halliburton, Shell Oil, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Waihee, Ben Cayetano, Bishop Estate, Aloha Petroleum, James Ahloy, Chevron-Texaco, Mark Bennett, Linda Lingle, Tesoro Petroleum, Faye Kurren, Judge Barry Kurren, Enron, Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin, Henry Paulson, Henry Peters, Paul Alston, etc.:

www.kycbs.net/CV05-00030-Witness-Tsukazaki-Matt.htm -

Matt Tsukazaki is also expected to testify regarding his relationships with Judge Eden Elizabeth Hifo, Judge Kevin Chang, Judge David Ezra, Judge Barry Kurren, Colbert Matsumoto, Dennis Tsuhako, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Robert Kihune, Gilbert Tam, Nainoa Thompson, Elisa Yadao, Dwight Yoshimura, Rocco Sansone, Marsh & McLennan, Marcia Diver, Federal Insurance Company (Chubb Group), Aon Insurance, Rodney Park, Wally Chin, Clyde Mark, Jean Rolles, Dee Jay Mailer, Edwina Clarke, Hamilton McCubbin, Robert Katz, Steven Guttman, Michelle Tucker, Mary Lou Woo, Susan Tius, Guido Giacometti, Bradley Tamm, Greg Dunn, Kenneth Hipp, Jeffrey Sia, Sydney Ayabe, John Waihee, Renton Nip, Jared Jossem, Linda Lingle, James "Duke" Aiona; Carol Muranaka; Michael Nauyokas; Sabrina Toma; Mark Recktenwald and others yet to be named.

www.kycbs.net/CV05-00030-Witness-Fuqua-Judith.htm -

NEW DISCOVERY (08-15-08): Undisclosed conflicts of interests between Senator Dan Inouye, Senator Ted Stevens, VECO Corporation, George W. Bush, John McCain, Dick Cheney, Halliburton, Shell Oil, Barack Obama, Aloha Petroleum, James Ahloy, Chevron-Texaco, Mark Bennett, Linda Lingle, Tesoro Petroleum, Faye Kurren, Judge Barry Kurren, Enron, Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin, Henry Paulson, Henry Peters, Paul Alston, etc.:

www.kycbs.net/CV05-00030-Witness-Guttman-Steven.htm -

NEW DISCOVERY (08-25-08): More undisclosed conflicts of interests between David Farmer, Steven Guttman, Governor Ben Cayetano, Governor John Waihee, Governor Linda Lingle, Kamehameha Schools, Hamilton McCubbin, Dee Jay Mailer, P&C Insurance Co., Wally Chin, Rodney Park, Nathan Aipa, Colleen Wong, Lyn Anzai, Earl Anzai, Hawaiian Airlines, Aloha Airlines, Judge Lloyd King, Judge Robert Faris, Judge Kevin Chang, Judge Barry Kurren, Judge David Ezra, Judge Rey Graulty, Robin Campaniano, AIG, Douglas Ing, Louise Ing, Colbert Matsumoto, Jeff Watanabe, Joshua Gotbaum, Linda Lingle, AIPAC, Louanne Kam, Allan Yee, Dennis Fern, James Ahloy, Aloha Petroleum/Harken Energy, McKenzie Methane, Arthur Andersen, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Dennis Tsuhako, Enron, Alan M.L. Yee, Constance Lau, Eric Yeaman, Hawaiian Electric, Robert Clarke, Edwina Clarke, Peter Hanashiro, University of Hawaii, etc:
NEW DISCOVERY (08-15-08): Undisclosed conflicts of interests between Senator Dan Inouye, Senator Ted Stevens, VECO Corporation, George W. Bush, John McCain, Dick Cheney, Halliburton, Shell Oil, Barack Obama, Aloha Petroleum, James Ahloy, Chevron-Texaco, Mark Bennett, Linda Lingle, Tesoro Petroleum, Faye Kurren, Judge Barry Kurren, Enron, Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin, Henry Paulson, Henry Peters, Paul Alston, etc.:
NEW DISCOVERY (08-06-08): Undisclosed conflicts of interest with Gregory Dunn; Hawaii Nature Center; Hawaii Dental Service; Faye Kurren; Judge Barry Kurren; Kamehameha Schools; Dee Jay Mailer; Don Carroll, etc:

www.kycbs.net/CV05-00030-Witness-Rubin-Robert.htm -

NEW DISCOVERY (08-15-08): Undisclosed conflicts of interests between Senator Dan Inouye, Senator Ted Stevens, VECO Corporation, George W. Bush, John McCain, Dick Cheney, Halliburton, Shell Oil, Barack Obama, Aloha Petroleum, James Ahloy, Chevron-Texaco, Mark Bennett, Linda Lingle, Tesoro Petroleum, Faye Kurren, Judge Barry Kurren, Enron, Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin, Henry Paulson, Henry Peters, Paul Alston, etc.:

www.kycbs.net/AIPAC.htm -

Judge Barry Kurren

www.kycbs.net/CV05-00030-Witness-Clinton-Hillary.htm -

NEW DISCOVERY (11-15-08): More undisclosed financial, professional, political and personal conflicts between parties directly and indirectly involved in this case, including Robert Rubin, Henry Paulson, David Farmer, Kenneth Starr, Ron Rewald, Larry Mehau, Governor John Waihee, Governor Ben Cayetano, Dan Inouye, Daniel Akaka, Judge Kevin Chang, Judge Barry Kurren, Judge David Ezra, Henry Peters, Richard Wong, Milton Holt, Sukamto Sia, Guido Giacometti, Paul Alston, Judith Neustadter Fuqua, etc.:
NEW DISCOVERY (08-15-08): Undisclosed conflicts of interests between Senator Dan Inouye, Senator Ted Stevens, VECO Corporation, George W. Bush, John McCain, Dick Cheney, Halliburton, Shell Oil, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Waihee, Bishop Estate, Aloha Petroleum, James Ahloy, Chevron-Texaco, Mark Bennett, Linda Lingle, Tesoro Petroleum, Faye Kurren, Judge Barry Kurren, Enron, Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin, Henry Paulson, Henry Peters, Paul Alston, etc.:
Starr, The Starr Foundation, Webster Hubbell, V.K. Durham, CIA, Gene & Nora Lum, John Huang, Paul Alston, Sam Pryor, Dan Case, Steve Case, Suzanne Case, Jeffrey Case, Aon, Walter Carpenter, Jr., Judith Neustadter Fuqua, William S. Richardson, George Ariyoshi, John Waihee, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, Linda Lingle, Mark Bennett, Earl Anzai, Hugh Jones, Ralph Boyd, Jack Abramoff, Robert Rubin, Henry Paulson, Goldman Sachs, Richard Rainwater, James Ahloy, Aloha Petroleum, Harken Energy, Chevron-Texaco, Gale Norton, The Nature Conservancy, Faye Kurren, Judge Barry Kurren, Dan Inouye, Daniel Akaka, John Peyton, John O'Neill, Frederick Black, Donald Hodel, Carol Muranaka, Curtis Ching, Gayle Lau, Carole Lam, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, Robert Kihune, Harriet Miers, Bruce Babbitt, Norman Mineta, Nancy Pelosi, Judge Kevin Chang, Judge David Ezra, Bank of Credit & Commerce International, Mark McConaghy, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Blackstone Group, Ron Brown, Marc Rich, Helen Cullen, Quintanta Petroleum

Page: 1 2 3 4 5


~ ~ ~



* * * * *


* * * * *


* * * * *


* * * * *

NEW DISCOVERY (05-23-09): More undisclosed conflicts of interests between Judge Barry Kurren, Faye Kurren, AIG, El Paso Corporation, Tesoro, James Ahloy, Paradise Petroleum, Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, Timothy Geithner, Barack Obama, etc.:


~ ~ ~

NEW DISCOVERY (03/30/09): Undisclosed conflicts of interest between Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the United States Department of Justice, Office of the U.S. Trustee, Curtis Ching, Carol Muranaka, Guido Giacometti, Susan Tius, Sukamto Sia, Bank of Honolulu, Diane Plotts, Bob Awana, Linda Lingle, Citigroup, Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton, John Waihee, Ben Cayetano, Goldman Sachs, Colbert Matsumoto, Henry Peters, Matsuo Takabuki, Richard Wong, Jeff Stone, Oswald Stender, Gerard Jervis, Lokelani Lindsey, Nathan Aipa, Colleen Wong, Louanne Kam, John Candon, Clifford Laughton, Timothy Johns, Bishop Museum, Nainoa Thompson, Mark Polivka, Judge Eden Elizabeth Hifo (fka Bambi Weil), Judge Lloyd King, Judge Robert Faris, Judge David A. Ezra, Judge Barry Kurren, Mary Lou Woo, James B. Nicholson, David C. Farmer, Steven Guttman, etc.:

August 24, 2000

Executive Centre units

auctioned for $4 mil

Ownership of the properties
could change during
another round of bids

By Peter Wagner, Star-Bulletin

A Nevada investor has outbid Citibank on 32 residential and two commercial units at Executive Centre, the downtown high rise that once belonged to Indonesian investor Sukamto Sia.

But with court confirmation and another round of bids possibly ahead, ownership of the property is yet to be determined.

Clifford Laughton, president of the Reno-based Nevada Holdings Ltd. and chief executive at Honolulu-based satellite company Columbia Communications Corp., yesterday made the winning bid of $4,000,100.

Laughton's bid topped a $4 million offer by Citibank N.A., the only other bidder at a foreclosure auction at the state courthouse yesterday.

The leasehold properties include 31 residential units, a penthouse, two commercial spaces occupied by Sprint Hawaii and Fujikami Florist and 65 parking stalls.

The heavily mortgaged 41-story building, at 1088 Bishop Street also includes a 120-room Aston hotel, retail outlets including Long's Drugs and Ross Dress For Less and nearly 300 residential units.

The entire property was appraised last year at $39.5 million.

Citibank, the major creditor in a foreclosure action against one of Sia's company's, MKS Executive Partners, took possession last month of most of the 41-story building in a complex bankruptcy deal in which Sia's estate will receive about $500,000.

Citibank affiliate EXCT L.P. took ownership of about 400 units on July 28.

Sia, currently in Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation, originally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in November 1998.

While Citibank yesterday allowed itself to be outbid by $100, the sale is far from over. Under rules of the foreclosure, new bids may be entertained at confirmation but must be at least 5 percent above the auction price.

Foreclosure commissioner John Candon said at least three parties who were silent during yesterday's auction have asked when the confirmation hearing would be. No date has been set.

Laughton yesterday said he would likely honor existing leases at Executive Centre if he remains the high bidder. He said the units are a good investment because of depressed property values and a strong rental market in the downtown area.

While Executive Centre was once a key holding of Sia in Honolulu, the bankruptcy trustee was unable to liquidate the property for creditors because Sia held no equity in it.

His ownership in the building was through MKS Executive Partners, one of his numerous companies.

The 40-year-old businessman owes nearly $300 million to casinos, banks and creditors around the world.


~ ~ ~

NEW DISCOVERY (02-07-09): More undisclosed conflicts of interest between Judge Barry Kurren, Faye Kurren, Tesoro Hawaii, Dan Inouye, Daniel Akaka, Ralph Parsons Company, Bechtel Corporation, Kamehameha Schools, etc.:









~ ~ ~

NEW DISCOVERY (10-29-08): New facts providing more evidence of undisclosed conflicts of interests between Judge Barry Kurren and his wife, Faye Kurren, Paul Alston, Rick Daysog, Eric Grant, John Goemans and other entities involved in this case:

October 29, 2008

Judge orders names be made public in Hawaii school suit

BY RICK DAYSOG, Advertiser Staff Writer

The identities of four unnamed, non-Hawaiian students challenging Kamehameha Schools' admission policy must be made public in 10 days, a federal judge ruled yesterday.

