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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, July 10, 2006

Big payout for estate trustees

By Rick Daysog
Advertiser Staff Writer

THE ESTATE OF JAMES CAMPBELL:

Founded: 1900

Assets: $2.3 billion

Chief executive officer: Stephen MacMillan

Trustees: Richard Gushman, David Heenan, Clint Churchill and retired Navy Adm. Ronald Zlatoper

Holdings: 55,400 acres of land in Hawai'i and 16.6 million square feet of office, retail and industrial properties on the Mainland.

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Trustees of the Estate of James Campbell are entitled to about $5 million each when the 106-year-old trust ceases operations in January.

In documents filed in state Probate Court last month, the estate said its four trustees local developer Richard Gushman, retired Navy Adm. Ronald Zlatoper, former University of Hawai'i business school Dean David Heenan and ex-Campbell Estate Chief Executive Officer Clint Churchill are eligible to receive 1 percent of the $2.3 billion trust's assets when it terminates.

The so-called termination fee is on top of the trustees' annual commissions, which were $954,289 in 2005. The trustees' 2005 compensation was up about 6 percent from the previous year's $900,020.

The $5 million fee is one of the largest if not the largest single commission paid to a board member of Hawai'i's big land trusts.

It surpasses the $3.1 million commission that the $900 million Damon Estate paid its four trustees in 2004 when it sold its Mapunapuna and Mainland properties for more than $500 million.

Campbell Estate spokeswoman Theresia McMurdo referred all questions to Gushman, who declined comment.

Trust officials previously have said that the termination fee is based on a formula set by state law, which allows board members to receive as much as 1 percent of a private trust's assets when it ceases operations.

The big payout comes as Campbell Estate's finances have soared with the booming real estate values in Hawai'i and the Mainland. The estate one of the state's largest private landowners earned about $72.1 million last year, up from 2004's $71.3 million.

Of the 2005 net, about $70.3 million was distributed to more than 30 beneficiaries last year.

Established in 1900, the $2.3 billion Estate of James Campbell is a private, for-profit trust set up by the will of Scottish carpenter James Campbell to benefit his heirs.

Under the terms of Campbell's will, the trust is set to terminate 20 years after the death of his last surviving daughter, which occurred on Jan. 21, 1987.

Although the trust officially ends on Jan. 21, most of Campbell's heirs agreed to take their distributions in the form of stock in a successor company, James Campbell Co. LLC, which will operate as a national real estate investment company.

In its court filings, the estate said that its four trustees will receive about 90 percent of the termination commission, or about $4.5 million, on Jan. 21 when the trust ends. The remaining 10 percent will be paid out over the next several years.

The estate's filings also said that the trustees' termination fee is subject to an appraisal by an outside consulting firm, which will reflect the trust's value as of Dec. 31, 2006.

That means the trustees' termination fee, which is based on the valuation of the trust's assets at the end of the year, may be slightly higher or lower than $5 million.

To be sure, Campbell Estate's trustees will receive much less than the trust's beneficiaries on termination.

Probate Court figures show that six heirs to the Campbell Estate fortune will each receive $100 million or more while another 15 members of the family will receive at least $50 million.

They include Abigail Kawananakoa, 80, who will receive about one-eighth of the trust's assets, or about $250 million, and Reno, Nev., resident Ronald Olson, 67, who will receive about $166 million.

Local resident Kapi'olani Kawananakoa Marignoli, 78, will get about $125 million.

Reach Rick Daysog at rdaysog@honoluluadvertiser.com.