Foundation hearing for Abigail Kawananakoa
Abigail Kawananakoa's mental capacity has been at the center of months long legal battles concerning the control of her multi-million dollar trust.
"Does it really make sense to allow a person who no longer has the capacity to understand what is needed to manage her financial affairs to have the capacity to make the complex and consequential decisions as to who should," Attorney Ed Saffery questioned.
"I have never doubted since I first represented her that she's fully competent and has a sharp mind and she knows exactly what she wants to do," Attorney Michael Lilly said.
Kawananakoa and her wife chose to remove one of the trustees managing her trust and replace him with other parties which included her wife.
Members of the heiress' charity foundation believe the switch was spearheaded by Kawananakoa's wife, Gail Worth, who they suspect had greedy motives.
According to the Counsel representing Worth those allegations are false.
Many Native Hawaiians filled the courtroom, many voicing concerns about Kawananakoa's well being. Counsel representing her foundation also reiterated their respect for a woman they consider royal ali'i.
"Every discussion every session as we reviewed pleadings and consider the actions of various parties was to hold her in this special place because she is a vulnerable Kupuna," Attorney Rosanne Goo said.
After deliberations, Judge Mark Browning ruled against Kawananakoa and replaced the existing trustee on the estate with entity First Hawaiian Bank.
Judge Browning also called attention to the potential damage appealing his decision could bring.
"It would be indeed a great tragedy for Miss Kawananakoa to go out to be forced to live her remaining years with the specter of further litigation and ultimately we will all as a community suffer for it," Judge Browning said.
"The judges realize that Abigail Kawananakoa need to be protected that he's got her best interest at heart. I have to say for all of us that was our first and foremost idea and wish. That she would be protected," Kawananakoa Foundation's Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa said.
The Kawananakoa's attorney says they're unsure if they'll be seeking an appeal.