In a 22-page order, U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren said the public, as in other civil rights cases, has "a strong interest in knowing who is using the courts to vindicate their rights."

"The severity of the threatened harm and the reasonableness of plaintiffs' fears do not weigh in favor of anonymity," Kurren wrote. "At most, plaintiffs are vulnerable children who have a reasonable fear of social ostracization."

Kamehameha Schools spokeswoman Ann Botticelli said the schools appreciated the ruling, saying, "Judge Kurren obviously deliberated carefully on the matter."

David Rosen, one of the attorneys representing the students, declined comment yesterday.

Rosen and California attorney Eric Grant previously argued that the disclosure of the students' identities would expose them to public humiliation and retaliation.

Parents of the students who are simply known as Jacob, Janet, Karl and Lisa Doe have said in court papers that they may drop the lawsuit if the children are not allowed to pursue their lawsuit anonymously.

The Does, who are not of Hawaiian ancestry, applied for admission to Kamehameha in the 2008-09 school year, but were rejected.

Kurren's ruling came after a 1 1/2-hour, closed-door hearing on Oct. 21.

By issuing a 10-day stay to his ruling, he allowed the students and their parents to consider whether to continue pursuing the action.

The stay also allows the Does' attorneys to appeal the ruling to U.S. District Judge Michael Seabright, who is assigned to the case.

Founded by the 1884 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Kamehameha Schools is a charitable trust that educates children of native Hawaiian ancestry. The estate is the state's largest private landowner and is one of the nation's wealthiest trusts, with assets of more than $9 billion.

lawyers cite threats

In their court filings, Rosen and Grant cited anonymous threats posted on the Internet and hostile remarks attached to the comments sections of local news stories about the admissions controversy.

Grant and Rosen have noted that the threats were serious enough to prompt U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo in 2003 to issue a warning against anyone looking to harm another non-Hawaiian student, Brayden Mohica-Cummings, who was admitted to the school under a settlement agreement.

Kurren, however, ruled that Grant and Rosen didn't provide evidence of "any threat of physical or economic harm" against the Does.

Botticelli, the Kamehameha Schools spokeswoman, added that the trust's leadership "would never take any action that puts a child in danger."

"We would never engage in or condone any racial threats or actions, and we know our community wouldn't either," she said.

Adrian Kamali'i, a 2000 Kamehameha Schools graduate and president of the student-parent group Na Pua a Ke Ali'i Pauahi, said Kurren's ruling "levels the playing field."

Allowing the students and parents to pursue the lawsuit anonymously takes away any accountability and hides from the public "who is doing what and why," added Jan Dill, a 1961 graduate.

"I think it's tremendous that the judge has demanded transparency in a process that affects thousand of native Hawaiian children," Dill said. "People who take actions like this should stand up and take responsibility rather than hide behind confidentiality."

School hails ruling

Attorneys for the trust Paul Alston and former Stanford University Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan said anonymity has allowed the students' lawyers to portray their clients in a sympathetic light, but gave the trust no means to say whether that portrayal is accurate.

They also noted that in the previous lawsuit challenging the school's admission policy, Grant's co-counsel John Goemans abused his client's anonymity by leaking the details of a confidential settlement.

In that suit, a separate John Doe sought to overturn the trust's Hawaiian-preference admission policy. The policy was upheld by the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and was headed to U.S. Supreme Court before it was settled.

The trust was able to save its admissions policy but ended up paying the student $7 million.

Beadie Dawson, a native Hawaiian attorney and former lawyer for Na Pua, said that given the stakes involved, she expects the Does to appeal Kurren's decision.

"They are looking for another damages settlement, a free hand-out," she said. "Giving them anonymity encourages others to file what I consider to be frivolous lawsuits."

NEW DISCOVERY (10-12-08): New discovery of facts providing clear evidence of undisclosed conflicts of interest involving Judge Barry Kurren, his wife, Faye Kurren, and a number of other entities in this case:


~ ~ ~

NEW UPDATE (09-07-08):

Attorney General of Hawaii

Deputy Attorneys General
425 Queen Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Attorneys for the Beneficiaries



In the Matter of the Estate





~ ~ ~


          The May 7, 1999 order regarding orders to show cause requires the former trustees immediately to resign offices and directorships in the trust’s subsidiary and affiliated organizations... P&C Insurance Company, Inc., is a captive insurance company, the sole stock holder which is Pauahi Holdings Inc.

          The Attorney General respectfully invites the court’s attention to the annual report publicly filed on March 28, 2000 by P&C (Ex. 1). The annual report lists Henry H. Peters as a director. The Attorney General is unable to determine whether the listing is incorrect; or whether Peters remains a director in violation of court order. The Attorney General’s several inquiries of the trust concerning this matter remain unanswered despite the passage of three months (Ex. 2).

DATED: Honolulu, Hawaii, May 5, 2000

Respectfully submitted,

Deputy Attorney General

~ ~ ~


          DOROTHY SELLERS hereby states:

          1. I am a deputy attorney general, and I am familiar with the case records and files in Hawaii First Circuit Court Equity No. 2048 going back to approximately August 1997.

          2. I have personal knowledge of the facts contained in this declaration and am competent to testify to them.

          3. Exhibit 1 is a true and correct copy of the annual report of P&C Insurance Company for the year ending Dec. 31, 1999, filed in late March 2000.

          4, Exhibit 2 is a true and correct letter of my February 15, 2000 letter to counsel for the trust asking for verification that Henry Peters had resigned from P&C and the effective date of the resignation. I have never received a response to that letter.

          5. On March 13, 2000, deputy attorney general Hugh Jones wrote trustee Libkuman (with a copy to general counsel Colleen Wong) about a number of matters. The final two paragraphs of that letter are:

Finally, we also requested some time ago copies of Henry Peters’ letters of resignation from directorships and ex officio positions, and specifically from P&C Insurance Company. Although the resignation letters of the other trustees were filed with the Court, Peters’ were not.

Please respond to these requests before March 31, 2000. Thank you.


DATED: Honolulu, Hawaii, May 5, 2000


See also:






~ ~ ~

NEW DISCOVERY (06-24-08):

Final Decree entered

Date: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 8:17 PM

From: "Steven Guttman" <sguttman@kdubm.com>

To: "Bobby Harmon" <bobby_n_harmon@yahoo.com>, "David Farmer" <farmerd001@hawaii.rr.com>, "Michael Mukasey" <AskDOJ@usdoj.gov>, "Kevin Chang" <sa@hid.uscourts.gov>, "Robert Faris" <hib@hib.uscourts.gov>, "Barry M. Kurren" <richlyn_young@hid.uscourts.gov>, "Carol K. Muranaka" <ustp.region15@usdoj.gov>, "J P Schmidt" <insurance@dcca.hawaii.gov>, "Janet Kamerman" <HONOLULU@FBI.GOV>, "Mark Bennett" <hawaiiag@hawaii.gov>, "Hugh Jones" <hugh.r.jones@hawaii.gov>, "Linda Lingle" <governor.lingle@hawaii.gov>


"Mediation Center of The Pacific" <mcp@mediatehawaii.org>, "Sheryl Nicholson" <office@acluhawaii.org>, "Robert Bruce Graham" <bgraham@awlaw.com>, "James Wriston" <jwriston@awlaw.com>, "Andrew Winer" <winer@pacificlaw.com>, "James Cribley" <jcribley@caselombardi.com>, "Lawrence Goya" <hawaiiag@hawaii.gov>, "Pension Benefit Guaranty Association" <participant.pro@pbgc.gov>, "James B Nicholson" <jamesbnicholson@aol.com>, "Executive Office for U.S. Trustees" <ustrustee.program@usdoj.gov>, "Office of Inspector General US Dept of Justice" <oig.hotline@usdoj.gov>, "George Will" <georgewill@washpost.com>, "Haunani Apoliona" <info@oha.org>, "Leroy Colombe" <lcolombe@ckdbw.com>, "Scott Helman" <shelman@globe.com>, "Bob Nichols" <bob.bobnichols@gmail.com>, "Laura Thielen" <dlnr@hawaii.gov>, "Barry Taniguchi" <communications@hcf-hawaii.org>, "Paul Achitoff" <honoluluoffice@earthjustice.org>, "Laurie Bennett" <info@muckety.com>, "Dave Shapiro" <volcanicash@gmail.com>, "Gail Kim-Moe" <Gkim.moe@gmail.com>, "Marshall Chriswell" <mc@whistleblowers.org>, "Greg Palast" <palast@gregpalast.com>, "Dee Jay Mailer" <ksinfo@ksbe.edu>, "Laser Haas" <laserhaas@msn.com>, "Michael Moore" <mike@michaelmoore.com>, "Texas Observer" <editors@texasobserver.org>, "Brian W. Bisignani" <bbisignani@postschell.com>, "Aon Insurance Managers" <mike_coulter@agl.aon.com>, "William Burgess" <hwburgess@hawaii.rr.com>, "Brian E. Schatz" <teamschatz@gmail.com>, "Patricia Case" <pattycase@aol.com>, "Cheryl Nakamura" <CNakamura@rmhawaii.com>, "Bill Yuen" <billyuen@cymlaw.com>, "Randall W. Wulff" <rwulff@wqsadr.com>, "Karen Spiller" <karen.spiller@baesystems.com>, "Andrew Killgore" <akillgore@wrmea.com>, "Patrick Leahy" <senator_leahy@leahy.senate.gov>, "Pamela A. McCullough" <HONOLULU@FBI.GOV>, "James Duke Aiona" <ltgov@hawaii.gov>, "Ken Conklin" <ken_conklin@yahoo.com>, "William H. Donaldson" <enforcement@sec.gov>, "Ian Lind" <diary@ilind.net>, "Jim Terrack" <tnthawaii@aol.com>, "Andrew Walden" <hfpeditor@email.com>, "All Senators" <sens@Capitol.hawaii.gov>, "All Representatives" <reps@Capitol.hawaii.gov>, "Thomas Fitton" <info@judicialwatch.org>, "Stew Webb" <stewwebb@stewwebb.com>, "Judson Witham" <jurisnot@yahoo.com>, "J C Shannon" <Hapa1234@aol.com>, "Jeff Biener" <jeffandmary@ozarkopathy.org>, "V K Durham" <vkdtdht@pionet.net>, "Richard Grove" <Richard@8thEstate.com>, "Bradley Tamm" <btamm@hawaii.rr.com>, "Susan Tius" <STius@rmhawaii.com>, "Paul Alston" <palston@ahfi.com>, "John Goemans" <wip@kamuela.com>, "William K Slate" <Websitemail@adr.org>, "Lissa Andrews" <landrews@rmhawaii.com>, "John D. Finnegan" <info@chubb.com>, "Terry Mullen" <tmullen@johnmullen.com>, "Margery Bronster" <info@bchlaw.net>, "Michael N. Tanoue" <mtanoue@paclawgroup.com>, "Neil Ambercrombie" <Neil.Abercrombie@mail.house.gov>, "Lyn Flanigan Anzai" <lflanigan@hsba.org>, "Lorraine Inouye" <seninouye@Capitol.hawaii.gov>, "Samuel P. King" <leslie_sai@hid.uscourts.gov>, "Arthur Rath" <imua@spamarrest.com>, "Randall Roth" <rroth@hawaii.edu>, "Rick Daysog" <rdaysog@honoluluadvertiser.com>, "Jim Dooley" <jdooley@honoluluadvertiser.com>, "Robin Campaniano" <aigh001@aighawaii.com>, "Blossom Tong" <blossom.d.tong@marsh.com>, "Sammye Richardson" <sammyerichardson@yahoo.com>, "Daniel Hopsicker" <madcownews@gmail.com>, "Richard L Righter" <righterwmx@aol.com>, "Dirk Kempthorne" <webteam@ios.doi.gov>, "Jeffrey Sia" <Jeff.Sia@excite.com>, "Jim Babka" <downsizer-dispatch@downsizedc.org>, "Truth" <truth@grandecom.net>, "J. C. Jones" <JCJJONES@aol.com>, "Dane Field" <danefl@gucl.com>, "Jeffrey Watanabe" <jwatanabe@wik.com>

Message contains attachments

LT var 6-24-08.pdf (112KB)

Please see attachment


Kessner Umebayashi Bain & Matsunaga
220 South King Street, Suite 1900
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Tel. 808.536-1900

~ ~ ~


September 28, 2000

Black confident of buying Bulletin

The owner of Black Press
expects to resolve issues
in the next few weeks

By Rick Daysog, Star-Bulletin

The Canadian publisher selected as the sole qualified bidder for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin is confident that he can reach a definitive agreement to acquire the 118-year-old afternoon daily.

