Bishop Estate

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The Bishop Estate was created in 1884 by the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the great-granddaughter of King Kamehameha the great. Princess Pauahi died of cancer at the age of 52 and left the most of her estate for the benefit of the Kamehameha Schools. Princess Pauahi specified that the estate be governed by a five member board of trustees, to be appointed by the Hawaii Supreme Court.

The governor of the state of Hawaii appoints the Supreme Court justices and also provides the names of candidates to be considered for the Bishop Estate Trustee position.

The Bishop Estate is the largest private property owner in the state of Hawaii and having assets of around $10 billion whose sole beneficiary is the Kamehameha Schools, located on a ridge above Honolulu.

On August 9, 1997, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin published an article by five prominent citizens of Hawai'i titled, "Broken Trust", in which the removal of all but one of the trustees was recommended and the state of Hawaii was urged to investigate the Board of Trustees.

The "Broken Trust" article was written by:

  • Gladys Brandt, former principal of Kamehameha School for Girls and chairwoman of the University of Hawaii's Board of Regents
  • Walter Heen, retired state appeals court judge and a former state legislator and city councilman
  • Msgr. Charles Kekumano, chairman of the Queen Liliuokalani Estate and a retired Catholic priest
  • Samuel P. King, senior U.S. District Court judge
  • Randall Roth, University of Hawaii law professor specializing in wills, trusts and taxes.

The state attorney general, Margery Bronster and the IRS conducted investigations. On May 7, 1999, Probate Judge, Kevin Chang ordered the trustees temporarily removed after the IRS threatened to revoke the estate's tax-exempt status. By December 13, 1999, all five of the Bishop Estate Trustees had either resigned or were permanently removed by court order.

The Bishop Estate trustees at that time were:

New temporary trustees were appointed, the management style of the Board of Trustees was changed and a new CEO was hired, Hamilton McCubbin. The official name of the trust was changed to the name to Kamehameha Schools.

The new permanent trustees named in November 2000 were:

  • J. Douglas Ing, a local attorney.
  • Nainoa Thompson, a Hawaiian navigator.
  • Diane Plotts, former Hemmeter Development Corp. executive.
  • Constance Lau, American Savings Bank executive.
  • Robert Kihune, a retired admiral. [1]

External Links

  • Kamehameha Schools / Bishop Estate Archives (Honolulu Star-Bulletin)
  • Kamehameha Schools
  • Star-Bulletin excerpts from "Broken Trust: Greed, Mismanagement & Political Manipulation at America's Largest Charitable Trust" by Samuel P. King and Randall W. Roth.
    • EXCERPTS: CHAPTER 20 How grass-roots efforts stopped a 'runaway train' -- A new book documents the rise, slide and rescue of land-rich Bishop Estate By Susan Essoyan (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 2-26-06)
    • EXCERPTS: CHAPTER 7 ‘Black and blue panel’ courts trouble (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 2-27-06)
    • EXCERPTS: CHAPTERS 9 & 10 Lokelani Lindsey and the Kamehameha Ohana (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 2-28-06)
    • EXCERPTS: CHAPTERS 12, 13 & 15 Pressure mounts on trustees (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3-1-06)
    • EXCERPTS: CHAPTERS 16, 17 & 19 Challenged on all fronts, trustees finally fall (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3-2-06)
    • EXCERPTS: CHAPTER 20 Closure came quickly -- too quickly for some (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3-3-06)
  • Midkiff, Robert. Better governance can take Kamehameha Schools forward Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 30, 2006.
  • Midkiff, Robert. Conversion to nonprofit corporation would help Kamehameha SchoolsHonolulu Star-Bulletin, July 30, 2006.
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