About the Book:

Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop was the largest landowner and 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 Hawai‘i: 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. Then in August 1997 the unthinkable happened: Four revered kupuna (native Hawaiian elders) and a professor of trust-law publicly charged Bishop Estate trustees with gross incompetence and massive trust abuse. Entitled “Broken Trust,” the statement provided devastating details of rigged appointments, violated trusts, cynical manipulation of the trust’s beneficiaries, and the shameful involvement of many of Hawai‘i’s powerful.

This book brings to light information that has never before been made public, including accounts of secret meetings involving Supreme Court justices, and ways the judiciary avoided a public airing of its dirty laundry. "Broken Trust" also throws a spotlight on the legislature, the legal profession, the native Hawaiian community, and the media, showing how each functioned-or failed to function-during the two-year crisis and its aftermath. This book offers readers the opportunity to reexamine fundamental questions about unchecked power and civic responsibility that resonate far beyond the shores of America's 50th State.

From the Book's Jacket:

"A feudal empire so vast that it could never be assembled in the modern world."
-New York Times

"The kind of story that makes journalists salivate like hungry dogs."
-American Journalism Review

"The biggest story in Hawai'i since Pearl Harbor."
-60 Minutes

"The trustees of Hawaii's Bishop Estate have a pretty great job.
Why can't they behave?"
-U.S. News & World Report

* * * * *

“A sensitive and insightful story of Hawaiian culture and history . . . evolving into a stunning, uniquely informed exposé about shameless abuse of a charitable trust and shameful failure of public institutions.”

—Professor Edward Halbach, University of California at Berkeley School of Law

“Broken Trust chronicles a 100-year saga about politics, law, and native rights in the Fiftieth State. There are people on all sides of this conflict who would have preferred that the story be left behind, swept under the rug, or just ignored. This book is a warning to the future and a lesson on governance, power, and the management of big institutions.”

—Peter Adler, President, The Keystone Center

“The most significant legal dispute of our time . . . a tale of unbridled ambition, infectious greed, and high drama, recounted in a fascinating cultural context . . . a treat for anyone who enjoyed Michener’s Hawaii.”

—Howard M. McCue III, Chairman, Charitable Planning Committee, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

“With the verve and insight of a Tom Wolfe, the authors expose the full range of human folly and bravery. Along the way, the hubris of the Kamehameha School's trustees and of many at the highest levels of all three branches of Hawaiian government are no match for the high-stakes gamble ventured by those who loved the school. Broken Trust shows what happens when the immovable object of greed is met by the irresistible force of virtue.”

—Professor Evelyn Brody, Reporter for the American Law Institute project, The Law of Nonprofit Organizations

“This book is required reading. Anyone—and I mean anyone—who regulates major charities or sits on their boards yet fails to read this book from cover to cover deserves to be fired for malpractice. Broken Trust is a textbook lesson in charitable trust mismanagement.”

—Alan Morrison, Co-founder with Ralph Nader, Public Citizen Litigation Group; Senior Lecturer, Stanford Law School


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©2006 Randall W. Roth