David Black, owner of Victoria, B.C.-based Black Press Ltd., hopes to resolve several outstanding issues with the Star-Bulletin's owner, Liberty Newspapers Limited Partnership, and Gannett Co., the owner of the rival Honolulu Advertiser, during the next few weeks.

"I don't think there will be a problem," Black said yesterday in a telephone interview from Canada. "I think these issues are small enough and there's enough common sense that we can almost do it on the phone."

Yesterday, Federal Magistrate Barry Kurren selected Black Press as the only qualified bidder for the 63,500-circulation Star-Bulletin, in a major step toward preserving a second editorial voice in Honolulu.

The ruling -- which effectively rejected competing bids by Los Angeles-based Hadland Communications Inc. and a local group composed of former U.S. Rep. Cecil Heftel, Kauai developer Jeff Lindner and Kauai publishers Peter and Jane McClaran -- also directed Liberty and Gannett to negotiate transition issues and other unresolved matters with Black.

"The court is prepared to assist this process to resolve any disputed issues," according to Kurren's order, which also set an Oct. 27 deadline to negotiate a deal.

Kurren and U.S. District Judge Alan Kay have scheduled an Oct. 27 hearing to approve or terminate the deal....


~ ~ ~

NEW DISCOVERY (06-01-08):


Oscar Kurren, a former University of Hawai'i professor and community activist on behalf of the mentally ill and the aged, died Friday June 4, 2004. He was 82. In 1969, Kurren followed one of his Brandeis University professors to the University of Hawai'i. He was a professor for 27 years at UH before retiring in the early 1990s. "He was always a very driven, energetic, passionate guy, and that stands out in my mind about the way he pursued life," said his son, U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren. "I often say that if anybody accuses me of having any compassion in my work it is due to him."

Oscar Kurren was born in Pittsburgh on July 24, 1921. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was part of the ROTC program and a member of the swim team. While a member of the Panther swim team, Kurren was considered for the U.S. Olympic Trials, his son said. After graduating he joined the Army and was a tank commander and an officer with the 10th Mountain Division throughout its Italian campaign during World War II.

After leaving the Army, he received his doctorate in social policy from Brandeis University. "He was really passionate about social policy, politics and justice. He was a true social worker," said his daughter, Beth Kurren Cox. "He was able to go through things (in life) and then find a kind of peace." Cox said her father believed in equity and did a lot of work to ensure that people got the services they needed. She said he was the most resilient man she ever knew, especially after he was twice widowed. "He lost two wives and then managed to find a wonderful girlfriend," she said.

Kurren was an active Rotarian, a member of Temple Emanu-El and an avid golfer and tennis player. Barry Kurren said that after his father retired from teaching, he took the same zest and drive for his former profession and poured it into golf and tennis.

In addition to his son and daughter, Kurren is survived by his longtime girlfriend Ethel Yamane, and two granddaughters, Amy and Laura. A memorial service will be held at Temple Emanu-El on June 16 at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Gaile Kurren Scholarship Fund, University of Hawai'i Foundation. [Adv June 8, 2004]


~ ~ ~

NEW DISCOVERY (05-31-08):

May 31, 2008

Aloha puts Mesa lawsuit up for auction

Legal claims against Mesa another asset
being sold for creditors

By Rick Daysog, Advertiser Staff Writer

For sale: Aloha Airlines' lawsuit against go! airlines.

The trustee for bankrupt Aloha Airlines said yesterday that he will auction off Aloha's potentially lucrative legal claims against the owner of go!, Mesa Air Group Inc.

In April, Mesa agreed to pay $52.5 million to settle a similar suit by Hawaiian Airlines, which alleged that Mesa misused confidential information to launch go! airline.

"A lawsuit is no different than a propeller," said James Wagner, attorney for Aloha's bankruptcy trustee Dane Field. "It's an asset and we're going to sell it."

Aloha, once the state's second largest airline, shut down its passenger service on March 31 and terminated 1,900 workers, in the largest mass layoff the state has ever seen.

The shutdown came 11 days after Aloha filed for bankruptcy for the second time in less than 3 1/2 years.

Aloha sued Mesa in federal court in January 2007, alleging that the Phoenix-based company misused confidential information to drive it out of business. The trial is scheduled for October.

The rights to the Aloha lawsuit will become one more asset to be sold to pay off Aloha's creditors. Wagner said he has "no concept" of what Aloha's legal claims would sell for.

Asset sales so far have included the $10.5 million sale of Aloha Cargo to Seattle-based Saltchuk Resources Inc. and the $2.05 million sale of Aloha's contract services division to Los Angeles-based Pacific Air Cargo.

Wagner said potential bidders for the lawsuit include Aloha's former financial backer, Yucaipa Co. Yucaipa, which is headed by California billionaire Ron Burkle, rescued Aloha during its first bankruptcy and is owed more than $100 million by the defunct carrier.

In court filings, Wagner said Yucaipa has agreed to use a portion of any recovery to create a hardship fund for laid-off employees.

GMAC Commercial Finance, Aloha's chief lender, also agreed to set aside 5 percent of any proceeds it receives from the sale of Aloha's assets to pay the airline's unsecured creditors.

Mesa also could bid on the rights to the suit, in what would result in a settlement of the lawsuit, Wagner said.

Wagner said potential bidders would have to front what could amount to several million dollars in legal bills to bring the case to trial. He noted that Aloha's expert witnesses alone have asked for a $250,000 retainer.

"It's very expensive litigation," Wagner said.

Also yesterday, U.S. District Judge David Ezra rejected a Mesa motion to dismiss the lawsuit and appointed Federal Magistrate Barry Kurren to oversee the case.

The Honolulu Advertiser

~ ~ ~

May 31, 2008

Aloha lawsuit for sale

By Dave Segal, Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Aloha Airlines, which has been on a fast track to liquidate its assets since filing for bankruptcy in mid-March, said in federal District Court yesterday that it plans to sell the legal claim in its 2006 lawsuit against go! parent Mesa Air Group Inc. to the highest bidder.

"A lawsuit is no different than a propeller," said James Wagner, an attorney for Aloha Chapter 7 trustee Dane Field. "It's an asset and we're going to sell it."

He said a motion would be filed Monday or Tuesday and an auction likely would be held the following week.

Wagner said the likeliest bidder would be Yucaipa Cos. LLC, which is Aloha's majority shareholder and second secured creditor behind Aloha's primary lender, GMAC Commercial Finance LLC. Wagner said Mesa also could be a possible bidder.

"As you can imagine, there's probably very few bidders for this asset," Wagner said.

A winning bid by Yucaipa, which is owed $106.7 million, would allow it to control the lawsuit, while a bid by Mesa would be, in essence, an out-of-court settlement. Aloha is suing Mesa for alleged predatory pricing that helped force Aloha out of business, as well as for allegedly misusing confidential information obtained during Aloha's first bankruptcy.

Last month, Mesa settled a suit with Hawaiian for $52.5 million over the misuse of confidential information.

However, Mesa General Counsel Brian Gillman said yesterday that "we haven't even considered bidding" on the Aloha lawsuit.

"We believe the case is without merit and we intend to vigorously defend the case in any proceeding," he said.

Wagner said that unless Mesa decides to settle, Wagner said Yucaipa likely would be the winning bidder. In that case, Aloha creditors would have to wait until the end of the lawsuit to share in any possible recovery.

GMAC, which initially was owed about $49 million, still is due about $34 million following the sales of Aloha's aviation contract services and cargo divisions. If there is additional money left after GMAC is made whole, then Yucaipa would be next in line for up to the $106.7 million it is owed.

Both GMAC and Yucaipa have said they would give 5 percent of any recovery to Aloha.

Federal Judge David Ezra chastised both parties' attorneys yesterday for letting the case sit for two years with very little action. He said he wouldn't allow the case to sit around as "a bargaining chip."

"We're going to be on the fast track in this case and it's not going to be decided two years from today," Ezra said. "This is a case of some importance to the community, and it's also important to the Mesa shareholders."

The trial is scheduled for Oct. 28.


~ ~ ~

NEW DISCOVERY (05-02-08): Judge Barry Kurren’s undisclosed conflicting relationships with members of the Hawaii Judiciary Selection Commission:

April 20, 2000

Trust played role in effort to fund Ige campaign

Campaign laws could have
been violated and it could
have lost its tax-exempt status

By Rick Daysog, Star-Bulletin

Kamehameha Schools coordinated political donations from its outside lawyers to state Sen. Marshall Ige's campaign in what could be a violation of campaign spending laws.

Records subpoenaed by the attorney general's office show that the $6 billion charitable trust played a role in the 1994 campaign contributions to Ige from attorneys C. Michael Heihre and Cheryl Nakamura and the law firms of Ashford & Wriston, Dwyer Imanaka Schraff Kudo Meyer & Kudo and Ching Yuen & Morikawa.

The documents -- discovered last year in the office of former trust manager Namlyn Snow -- include binders containing detailed logs of the attorneys' contributions to the Ige campaign, as well as photocopies of canceled checks to pay for the contributions.

Each attorney or firm contributed $250, for a total of $1,250. All of the checks were received by the Ige campaign on Aug. 17, 1994, and were deposited together in the campaign's bank account on the following day, suggesting that the contributions were bundled by Bishop Estate representatives.

Trust attorneys familiar with the documents said it was clear that Snow, who died last year, had a part in obtaining the donations.

The lawyers added that the estate's interim board of trustees turned over the documents to the attorney general's office and is complying with the state's investigation.

On Monday, the Star-Bulletin reported that an investigation by the attorney general's office had found that the estate engaged in a massive attempt to influence legislation and direct tens of thousands of dollars to isle politicians during the tenure of previous board members Richard "Dickie" Wong, Henry Peters, Lokelani Lindsey, Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender.

The findings of the attorney general's inquiry, along with documents relating to the law firms' contributions to the Ige campaign, were turned over to the state Campaign Spending Commission last week, which has opened a separate investigation of the trust.

