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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, July 25, 2003

Ex-trustee Peters sues trust's former counsel

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Former Bishop Estate trustee Henry Peters has filed a lawsuit against former Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate general counsel Nathan Aipa, charging that Aipa violated attorney-client confidentiality.

The lawsuit was filed yesterday in state Circuit Court by attorney Eric Seitz on behalf of Peters. It named Aipa as a defendant, but did not include KSBE, now known as Kamehameha Schools.

Peters is seeking an undisclosed amount in damages. Aipa could not be reached for comment.

Peters was a trustee of the Bishop Estate from 1984 until he resigned in December 1999 amidst allegations that he and the other trustees mismanaged the billion-dollar trust and abused their power. Aipa served as chief counsel of KSBE from 1985 to 2001 and is now in private practice.

In the lawsuit, Peters said he met regularly with Aipa and provided information to the counsel pertaining to Peters' role as a trustee. Peters "reasonably expected and relied upon the confidentiality of his communications with Aipa," the lawsuit stated.

But Peters' lawsuit said that beginning in 1998, Aipa "repeatedly" disclosed the confidential information to "various parties and entities." Aipa also repeated confidential information at grand jury proceedings, the lawsuit said.

Peters said Aipa did not seek or receive any waiver of the attorney-client privilege.

As a result of Aipa's actions, the suit said, Peters suffered "severe and continuing damage" to his reputation and a loss of income.