Kamehameha School Child Molester Case – Hidden Payoff to Judge Exposed
HNN Update Dec 6, 2017: After Three Years Conflict of Interest, Judge Suddenly Recuses Herself When Outed by Media
by Andrew Walden
It’s 20 years later and Hawaii hasn’t changed a bit.
Hawaii News Now December 5, 2017 reports ‘Judge in Kamehameha Schools case didn't disclose apparent conflict’:
…For more than three years, Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall has presided over the lawsuits against Kamehameha Schools and St. Francis Hospital by former students who accuse a psychiatrist of sexual abuse decades ago.
But she didn’t publicly disclose that in the 1990s and the early 2000s, her husband, David Schulmeister, and his law firm, Cades Schutte, represented the Kamehameha Schools, billing as much as $1 million a year…..
Schulmeister and Cades Schutte have represented Kamehameha Schools on a broad range of issues….
Attorney Robert Richards, the special master appointed by state Probate Judge Kevin Chang in 2000, explained the firm's role at the Kamehameha Schools in this way: “(This) firm had an extensive history of legal work for the Trust … it became involved in almost everything, submitted bills on almost everything,” Richards wrote.
“In reviewing the billings, its purpose often seems to be that of an overseer, directing and checking the work of others, often in a duplicative, cost ineffective manner. It was never counsel of record in any of the proceedings and seldom assumed lead status. Nonetheless it submitted very large billings, which were always paid.”
A potential conflict of interest in this case is especially sensitive given the historic and controversial role that the courts played in selecting former Kamehameha Schools trustees….
"Anyone who knows the problems with Kamehameha Schools years ago and the long relationship with the Judiciary would immediately become suspicious,” said University of Hawaii Political Science Professor Colin Moore….
It gets worse.
In 2014, three child molestation lawsuits were filed against KSBE. All three were assigned to none other than Judge Virginia Crandall. Within a year, each had been dismissed—and Crandall imposed a gag order which KSBE lawyers are now using to threaten plaintiffs and their attorneys in the current litigation.
The Star-Advertiser Nov 26, 2017 reports:
Kamehameha would not answer questions related to the (current) lawsuit, citing a 2014 gag order issued (by Judge Virginia Crandall) in a similar suit that was dismissed. The school says the order covers the current litigation and prevents the parties from publicly discussing the case. The 2014 order said it would apply to other proceedings arising from claims in that lawsuit.
The school has asked the court to sanction the plaintiffs’ lawyers, accusing them of flagrantly violating the gag order by talking to the press and running newspaper ads seeking additional witnesses.
But the plaintiffs’ attorneys say the order doesn’t apply to the current case and that Kamehameha simply is trying to keep past wrongdoing concealed….
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 12, 2000 informs readers Cades Schutte took in $1.8M from KSBE making it, “the estate's largest outside professional firm.” The Star-Bulletin continued, “(Cades’) work for the estate is directed by former Judicial Selection Commission member Michael Hare.”
According to the Hawaii Judiciary website, Hare, a Cades-Schutte partner, was the Chairman of the Judicial Selection Commission from 1991-93. Hare succeeded Broken Trust-era KSBE Trustee Gerard A. Jervis who chaired the JSC from 1989-91.
In a September 22, 2017 statement naming Crandall, ‘Jurist of the Year’, the Hawaii Judiciary informs readers: “Judge Crandall joined the Judiciary as a Circuit Court Judge of the First Circuit Ninth Division on April 1, 1991.”
Kamehameha School child molester, Dr Robert Browne, killed himself in late October, 1991.
What kind of work did Judge Crandall’s husband’s law firm do for the corrupt Broken Trust KSBE Trustees?
In 1994 a ‘legal opinion’ from Cades Schutte was used to justify spending $14,948 of KSBE Trust funds to pay legal fees racked up in a non-KSBE case by methamphetamines addict state Senator Milton Holt. As Broken Trust authors Samuel King and Randall Roth observed, “Not many employers would pay the legal expenses of a staff member under investigation for public corruption.” -- Broken Trust p 203
In 1995 another ‘legal opinion’ written by Cades Schutte was used by criminal Trustee Lokelani Lindsey in an unsuccessful effort to undermine dissident Trustee Oswald Stender. -- Broken Trust p 243-44
In response to the 1997 ‘Broken Trust’ essay, Michael Hare:
“…criticized the authors for ‘throwing mud’ and ‘tarring people with rhetorical questions and faulty logic.’ Hare said it was wrong for the authors to reveal that his firm received over $10 million in legal fees from Bishop Estate in the years following his term chairing the Judicial Selection Commission. He did not question the statement’s accuracy; he simply argued that it might lead readers to assume a connection.” -- Broken Trust p 163
In 1999 the corrupt Trustees were ousted and replaced by ‘interim trustees.’ Cades Schutte continued to work for KSBE unabated with deputy State Attorneys General describing the firm as ‘stonewalling’ AG investigators. -- Broken Trust p 270
The interim trustees were currently paying the Cades firm to do what the former trustees had previously paid that firm to do: ‘hinder the attorney general.’ -- Broken Trust p 275
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 18, 2000 explains:
…law firm Cades Schutte Fleming & Wright…reviewed photographs of Kamehameha Schools alumni and parents who marched in protest to the former trustees in May 1997, in an apparent attempt to intimidate critics.
…Mike Heihre, a Cades partner (and still a partner in 2017) … (is) described as the estate's ‘shadow general counsel’ (by court-appointed special master Robert Richards)….
…Richards recommended that Cades Schutte disgorge about $880,000 of the $1.3 million that it billed the trust between August 1998 and May 1999….
"More than any other law firm involved in this review, (Cades) was to represent the interests of the majority of the split board, namely the interests of trustees Peters, Wong and Lindsey," Richards said. "Except in very limited instances ... the work of this firm cannot be described in any fashion as benefiting the trust."
And what role did KSBE lawyers play in concealing the activities of the child molester Browne? On this, former Trustees seem unanimous:
Star-Adv Nov 28, 2017:
Oswald Stender… (said) the trustees were told that the school’s attorneys would deal with the matter.
HNN Nov 28, 2017
…former state House Speaker and KSBE Trustee Henry Peters told Hawaii News Now…the abuses were hidden so long because of a "wall of secrecy" erected by then-President Michael Chun and other campus administrators….
…In an August 2016 deposition, Chun said he was relying on advice from the Bishop Estate legal department, which apparently didn't follow up.
Attorney Eric Seitz said that department often bottled things up.
"A lot of stuff that was happening at the school was never really communicated to the trustees,” said Seitz, who represented ex-trustee and former state Senate President Richard “Dickie” Wong….
Big Q: What’s your reaction to Kamehameha Schools’ apology to former students suing for sex abuse by its onetime psychiatric consultant?