Bob Watada, executive director of the state Campaign Spending Commission, also declined to discuss the law firms' contributions to Ige. But speaking generally, Watada said bundling of contributions could be seen as a campaign contribution made under a false name, which is illegal.

Federal law also bars tax-exempt trusts from making campaign contributions or taking part in a political election. Violations could lead to the loss of a charity's tax-exempt status.

The latest disclosure comes as Ige is facing misdemeanor charges for alleged campaign finance abuses. The charges stem from an alleged campaign laundering scheme involving Bishop Estate's architecture and engineering firms. Ige has pleaded not guilty, and a trial is scheduled for next month.

Birney Bervar, Ige's attorney, declined comment on the latest development involving his client's campaign finances.

Attorneys with the Ashford & Wriston and Dwyer Imanaka firms had no response, while Bill Yuen of the Ching Yuen firm said he could not recall the circumstances of the contributions.

Nakamura, who does civil litigation work for the trust at the law firm of Rush Moore Craven Sutton Morry & Beh, said she remembers purchasing the fund-raiser tickets and attending the event with her parents. Nakamura, who lives in Ige's district, added that she may have purchased the tickets with the assistance of Bishop Estate personnel.

Heihre, formerly known as C. Michael Hare, said his donation to Ige was a personal contribution on his own checking account. But Heihre, a partner in the Cades Schutte Fleming & Wright firm and former chairman of the state Judicial Selection Commission, said he could not recall if he discussed his contribution to Ige with Kamehameha Schools personnel.

Each of the law firms that contributed to the Ige campaign has billed the trust tens of thousands of dollars each year for legal work. Last year, the estate paid the Cades Schutte firm about $1.8 million.

Bishop Estate archive


~ ~ ~

From the Broken Trust essay:

... Since 1987, the year in which the trustees were forced to make public the amount of their fees, they have received in excess of $40 million. Fees paid over the past three years have averaged $900,000 per trustee, per year.

The distracting thing about this piece of the mosaic is that people made responsible for preserving $5 to $10 billion of wealth, and carrying out an educational mission that is as important as it is unique, arguably ought to be highly paid.

We think the more important issue is the credentials of the specific individuals who are being paid these large sums of money. Given the estate's ability to pay big-league compensation, one would expect to find an array of phenomenally talented trustees. Yet somehow, with the exception of Oswald Stender, the Bishop Estate trustees simply don't measure up to the job.

Trustee selection

Many people are under the impression that the justices of Hawaii's Supreme Court are legally obligated to select Bishop Estate trustees because that's what the princess put into her will. Not so. Clearly, they don't have to do it. The justices acknowledged as much in 1989 when they refused the request of a woman named Sadie Smith to pick the trustees of her charitable trust.

Acknowledging the obvious impropriety of making trustee selections in their official capacity, the justices tell us they are acting as individuals when they select Bishop Estate trustees. This is a distinction without meaning. To be blunt, it's a dodge.

The reality is that Bishop Estate trustees are selected by five individuals who through no coincidence are also justices of the state Supreme Court. The further reality is that these same five individuals are virtually certain to be called upon to decide cases involving the trustees they select (the estate has been before the Supreme Court at least 18 times in the last 13 years). At a minimum, this creates the appearance of a conflict.

Some people wonder why the justices would stretch logic and judicial ethics to the breaking point just to do something they clearly don't have to do, and then do it poorly.

Can we be blamed for questioning the justices' collective judgment in other areas? After all, if the justices exercise questionable judgment in their individual capacity when selecting trustees, why shouldn't we expect equally questionable decisions in their official capacity? Worse, if selection of trustees is influenced by politics (as we believe it is), why shouldn't the public assume that judicial decisions are equally political?

It is imperative that the Supreme Court enjoy the trust and respect of the entire community. According to Democratic Rep. Ed Case, "The Supreme Court's trustee appointment role has the real potential of undermining and perverting our judicial system, starting with the judicial selection process. Getting out of the Bishop Estate trustee selection business is the single biggest thing the court could do to enhance the court's standing with the public." We agree.

Because that's what the will says

More than 100 years have passed since Mrs. Bishop's death, and if she were here today, she unquestionably would decide some things differently. For example, the princess named five men, who happened to be haole, as the initial trustees of her trust. Does that mean she wanted all future trustees to be of that same make up? Of course not.

In fact, the justices and trustees have themselves occasionally ignored the language of the will -- perhaps with good cause. For example, the will says the schools should be primarily vocational, and only secondarily college preparatory. That's changed. The will also specifically expresses a desire that the schools benefit orphans and others in indigent circumstances, and makes no mention of admissions based on academic ability. Again, the will's instructions have been modified to deal with the demands of the time.

The will specifically provides that the trustees must be "persons of the Protestant religion," and no court case has said that such a requirement is invalid. Yet the current justices of Hawaii's Supreme Court, acting as individuals and not as a court, have indicated that they will ignore the will in this respect when selecting new trustees.

Taking refuge in the literal words of the will is more of an excuse than a reason.

Judicial Selection Commission

To understand why each member of the court would insist upon doing something that we consider unethical, it helps to consider the circumstances of their own selection.

The Judicial Selection Commission is an attempt to take politics out of the selection of judges and justices. A "reform" idea out of the 1978 Constitutional Convention, the commission is a bipartisan group that reviews potential applicants and submits a list to the governor for selection. Previously, the governor alone nominated judges.

One of the most powerful duties of the commission is to decide -- by itself -- whether any judge, or justice, will be retained for another term of 10 years.

We believe that most of the people who served on the commission over the years have been public spirited, well intentioned and capable. But no process, no matter how well designed, will work properly when individuals are determined to manipulate it. For instance, we believe that during the period John Waihee was governor it was common for him to confer ahead of time with several commission members who then would strive to get a predetermined name on each list.

In the words of someone who served on the commission during those years, "If a few members decided ahead of time to do their best to get a particular name on a list, they probably were able to do that. No one is so naive as to think there isn't a certain amount of horse trading going on."

According to a prominent Democratic politician, "The commission always seemed to have at least a few people whose first and foremost allegiance was to Governor Waihee. With people like Warren Price, Tom Enomoto, Michael Hare and Gerry Jervis on the commission, it was easy to get one particular name on a list. The thing, though, is that it already had been determined who was going to get the appointment."

This was the era when the commission put 36-year-old Sharon Himeno on a list for the Supreme Court, from which she was selected by Governor Waihee. It bothered some people that Himeno was Attorney General Warren Price's wife and that she wasn't considered an exceptional lawyer.

But the bigger concern for many was an allegation of a serious ethical lapse in connection with a family corporation's apparent $3 million profit on a back-to-back purchase/sale of a mainland golf course involving Himeno's client, the state Employees' Retirement System. Her nomination to the state's highest court seemed to be based on the fact that she and Price had directed their good friend John Waihee's gubernatorial campaign.

When Judge Walter Heen was interviewed as an applicant for the Hawaii Supreme Court, he was asked by Hare "what kind of person" he might select as Bishop Estate trustee, if he ever had the opportunity to do so. According to David Fairbanks, a current member of the commission, such a question, if asked, would have been "totally improper."

That this question was asked of a candidate for the Supreme Court, by a member of the Judicial Selection Commission, illustrates how the trustee-selection power of justices played a significant role (with respect to some members of the commission) in the consideration of candidates for the state's highest court.

Hare's law firm has been paid more than $10 million in legal fees by the Bishop Estate since 1992. It's an excellent firm, but we find it hard to believe that's the reason it was selected by the trustees.


~ ~ ~

October 20, 1997

Most people would run for cover from...
Bishop Estates legal army

The estate employs a host
of well-connected, top attorneys

By Rick Daysog, Star-Bulletin

When it comes to its legal armament, few can match the arsenal that Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate can bring to the courtroom.

The $10 billion charitable trust -- the state's largest private landowner -- employs an army of well-connected attorneys that includes a former governor, two former state attorneys general and the former chairman of Hawaii's Republican Party.

The estate's outside legal team also lists House Judiciary Chairman Terrance Tom and Bill McCorriston, a former assistant U.S. attorney who has represented former Mayor Frank Fasi and was on the city Charter Commission.

"With this kind of legal cannon pointed at you, most people would run for cover," said Beadie Dawson, attorney for Na Pua a Ke Ali'i Pauahi, which has criticized trustees' management of Kamehameha Schools.

"They've (hired) every good litigation attorney in town."

The estate maintains that it hires attorneys for their expertise. Waihee and Tom were hired because they are good attorneys and not because of their political ties, the estate said.

McCorriston, who is representing the estate in Attorney General Margery Bronster's investigation of the trust, added that the trust is like any major corporation that hires lawyers to represent its diverse legal interests.

For instance, for leasehold and litigation matters, the estate relies on Mike Hare and the Cades Schutte Fleming & Wright law firm. The Verner Liipfert firm conducts much of its Washington, D.C., lobbying, while McCorriston's firm, McCorriston Miho Miller Mukai, has done mostly land-use work, McCorriston said.

Bishop Estate trustee Gerard Jervis considered joining the McCorriston Miho firm several months ago as an outside counsel. But Jervis said he decided against the move because of his heavy workload with the estate.

Jervis denied any conflict since he didn't join the firm.

Jon Miho, one of the firm's founders and a friend of Jervis', added that if Jervis had joined McCorriston Miho, it would have made it more difficult for the firm to do work for the estate.

Jervis also shares close political ties with Washington, D.C.-based Verner Liipfert through its local partner Waihee. Jervis served on the Judicial Selection Commission during the Waihee years.

Verner Liipfert -- whose mainland offices lists former U.S Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, former Republican presidential candidate Robert Dole and former Texas Gov. Ann Richards on its roster -- also employs prominent labor-relations attorney and former Hawaii GOP head Jared Jossem and Renton Nip, who served as state Land Use Commission chairman during the Waihee years, in its local office.

Former Attorney General Warren Price and his successor, Robert Marks, through their firm serve as outside counsels to Verner Liipfert and have conducted legal work for the estate.

To be sure, the legal work for the estate can be lucrative. According to its tax filings, the estate's nonprofit unit paid nearly $4.2 million in legal fees during the year ending June 30, 1996.

More than half, or $2.75 million, went to Cades Schutte, which does the legal work for the estate's leasehold conversions and some of its real-estate litigation.

Waihee's firm, Verner Liipfert, earned $844,245, while the Ching Yuen & Morikawa firm -- whose partners include longtime Waihee friend Bill Yuen -- was paid $580,603.

The estate paid McCorriston Miho $223,079 in legal fees for the fiscal year 1995 and another $235,050 for the 1993 fiscal year.

Randall Roth, University of Hawaii law professor and co-author of a scathing report that helped launch Bronster's investigation of the estate, criticized the large amount of legal fees that the estate pays each year -- especially since it is a nonprofit organization.

While the estate's attorneys are among the top in town, Roth believes that political connections probably play a key role in who gets selected for its legal work.

"This strikes me as an exorbitant amount of money for a charity to be spending on legal fees, especially when it has its own legal department," said Roth. "We can only wonder if the money is well-spent."

And the spending doesn't include legal bills wracked up by Bishop Estate's for-profit subsidiaries.

The estate declined to disclose the amount of legal fees that its for-profit units incur each year. But recent news reports said the estate spent $500,000 to defend an $86.7 million lawsuit that film producer Frederick Field filed in 1995 over soured real-estate investments on the mainland.

An estate subsidiary, Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center Inc., wracked up at least $500,000 in legal bills in the McKenzie Methane Corp. legal battle.

