Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop was the richest woman in the Hawaiian kingdom. Upon her death in 1884, she entrusted her property—known as Bishop Estate—to five trustees in order to create and maintain an institution that would benefit the children of Hawaii: Kamehameha Schools. A century later, Bishop Estate controlled nearly one out of every nine acres in the state, a concentration of private land ownership rarely seen anywhere in the world. In 1995 the Wall Street Journal called it the nation’s wealthiest charity, with an endowment greater than that of Harvard and Yale combined. Then in August 1997 the unthinkable happened: four kupuna revered in the native Hawaiian community joined a professor of trust law in publicly charging Bishop Estate’s trustees with gross incompetence and massive trust abuse. Titled “Broken Trust,” their 6,400-word newspaper commentary provided devastating details of rigged appointments, violated trusts, and the shameful involvement of many of Hawaii’s powerful.” This book tells that story and brings to light information that has never before been made public, including accounts of secret meetings and communications involving Supreme Court justices. The authors expose, in vivid detail, how the scandal was swept under the rug by a judiciary that did not want to public airing of its dirty laundry. This book throws a spotlight on Hawaii’s legislature, courts, legal profession, native Hawaiian community, and media, showing how each functioned—or failed to function—during the two-year crisis and its aftermath.Broken Trust offers readers the opportunity to reexamine fundamental questions about unchecked power and civic responsibility that resonate far beyond the borders of America’s fiftieth state.

Bishop Estate Trustees in 1997

Supreme Court Justices in 1997