The estate sued the Houston-based natural gas company's founder Mike McKenzie in 1992, alleging that fraud and mismanagement led them to lose some $60 million in the venture.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection in 1994 and was sold to the estate, which now says it has been able to recoup much of its losses in McKenzie Methane.

McKenzie denied the estate's fraud allegations, saying its hardball tactics have made his life a legal nightmare.

He said the estate wrongly accused him of stealing money from Hawaiian children and that the estate's attorneys hired private investigators -- two former FBI agents -- to harass him.

"It's been five years of hell," said McKenzie.

"They've used their money, power and influence to beat the heck out of me."


Suer of estate finds it tough to hire a lawyer

When Bobby Harmon filed a wrongful termination suit against Bishop Estate in February, he couldn't find a lawyer to take his case.

The former president of the estate's in-house insurance company, P&C Insurance Co., was turned down by eight local law firms because they either did business with the estate or wanted to, said John Goemans, Harmon's attorney.

Some were just afraid to oppose them, he said.

"The reality is that it's virtually impossible to take on the estate," said Goemans.

Harmon sued the estate after the estate sued him for releasing confidential information.

The estate said Harmon was fired for cause and that the firing was upheld by a state Department of Labor review, which denied him unemployment benefits.

Documents released by Harmon contained false and defamatory allegations, the estate has also said.

A Circuit Court judge recently ruled that Harmon violated a court order not to disclose estate information. The court also said that Harmon did not act in bad faith since he was acting on advice of his lawyer.

For Goemans, the Harmon case underscores the estate's clout in Hawaii's legal community and the difficulties of opposing it. Goemans said his client has run up about $20,000 in legal bills.

"Few have the capability of resisting a $10 billion behemoth with an unlimited supply of lawyers who have a clear modus operandi of deluging opponents with paper," Goemans said.

By Rick Daysog, Star-Bulletin


Bishop Estate Archive


* * *

For more, see: www.kycbs.net/Dots-Judiciary-Selection-Commission.htm

~ ~ ~

NEW DISCOVERY (04-22-08): David Farmer’s undisclosed connections with AIPAC and Judge Barry Kurren:


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


A few words of explanation:

In his "MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION TO DEBTOR'S MOTION FOR ORDER TO DISAPPROVE APPOINTMENT OF DAVID C. FARMER AS SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE", filed with the Court on August 24, 2007, the Trustee's attorney, Steven Guttman, Esq., of the law firm, Kessner Umebayashi Bain & Matsunaga, stated to the Court:

"... Harmon is once again attempting to create issues of conflict where none exist by attempting to draw connections between phantom dots."...

Mr. Guttman does not elaborate beyond this simple statement of HIS PERSONAL OPINION, as to WHICH of the thousands of connections I have cited that he wishes the Court to accept, without question, as being merely "phantom dots". In other court filings, Mr. Guttman has characterized my Motions as consisting of "conspiracy theories" -- again with no specific references.

Despite these unnamed "phantom dots" and "conspiracy theories", the Court has blithely and unquestionably gone along with Mr. Guttman's opinions and has repeatedly denied ALL Motions that I have made. In fact, both Courts involved have ruled that the Court Clerk shall not accept any future filings from me without the Courts' prior approval - which it has repeatedly declined to give.

Therefore, due to the fact that I continue to discover new, material FACTS almost daily, I am preparing a set of NEW EXHIBITS in which I intend to document the financial, professional, personal, and political connections between the many various entities involved in this case.

~ o ~

The following is a listing of named witnesses in this case who have factual connections with the subject entity. Each underlined name has been linked to a detailed description of that witness to enable the reader to more easily CONNECT THE DOTS TO...


Linda Lingle

Mark Bennett

Judge David Ezra

Judge Barry Kurren

Faye Kurren

Robert Katz

Matt Tsukazaki

George W. Bush

Dick Cheney

Henry Paulson

Robert Rubin

Henry Kissinger

Bill Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama

John McCain

David Farmer

Steven Guttman

Judith Neustadter Fuqua

Brian Schatz

Norm Brownstein

Jack Abramoff

Hank Greenberg

Jeffrey Greenberg

James B. Nicholson

James B. “Jim” Nicholson

Dan Inouye






















~ ~ ~

NEW DISCOVERY (04-11-08): Trustee James B. Nicholson failed to disclose that he was the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee for Defendant’s witness, Peter Savio, even though he was asked specifically if he had any business, professional, personal or political relationships with Mr. Savio:

August, 2003

Hawaii’s Top 250 Companies:

New To The List: Whoa, Savio!

Hawaiian Island Homes' debut is marked by acrimony

By Kelli Abe Trifonovitch, Hawaii Business Magazine

Any interview that focuses on Peter Savio's new company, Hawaiian Island Homes Ltd., will soon focus on another Top 250 company, Central Pacific Bank. Says Savio: "They're malicious. They're vicious. I am going to become a stockholder in Central Pacific Bank. I am going to reform that institution. Their mistake was they stomped me. They didn't kill me. I'm coming back. I'm going to have fun with them."

Go back to the year 2001. Savio Inc., a holding company for eight real estate sales and development companies, was No. 56 on the Top 250, with $134.6 million in 2000 gross sales. But in 2001, Savio Inc. filed for Chapter 7 liquidation, and Peter Savio and his wife filed for personal bankruptcy protection. Savio says he was forced into the bankruptcies because CPB gave him just five days to move from his second-floor offices at 931 University Ave. Savio says he had been in a workout plan with a number of lenders after he started experiencing cash-flow problems in the mid-1990s. But CPB forced his hand.

"The only way to stop them was, I had to file for personal bankruptcy. So to save my employees and everything else, I filed for personal bankruptcy - one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make. But I was really pissed at Central Pacific Bank for doing that," he says.

"It was tough," he adds. "Basically I lost everything. Lost my house. Lost everything. Had to basically come back from nothing."

Today, Savio is more than back. His real estate company, Hawaiian Island Homes Ltd., lists 2002 gross sales of $177 million. Its office is downstairs in the same building that Savio Inc.'s once was. And the company is No. 27, ahead of CPB Inc. (No. 49), something Savio will rejoice to read. Savio says, "I've decided that my goal is to beat them in the Top 250. … just so we can say, 'Nannynannybooboo!'"

That's not all. "My short-term and my long-term goal is to reform Central Pacific Bank," Savio says. "I think I'm going to buy the bank."

Ann Takiguchi, Central Pacific Financial's communications officer, says, "We made every effort to work with Mr. Savio, and it is unfortunate that he is blaming us for his situation. Out of respect for our customers' privacy, we have no further comment. As a matter of bank policy, we don't comment on the affairs of our customers."

Bankruptcy court filings show that Central Pacific Bank claimed that Savio Inc. owed it about $1.5 million when Savio filed for bankruptcy in 2001. The Internal Revenue Service and Pitney Bowes Credit Corp. also listed claims of about $2,000 each.

The court-appointed trustee for Savio Inc.'s bankruptcy case, attorney Jim Nicholson, says the only unencumbered asset of the estate, a unit in the Diamond Head Beach apartment building, was sold for $375,000 in June 2003.

Gross sales for Savio's other new company, Hawaiian Island Development, were not reported for this year's Top 250, so one thing is for sure: Next year, he'll be back. Says Savio: "We're going to set up a new holding company called, 'I Hate CPB.' No, my attorney said I couldn't do that. I have a warped sense of humor, OK? But anyway, the new holding company is going to be Ohia Holdings."

Knowing Savio, there is marked symbolism in that choice. After all, the Ohia tree can be found growing in the middle of old lava flows.

Hawaii Business, August, 2003

~ ~ ~

NEW DISCOVERY (02-09-08): Kamehameha Schools made a “confidential” settlement agreement with the plaintiff in the John Doe vs. Kamehameha Schools case, which my former attorney, John Goemans, Esq., says, according to what he has learned from the IRS, violates the rules for a non-profit charitable trust:

February 9, 2008



An attorney involved in a challenge to Kamehameha Schools'

Hawaiians-only policy reveals the amount of a settlement

By Ken Kobayashi, Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Kamehameha Schools made the first move to settle a legal challenge to their admissions policy giving preference to native Hawaiians and later agreed to pay $7 million, a lawyer involved in the case said yesterday.

John Goemans, an attorney for an unnamed non-native Hawaiian student who filed a lawsuit contesting the policy, said the charitable trust offered for the first time to talk about an out-of-court settlement last May, just days before the U.S. Supreme Court was to decide whether to hear the case.

Goemans, a former Big Island attorney recuperating in Florida from heart surgery, and Sacramento, Calif., lawyer Eric Grant, the lead attorney, represented the unnamed student and his mother.

"They (the schools) approached Eric and said we wanted to settle and we have to settle by Friday morning," when it was believed the high court was to make a decision about accepting the case, Goemans said.

He said it appeared the high court would accept their appeal of an 8-7 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld the policy.

"They (the schools) were worried about losing in the Supreme Court," Goemans said.

Goemans said he did not know how Grant and the Kamehameha Schools arrived at the $7 million figure.

The hotly disputed federal civil rights lawsuit caused a firestorm of controversy among Kamehameha Schools supporters who believed the challenge struck at the more than century-old admissions policy and the heart of the charitable trust's mission to educate children of Hawaiian ancestry.

The confidential settlement was announced on May 14. Those connected with the case repeatedly refused to disclose the terms.

Goemans said he was disclosing the amount because he said he recently learned from Internal Revenue Service officials that Kamehameha Schools, a tax-exempt charitable trust, cannot keep the figure confidential.

"Because exempt organizations operate in the public good, you got to report all your expenses with particularity, and you cannot keep information relative to those expenses confidential," he said. "It's in the public interest to have full disclosure."

Ann Botticelli, Kamehameha Schools spokeswoman, said yesterday the settlement contained a confidentiality clause.

"We intend to honor the terms, and we will not be discussing the settlement or John Goemans' assertions," she said.

Grant said yesterday he had no comment.

Kamehameha Schools, a multibillion-dollar charitable trust and the state's largest private landowner, was established under the 1883 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. It educates more than 6,700 students at its flagship campus at Kapalama Heights, two other campuses on Maui and the Big Island, and 31 preschools throughout the state.

Senior U.S. District Judge Alan Kay upheld the school's Hawaiians-first policy, but a panel of the appeals court in San Francisco ruled 2-1 that the practice violated federal civil rights laws. That decision triggered statewide protests and marches by school supporters.

Later, a larger appeals court panel voted 8-7 to uphold the policy.

It was an appeal by Grant of that 8-7 ruling that was on the doorsteps of the U.S. Supreme Court when the settlement was announced.

At the time, school officials indicated that the settlement calling for the dismissal of the lawsuit leaves intact the appeals court's 8-7 decision upholding the admissions policy.

But the dismissal does not guarantee that another lawsuit might surface and make its way to the high court, although it would first have to go through the federal trial and appeals courts, where the 8-7 ruling would be considered to be binding on the issue. But even if those who file the new lawsuit lose on those two levels, they could still ask the high court to review the case.

Honolulu attorney David Rosen said he has plaintiffs for a lawsuit to challenge the admissions policy. He said the settlement does not affect his case. Rosen said he expects the suit will be filed this year.

Goemans said Grant received 40 percent, or $2.8 million of the $7 million. Goemans said he is preparing to file his own lawsuit seeking to recover a "reasonable percentage" of the $7 million for his work in the case.

Goemans said he found the unnamed student and arranged for Grant to be the attorney for the student and his mother.

"I put the whole thing together," Goemans said. "But for me there would not have been a $7 million payment."

The student never was admitted to Kamehameha Schools because his case was pending. He has since graduated from high school and had been attending college, Grant said last year.


~ ~ ~

February 9, 2008

Amount of settlement raises critical concern

By Robert Shikina, rshikina@starbulletin.com

Supporters and critics expressed surprise yesterday at the $7 million Kamehameha Schools paid a student to settle a lawsuit disputing its Hawaiians-first admission policy.

One Kamehameha Schools alumnus says disclosure of the settlement with the anonymous, non-Hawaiian student will prompt questions among Hawaiians.

"I'm not happy with $7 million," said Kamehameha Schools alumnus Jan E. Hanohano Dill. "Unfortunately, that's a lot of money, and it's going to create a lot of questions in the Hawaiian community whether it was right or wrong and to continue."

Dill, also a board member of Na Pua a Ke Ali'i Pauahi, a nonprofit group whose members include students, parents, and alumni of Kamehameha Schools, said he continues to support the school's decision.

"I don't know the details, and I think that's something that has to be cleared," he said. "You settle because you want to avoid costs that would be incurred as you go forward."

He added, "I have to believe that they understood that this was something good for the Hawaiian people. ... It will be clear as things unfold whether that was true."

Dill, who is also president of the nonprofit Partners in Development Foundation, said the admissions policy must eventually be addressed and that the settlement avoids this case but does not stop other cases.

Marion Joy, former vice president of Na Pua, called the settlement a "misuse of trust funds."

"The trust is continually going to be challenged," she said. "This is not going to be the last. ... As far as settling for the particular lawsuit, it's not in the best interests of the beneficiaries (of the 1883 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop)."

Kamehameha Schools declined comment.

Honolulu attorney David Rosen, who has sought potential clients to sue Kamehameha over its admissions policy after the settlement, sent out a statement yesterday that said the $7 million settlement was used to "buy off this case."

He added that the trustees should open a campus on the Leeward Coast of Oahu and possibly Molokai where increased educational opportunities are needed.

H. William Burgess, a retired attorney and founder of Aloha for All, a group opposed to Hawaiian sovereignty, said the settlement raises questions about the proper use of the trust funds.

"Normally, trustees, if they're doubtful about doing something, they ask the court to give them instructions," he said. "Yet in this case, the biggest charitable trust, probably in the nation, instead of welcoming the opportunity to get the highest court in the land to settle it, they pay $7 million to leave it open. And it is very much open."


* * *

From The Catbird Seat website:

The Wise Old Owl asks: How much of the settlement amount came from Kamehameha’s insurance companies, and how much came from the trust funds? How much did Kamehameha Schools (and/or their insurance company) spend for defense costs in this case before they decided to settle? Who is their insurance company? Their insurance broker? Who actually signed the Settlement Agreement?


~ ~ ~

NEW DISCOVERY (04/09/08): Undisclosed connections between First Hawaiian Bank, Dee Jay Mailer, Faye Kurren and, therefore, Judge Barry Kurren:

May 18, 2005


First Hawaiian Bank today announced the election of three new members to its Board of Directors. They are:

Robert P. Hiam, President & Chief Executive Officer of Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA);

Faye Watanabe Kurren, President of Hawaii Dental Services; and

Dee Jay Mailer, Chief Executive Officer of Kamehameha Schools.

“First Hawaiian is fortunate that these three talented executives, all of whom have deep roots in Hawai‘i, have agreed to serve,” said First Hawaiian Chief Executive Officer Don Horner. “They add a wealth of experience to our Board.”

Hiam has been President and Chief Executive Officer of HMSA, Hawaii’s largest

Hiam attended Pacific Lutheran University in Washington and graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. He is Chairman of the Board of Aloha United Way, Pacific Health Research Institute and the HMSA Foundation and also serves on numerous boards of directors for the health care industry and on many nonprofit boards in the Islands.

Kurren was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Hawaii Dental Service, the largest provider of dental benefits in the state, in 2003. Previously, she served as President of
Tesoro Hawaii Corp. from 1998 to 2003, overseeing its refining, distribution and retail operations for the mid-Pacific region. Kurren originally joined Pacific Resources, Inc. (PRI) as legal counsel in 1984. PRI later became BHP Hawaii and then Tesoro.

A graduate of Punahou School, Kurren holds a law degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa; a master’s from the University of Chicago; and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University. She is the chair of the Hawai‘i State Commission on the Status of Women and serves on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards of directors.

Before becoming Kamehameha CEO last year, Mailer had a 27-year career in health care, including serving as Chief Executive Officer of Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i. She later served as Chief Administrative and Operating Officer of Health Net, Inc., a California health insurance program, and as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of The Global Fund, a Swiss foundation that supports health programs in developing countries.

Mailer, a graduate of Kamehameha, earned a degree in nursing and an MBA from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. She has been active in the Hawai`i Business Roundtable and in several nonprofit boards of directors.

About First Hawaiian Bank

First Hawaiian Bank ($10.8 billion assets) was founded in 1858 and is Hawaii's oldest and largest bank. It has 56 branches in Hawaii, three on Guam and two on Saipan.


~ ~ ~

August 23, 2007

Judge scolds 'Dog' Chapman's attorney for bail mix-up

Honolulu Advertiser Staff

A local attorney representing Duane "Dog" Chapman received a tongue-lashing by a federal magistrate because Chapman and his wife Beth had urged fans to address protests to the court.

After a court in Mexico earlier this month dropped charges against Chapman, Tim Chapman and son Leland Chapman, in connection with the bounty hunter's capture of Andrew Luster, Chapman and his wife issued a statement that they were devastated by U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren's decision to keep the $300,000 bond in place.

They asked fans to call and write to the judge, the prosecuting attorney, the president and Condoleezza Rice.

The problem was that in a closed-door meeting last week, all parties agreed that the prosecutor could have an extra 30 days to consider what to do in light of an appeal filed by Mexican officials. In the meantime, the Chapmans would be free on their own recognizance and the bail would be released.

"When I left the conference on Aug. 15, I thought we were all on the same page," Kurren said.

However, Kurren said he found himself bombarded by e-mails and phone calls by the bounty hunter's fans.

"This is where I have some confusion and unhappiness," he said. "Tell your clients not to contact the court or suggest their fans contact the court," he told Chapman's attorney Brook Hart.

Hart said the confusion arose because the bail bondsman needed written confirmation from the court that the bail bond did not need to be renewed. Now that it has been settled, Chapman has "less reason for any kind of behavior like that," he said.

~ ~ ~

While looking up the Court Calendar on January 15, 2007 (the Martin Luther King holiday) for Defendant’s Hearing on January 16, 2007, I found that the Hearings for January 16th had not yet been posted. However, I discovered that one “in chambers” hearing had been scheduled for Judge Barry M. Kurren. This struck me as curious for a single “in chambers” hearing to be held on a FEDERAL HOLIDAY, so I have included it here, for the record:

~ ~ ~


Court Calendar for Monday, January 15 2007









CV 01-00187MEA-BMK


Whirlpool Corporation
Timothy J. Hogan

CIT Group/Business Credit, Inc., et al.
Paul Alston Louise K. Y. Ing Thomas E. Bush John S. Nishimoto Calvin E. Young Margery S. Bronster Jeannette E. Holmes Robert E. Badger Eric J. Glassman Renee K. Costa

Further Settlement Conference



~ ~ ~

Hawaiian Airlines, et al v. Gotbaum, et al

Case Number:



June 23, 2005


Hawaii District Court


Hawaii Office [ Court Info ]

Presiding Judge:

Judge David Alan Ezra

Referring Judge:


Nature of Suit:

Bankruptcy - Appeal


28:0158 Notice of Appeal re Bankruptcy Matter (BAP)

Jury Demanded By:


~ ~ ~

August 20, 2006

Whistleblowers say ordeal not worth it

By Rob Perez, Honolulu Advertiser

George Smith Jr. wouldn't do it again.

Neither would Kenneth Mersburgh, Solomon Silva, Norman Salsedo nor Charles Wiggins.

All five were Hawai'i whistleblowers whose reports of wrongdoing the past several years led to criminal prosecutions of fellow government workers for charges ranging from theft to bribery.

While cracking down on illegal activities was a positive outcome, the five said the retaliation they suffered for stepping forward was so great that they would keep their mouths shut if faced with similar circumstances again.

"It's sad to say (that), but it just wasn't worth what I went through and what my family went through," said Wiggins, a former Honolulu Liquor Commission investigator whose testimony helped convict eight fellow investigators but who eventually left the state because of the fallout.

Smith, who suffered retaliation after disclosing abuses at Kailua Wastewater Treatment Plant, said the stress contributed to health problems and became a major drag on his life. "You end up bringing your problems home. You don't sleep at night. It snowballs right to the bottom of whatever you're involved with," he said.

As the state and city in recent years have taken steps to encourage more people to report fraud and other wrongdoing, Smith, Wiggins and others who have gone through the process say it generates so much strain at work and home that they would advise others to think twice about stepping forward.

Not even the prospect of a sizeable financial award would be enough to tilt the balance, they say.

Two other whistleblowers said they would do it again, either because they were obligated as law enforcement officers to do so or because they believed people were being physically harmed. But even they advised caution, noting the constant harassment they endured.

If government insiders are reluctant to blow the whistle, the public can pay a hefty price. Fraud and waste can go unchecked.

Had two whistleblowers not stepped forward, for instance, to disclose billing irregularities at the state's largest long-term-care provider, Hale Nani Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, the state may not have reached a 2003 settlement that resulted in more than $1 million in penalties and reimbursements going to the government.

The two Hale Nani whistleblowers split a $250,000 reward.


The fallout that whistleblowers tend to suffer is not a problem unique to Hawai'i. No matter the setting, those who go public with charges of wrongdoing often are branded as snitches or troublemakers, bucking in some cases an accepted workplace culture.

Stepping forward can be so traumatic that the Government Accountability Project, a national nonprofit group that defends whistleblowers, doesn't advise people to do it.

"It weighs so heavily on a person's life that we don't actively encourage it," said Dylan Blaylock, the project's communication director. "We leave that decision to the person."

Two recent cases in which Honolulu government workers won their whistleblower lawsuits underscore the difficulties such tipsters can face — even when they prevail at trial, which is rare. Most cases are resolved before going to trial.

Howard Tom Sun, a city painter, alleged that he was written up in 2000 by his supervisor, isolated, not given job duties and denied leave after he reported concerns about workplace hazards, including discovering a punctured gasoline tank at the Pali Municipal Golf Course. At one point, Tom Sun said in a sworn affidavit, a supervisor called Tom Sun's co-workers to a meeting and threatened them if they helped with his whistleblower case.

A year ago, a federal jury found in favor of Tom Sun and awarded him $1.5 million in damages. At the time, Tom Sun said the jury was sending a message to the city that it should be more concerned about its workers and the public.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren several months later virtually wiped out the award, reducing the amount to $1. Although Kurren upheld the jury's findings that Tom Sun's constitutional rights were violated after he spoke out, the judge ruled that Tom Sun failed to prove any actual damages and therefore was entitled to only a nominal award of $1. Kurren also denied Tom Sun's request that the city pay his attorney fees, which totaled more than $147,000, according to court records.

In his January written ruling, the judge noted that Tom Sun continued to work as a city painter, that his duties and work conditions appeared to be unchanged and that the city's policies for painters essentially remained the same.

"In short, this litigation accomplished little beyond giving to the plaintiff the satisfaction of having a court recognize that his constitutional rights were violated," Kurren wrote.

Venetia Carpenter-Asui, Tom Sun's attorney, argued that the court denied her client the opportunity at trial to provide evidence regarding damages. In a court filing, she asked for a new trial, but Kurren denied that request as well.

Carpenter-Asui and Tom Sun did not respond to Advertiser requests for comment.


Although favorable jury verdicts for plaintiffs are rare in whistleblower cases in Hawai'i — only a few have been reported over the past decade — a second one came in May.

A state jury found that the city retaliated against Smith, Silva and Salsedo, who at one time all worked at the Kailua sewage treatment plant, for reporting suspected wrongdoing several years ago. The jury awarded each $25,000 in damages.

The jury did not find in favor of Mersburgh, another plant worker and the fourth plaintiff in the lawsuit. Mersburgh was the first to report suspected wrongdoing to police and prompted the other three to come forward.

Their whistle-blowing led to an investigation that resulted in one Kailua plant supervisor, Harry Hauck, pleading guilty in 2004 to theft, and another supervisor, Jay Gonsalves, pleading no contest last year to theft.

Silva and Salsedo told police they were taken by Hauck to work on a sprinkler system at the home of Gonsalves' relative while on overtime with the city. Hauck and Gonsalves were friends. Salsedo told police in one instance in 2002 he spent more than four hours at the private residence.

Yet after the wrongdoing came to light, both supervisors were promoted while the four rank-and-file employees suffered retaliation, the workers said.

"The system is a failure," Silva said.

In court documents, Hauck's attorney even cited the fact that his client was promoted after being disciplined to argue that the criminal charges should be dismissed because the case was old. Two bribery charges subsequently were dropped.

For at least three of the four whistleblowers, their lives have since taken a turn for the worse. Mersburgh is on unpaid leave, and Smith is fighting the city over compensation issues for a planned retirement he said was hastened by the retaliation. Silva was fired for allegedly threatening a supervisor. The jury ruled the firing did not violate his rights, but Silva said the incident happened because of the retaliation.

Only Salsedo, a mechanic now working at the city's Sand Island treatment plant, has fared better on the job, having been promoted twice. But even he believes the system leaves whistleblowers unprotected from harassment. He said he was the target of threatening and intimidating comments, sometimes even getting calls at home.

Asked if he would ever blow the whistle again, Salsedo didn't hesitate with a reply: "I wouldn't even think twice about opening my mouth. I would just look the other way."

The city declined to answer questions about this case or others because they involved personnel matters, which are confidential.

Rodney Ching, Hauck's attorney, said his client accepted responsibility for what he did but isn't the criminal some people might make him out to be. He noted that Hauck's guilty plea was deferred, and the city promoted him because his bosses recognized the incident was a minor blip in an otherwise stellar career.

Gonsalves' attorney didn't respond to requests for comment.


It is unusual for whistleblower cases to enter the court arena, partly because attorneys are reluctant to take them on unless the potential for damages is enough to justify filing a lawsuit.

Over the past 12 years, the city has handled only 14 such lawsuits, according to city figures. Five, including the Tom Sun and Kailua sewage-worker cases, resulted in financial settlements or jury verdicts against the city. The settlements and verdicts totaled nearly $1.2 million. Seven of the lawsuits are still pending, while two were dismissed.

Employees can avoid the potential fallout from blowing the whistle if they do so anonymously. But workers say that usually doesn't result in a serious investigation. Anonymity also tends to make investigating a case more difficult because investigators can't ask follow-up questions.

While Hawai'i whistleblowers say they weren't afforded adequate protection from retaliation, the state's Whistleblower Protection Act is considered a strong one.

"I think Hawai'i has as broad protections as anywhere," said attorney David Simons, who represents whistleblowers.

The law basically prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who reports or is about to report a suspected violation of law or regulation. In 2002 it was strengthened to broaden the circumstances under which the law applies and to lengthen the statute of limitations to two years, instead of 90 days.

The problem, according to those who have gone through the process, is that the law doesn't prevent the many different ways, sometimes subtle, sometimes indirect, that a person can be harassed and intimidated before and even after a lawsuit is brought.

Detective Kenneth Kamakana, a highly decorated Honolulu Police Department officer who received $650,000 from the city in 2003 to settle a whistleblower case, said he was subject to constant harassment, had his car vandalized, was shunned by other officers and given the least desirable assignments after reporting to the FBI about alleged wrongdoing in HPD's elite Criminal Intelligence Unit.

"It was like hell," Kamakana said.

In a recent interview over breakfast, Kamakana said he still suffers nightmares because of the horrible experiences. Yet he said he would report suspected wrongdoing again if faced with similar circumstances because "that's my job. If you can't do your duty, you don't belong in this occupation."

Dr. Terry Allen, a former Hawai'i prison physician, likewise said he would blow the whistle again, although he probably wouldn't pursue a civil lawsuit.

Allen was awarded $110,000 in damages from the state in 1999 for retaliation he suffered after publicly disclosing inmate abuse.

The state appealed the federal court decision, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling in 2002. Allen's attorney fees, which the state also had to pay, totaled more than $500,000.

Allen, now a Washington state resident, said the system is not designed so the typical worker can fight back. The tremendous amount of time and cost involved in taking such a fight to court — with no guarantee of winning — makes the process beyond the reach of most people, he said.


Attorney Michael Lilly, a former state attorney general, said he's turned down hundreds of people who had meritorious whistleblower or wrongful termination cases over the years, not because they lacked merit but because the potential damages didn't justify pursuing litigation.

"We're talking about in most cases David vs. Goliath," Lilly said. "Those employees are taking on a gorilla who has most of the evidence" and tremendous resources to devote to a case.

Many people don't even bother to call attorneys, let alone report their concerns to superiors.

Randy Perreira, deputy executive director of the Hawai'i Government Employees Association, said he hears about cases in which workers are reluctant to speak up because of retaliation fears.

"That feeling is very real," he said.

Perreira noted that the union in a few cases in recent years has pursued grievances on behalf of employees who alleged they were retaliated against.

To encourage people to report fraud against the government, the state enacted a law in 2001 that allows whistleblowers to get a percentage of money recovered by the government.

Attorney Tom Grande, who has represented clients using that statute, believes it has had a major effect on not only recovering money for the government but stopping practices that hurt the delivery of healthcare to seniors and the poor.

In one such case, the state reached a $4 million settlement in a medical-fraud lawsuit in 2001, and the two pharmaceutical company employees who disclosed the illegal recycling of prescription drugs split $750,000.


The city encourages workers to report misconduct and provides a variety of ways, including a complaint line, to make such reports.

Whenever a city employee files a complaint about another worker, both parties are reminded that retaliation is prohibited, according to city spokesman Bill Brennan.

When the whistleblower law works, the wrongdoing is identified, corrected and no retaliation occurs, Brennan said.

He questioned the notion that few cases come to light because employees are afraid to report suspected wrongdoing. "In the end, there may not be anything about which to 'blow the whistle,' " Brennan said in a written response.

Wiggins, the former city liquor inspector, said the city didn't seem to welcome his stepping forward. The city never even thanked him for his role in helping federal authorities get convictions of the other liquor inspectors, he said.

"The city treated me like I was a pariah, (like) I was the bad guy," he said.

In 2003, Wiggins settled his whistleblower lawsuit against the city for $387,500. The government did not admit liability.

But even after Wiggins moved to the Mainland, the case continued to haunt him.

Wiggins said he was turned down for numerous law enforcement jobs after the agencies learned he was a whistleblower. "No one wants to hire one," he said. "It was like poison."

Only three months ago, Wiggins landed his first job in law enforcement since leaving Hawai'i. He was hired as an investigator for the Virginia public defender's office. But Wiggins said his nine years with HPD and his nine years with the liquor commission were not counted toward his salary, essentially meaning he is getting rookie pay.

Despite all that has happened, Wiggins doesn't regret blowing the whistle. But he said his experience sends a clear message to others contemplating blowing the whistle. "What it says is you're better off keeping your mouth shut," he said.


~ ~ ~

February 17, 2000

MidPac Lumber liquidation ordered

By Peter Wagner, Star-Bulletin

MidPac Lumber Co. has been ordered into bankruptcy after a mainland creditor sold the company's assets last month claiming the building supplier defaulted on an $8 million loan.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Lloyd King granted an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy earlier this week, requiring proceeds of a recent liquidation auction and other assets be turned over to the court to be split up among creditors.

MidPac, a holding of CGBN Inc., in August began liquidating its merchandise under pressure from The CIT Group/Business Credit Inc., a California-based lender. MidPac closed its doors and auctioned its remaining assets last month.

According to court records, proceeds of the Jan. 19 auction -- $742,970 -- are being held by CIT.

CIT filed a request in bankruptcy court two weeks ago asking to keep the proceeds. The lender said MidPac owes $2,352,733 of an $8 million loan signed in March 1998.

But three mainland building suppliers last month filed a petition asking that MidPac be put involuntarily into a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. MidPac did not respond with the required 20-day period, automatically triggering the bankruptcy.

Under Chapter 7 of the federal bankruptcy code, a debtor's assets become the property of the court, which then divides them among creditors according to a system of priorities.

The three creditors seeking the involuntary bankruptcy -- Forest Grove Lumber Co. of McMinnville, Ore., Premdor Inc. of Walkerton, Ind., and Klupenger Lumber of Portland, Ore. -- are claiming a total of $1,119,983 in debts from MidPac. They are among numerous creditors identified in the filing.

The creditors filed for the bankruptcy on Jan. 18, a day before MidPac liquidated its goods at a public auction.

CIT claims its loan to MidPac is secured by a first-priority lien on the company's property. The company said MidPac also may have uncollected assets including $50,000 in unpaid bills, a $180,043 promissory note, and possible legal claims against third parties.

According to CIT's filing, MidPac has no other property "of any significance."

MidPac parent CGBN is controlled by businessman Kurt Glassman, whose related company CG Investments owned Maui Home Supply. Maui Home Supply recently closed both of its stores on Maui and liquidated merchandise.

Glassman, also associated with Pacific Advisory Group, could not be reached for comment yesterday. Court records show Glassman with an address in Palos Derdes Estate, Calif.

Two weeks ago he declined to comment on the impending bankruptcy, saying it was "premature" to discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, several other suppliers have sued MidPac in separate actions in Circuit Court, claiming unpaid bills for goods and services. One of them, Michigan-based Whirlpool Corp. is demanding payment and damages from MidPac and Maui Home Supply, formerly the largest Whirlpool distributor in the state.

According to an Oct. 29 civil complaint filed by Whirlpool, MidPac allegedly tried to defraud creditors by transferring an undisclosed inventory of Whirlpool products to Maui Home Supply without payment to the affiliate company. The complaint also alleges that payments were made by MidPac to pay for ground leases and other obligations of Maui Home Supply.


~ ~ ~

The following is from a letter that I wrote to the American Arbitration Association:

September 19, 2003

Ms. Julie A. Schermerhorn, Supervisor, and
Mr. Justin W. Schuck, Case Manager
American Arbitration Association
6795 North Palm Avenue, 2nd Floor
Fresno, California 93704

RE:    Mary Lou Woo, Trustee v. Bobby N. Harmon
Case No. 74 166 00491 03 JUSC

Dear Ms. Schermerhorn and Mr. Schuck:

This responds to your letter dated September 18, 2003, in which you state regarding my letters of August 26, September 8, 15 and 17, 2003, and Steven Guttman’s letter of September 15, 2003: “After careful consideration of the parties’ contentions, the Association has determined that Judith Neustadter, Esq. will be reaffirmed as the arbitrator in the above matter.”

As I have stated in previous letters, there are many additional connections that I can offer to illustrate why Judith Neustadter’s position on the Maui Planning Commission should disqualify her as neutral arbitrator, but that it was my belief that the ones I had described should be sufficient. Since this, unfortunately, is not the case, I feel it is necessary to offer these additional comments to further support my request that Ms. Neustadter be disqualified.

In my letter of September 15, 2003, I gave details on the connections of Insurance Commissioner J.P. Schmidt to Maui County. In my letter of September 17th, I presented facts regarding the connections of Colbert Matsumoto to Kamehameha Schools and Hawaii’s Land Use Commission. This letter will identify further individuals and organizations that have similar conflicting personal, political and financial connections to this case:

Torkildson Katz Fonseca Moore & Hetherington

This law firm, which was named in my RICO lawsuit, and which falsely claims to be the authorized Claims Administrator for P&C Insurance Company in this arbitration matter, has also represented the County of Maui in federal court matters. To cite just one example: Casino et al. V. Inter-State Pharmacy Corp., et al.

Hiluhilu Developments LLC

This development company is seeking reclassification of more than 725 acres north and mauka of Kona International Airport to build a subdivision of more than 750 dwellings, an 18-hole golf course and a University Village. Hilulilu is a partnership of Guy Lam of Keauhou-Kona Construction Corp. and Charles Schwab, founder of the largest discount brokerage in the nation. Guy Lam has extensive connections with Kamehameha Schools and their for-profit development subsidiary, Keauhou-Kona Resort Company. Hiluliu has entered into a memorandum of agreement with the University of Hawaii to coordinate planning of the subdivision and UH-West Hawaii Center.

Guido Giacometti and Susan Tius

Guido Giacometti was the former head of Kamehameha Schools’ Asset Management Division; the former CEO for Grove Farm; and is the current bankruptcy trustee for Sukamto Sia. He is also the husband of Susan Tius who represented Kamehameha Schools in our bankruptcy case.

Susan Tius is also one of the individuals who I am claiming has a conflict of interest with Trustee Mary Lou Woo in this case. This conflict is one of the issues to be decided by this arbitration.

Susan Tius is also the attorney representing the Maui Home Supply bankruptcy estate. According to newspaper accounts, the Maui Home estate has hired the firm of Sterling & Tucker Inc. to help search for missing assets, but has yet to recover any.


~ ~ ~

July 25, 2000

High-profile Lawyer to represent isle defendant

The Texas man specializes
in death-penalty cases

By Debra Barayuga, Star-Bulletin

A federal magistrate has appointed Texas lawyer Richard Burr, an expert in capital punishment cases, to represent Richard Chong in his recent motion to withdraw his guilty plea and stand trial.

Burr represented Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh during his trial and more recently Eugene Frederick Boyce, a drifter who was found unfit to stand trial for the slaying of a Big Island park ranger last December.

Chong, charged in what would have been Hawaii's first death penalty case in decades, pleaded guilty under a plea agreement for using a firearm in the 1997 killing of William Noa Jr. in a drug-trafficking offense.

U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren said yesterday it would be appropriate that Chong be represented in his limited motion by a death-penalty-qualified attorney because of the seriousness of the case. He set a status conference for August 8 to set a date for Chong's motion.

Burr of Houston is expected to meet with Chong as early as next week. Honolulu attorney Birney Bervar has agreed to be co-counsel.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Sorenson had argued against appointment of another death-penalty-qualified attorney for Chong, saying it would cost unnecessary time and expense. He had argued last week that Chong's motion, just days before he was to be sentenced, was simply a ploy to allow him to stay in Hawaii longer in hopes the death penalty will be dismissed.

Chong was to have been sentenced to a life term without parole yesterday for pleading guilty to Noa's murder.

But U.S. District Judge Alan Kay put off the sentencing, saying it was of "grave importance" that Chong be represented in his motion.

Three attorneys who represented Chong for the past year and a half, including Marcia Morrissey, a death-penalty-qualified attorney from Santa Monica, Calif., said they could not represent him because they felt his plea was "in his best interest" and he agreed to the plea knowingly.


~ ~ ~

September 28, 2001

Convicted murderer
commits suicide

By Rosemarie Bernardo, Star-Bulletin

Richard Lee Tuck Chong was found dead Tuesday in his cellblock at the federal penitentiary in Lompoc, Calif.

Assistant federal public defender Michael Weight, who represented Chong in a federal murder case, said he was notified by the penitentiary's chaplain of Chong's death.

It is believed Chong, 50, took his life Tuesday night, Weight said.

"This was a calculated decision on his part," he said.

Weight declined to provide further details of Chong's death.

Chong, known as "China," was the first person to face the death penalty in Hawaii since the 1950s, but at the end of June, Chong was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of William Noa Jr. over a $100 drug debt.

Chong had a history of violence that included sexually assaulting and robbing a 48-year-old woman, holding an ice pick to an inmate's throat while sodomizing him and robbing two woman at a Manoa home.

Chong was transferred from the Oahu Community Correctional Center to the San Bernardino Penitentiary in August before he was sent to the penitentiary at Lompoc.


~ ~ ~

Ellis et al v. Emery et al

Appellant: William S. Ellis, Jr.

Appellees: Richard B. Emery, Taylor Leong & Chee, Long Group (The), Richard B. Ferguson, Hugh Menefee Developemnt Corp., David C. Farmer and Barbara Sumida

Debtor: Upland Partners

Trustee: U.S. Trustee, Office

Case Number: 1:2007cv00128

Filed: March 8, 2007

Court: Hawaii District Court

Office: Hawaii Office

County: Honolulu


Referring Judge: JUDGE BARRY M. KURREN

Nature of Suit: Bankruptcy - Appeal

Cause: 28:1334 Bankruptcy Appeal

= = =

Ellis v. Kessner Duca Umebayashi Bain & Matsunaga

Case Number: 1:2006cv00167

Filed: March 23, 2006

Court: Hawaii District Court

Office: Hawaii Office


Referring Judge: JUDGE BARRY M. KURREN

Nature of Suit: Bankruptcy - Appeal

Cause: 28:1334 Bankruptcy Appeal

~ ~ ~

Judge Barry Kurren is expected to testify regarding the facts and circumstances regarding the Settlement Agreement at issue in this case, and his personal, professional, financial and social relationships with Faye Watanabe Kurren, The Nature Conservancy, Henry Paulson, Kekoa Paulsen, Kimo Kaloi; Bill Mills, Wayne Minami, Sanford Murata, David Black, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Clayton Hee, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Dennis “Bumpy” Kanehele, Leonard Millman, Invesco, Larry Mizel, Norman Brownstein, Jean E. Rolles, Outrigger Enterprises, Hawaii Dental Services (HDS), Gary Rodrigues, Robin Haunani Rodrigues Sabatini, William S. Richardson, First Hawaiian Bank, Walter A. Dods, Donald G. Horner (First Hawaiian Bank), Dee Jay Mailer, Judge David Fong; Judge Kevin Chang, Judge David Ezra, Judge Lloyd King, Judge Robert Faris, Sanford Murata, Matsuo Takabuki, Earl Anzai, Lyn Anzai, Ben Benson, Susan Tius, Guido Giacometti, Sukamto Sia, Henry Peters, Richard Wong, Constance Lau (American Savings Bank and Kamehameha Schools), BHP Hawaii, Tesoro Hawaii, Aloha Petroleum, Harken Energy, Alii Petroleum, Paradise Petroleum, Robert F. Miller, Esq. (attorney who headed the state’s antitrust division in the Attorney General’s office from 1979 to 1981, attorney who represented the UPW in the Gary Rodrigues case, and attorney for Marsh & McLennan in Defendant’s RICO lawsuit), James Ahloy, Francis Ahloy Keala, J.W.A. “Doc” Buyers, Bert Kobayashi, Art Woolaway, Patty Woolaway, Evan Dobelle, The University of Hawaii Foundation, Mark McConaghy (PricewaterhouseCoopers), Elizabeth Hanford Dole, Hawaii Chapter, American Red Cross, Jean Rolles (Outrigger Hotels), Bennette Evangelista (Central Pacific Bank), Robert F. Clarke (Hawaiian Electric Industries), Edwina Clarke (Kamehameha Schools and P&C Insurance Co.), Peter Lewis (Hawaiian Electric Industries), Perry Confalone (Torkildson Katz Fonseca), Robin Campaniano (AIG), Paul Casey (Hawaiian Airlines), Allen Doane (Alexander & Baldwin, Schidler Group), Gary North, Matson Navigation Company (A&B), Jeffrey Stone (Ko Olina Partners), Waikiki Aquarium, Larry Johnson (Bank of Hawaii and Summit Communications), Carol Muranaka, Mary Lou Woo, Steven Guttman, Alan J. Ma, Benjamin Matsubara, Hawaiian Business Roundtable, Mitch D’Olier (Hawaiian Airlines, Kaneohe Ranch Co., Harold K.I. Castle Foundation, and Victoria Ward, Ltd.), Jeffrey Harris, Esq. (of Torkildson Katz Fonseca...), David Carey (Outrigger Enterprises Inc.), Clyde Mark (Kamehameha Schools, P&C Insurance Co., Outrigger Enterprises), Roger Drue (Hawaii Pacific Health), Peter Carlisle, Charles Marsland, Howard Tom Sun, Judge Alan Kay, James B. Nicholson, Larry Price, June Jones, David Farmer, Joshua Gotbaum, Leslie Osborne, and others yet to be named upon discovery.

Judge Barry Kurren is also expected to testify as to why he failed to disclose any of these relationships, and why he did not recuse himself from Defendant’s underlying RICO case and subsequent settlement negotiations.

Internet References:



Hawaii Dental Services: Insurance Vampires in the Dentists’ Chairs

PGMA: Insurance Vampires in the Doctors’ Offices 

Connecting the dots to...The Hawaii Judiciary Selection Commission

Tracking the Flock of AIPAC Vultures

The Silence of the Whistleblowers

~ ~ ~







Bias Complaints / Motion to Recuse / Judicial Independence













Documents, News Articles and Related Links







http://starbulletin.com/2005/10/29/news/story01.html *

















www.kycbs.net/AlohaHarken.htm *

www.kycbs.net/IndonesianConnection.htm *









www.kycbs.net/AAA-12-16-3.htm *
















































IRS - PricewaterhouseCoopers, Arm’s Length and Intermediate Sanctions







First Amendment Rights/Obstruction of Justice














Hawaii Dept. of Labor - CV 98-2394-05 - Unemployment Insurance Appeal




RICO Lawsuit - 99-CV-00304-DAE-BMK








Equity 2048 -The Richards Report

Pages 1-26; Pages 26-49; Pages 50-75; Exhibit 2; Exhibit 2b

XL Reinsurance Policy No. XLRKS-01796




Equity 2048 - Related Correspondence and Documents














IRS Closing Agreement for Kamehameha Schools



The Na Kumu Book Advisory Group





Apartheid, Hawaiian Style


Broken Trust: Greed, Mismanagement & Political Manipulation








Lost Generations: A Boy, A School, A Princess


KITV Special Report




* * * * *


July 1, 2005: Originally posted on www.the-catbird-seat.net

March 13, 2007: Judge David Ezra signs Order to shut down website

August 9, 2009: Most recent update on www.kycbs.net


* * * * *