Katherine Kealoha's grandmother says that she 'didn't know' about a joint checking account
Florence Puana did not have a card, nor a checkbook for the bank account.
HONOLULU - In day nine of the Kealoha corruption trial, Katherine's grandmother's recorded deposition was played.
99-year-old Florence Puana gave her deposition on April 30th, due to health concerns.
In the deposition, U.S. attorneys asked Puana questions about her granddaughter, such as whether they had a close relationship.
"She was a loving, loving gentle person and I trusted her,” Puana stated.
When Puana was asked if she still lived in her home, she stated that she did not, and lost her home through a reverse mortgage. She then went on to say that the reverse mortgage was Katherine's idea, and she didn't know what it was at the time.
Katherine allegedly told her grandmother that if she got the money, she would use it to pay off her bills and refinance her home, then help her uncle Gerard Puana.
Prosecuting attorneys asked, "If you knew the reverse mortgage was not going to be paid off in three to six months, would you have agreed to sign the reverse mortgage?" Florence responded, "No, I would not...I was so confused…so finally I said I would trust my granddaughter and sign it.”
Then, Florence was asked about her bank account.
"During the course of getting the reverse mortgage, did Katherine ask you to open a joint bank account?" Florence said that she did not.
Florence also stated that she did not understand that she was opening a joint bank account, and that she never received any documentation on the bank account from her granddaughter.
Florence then stated that she never received any money from the reverse mortgage.
“I thought she would help Gerard as she promised. She said she would pay it off, and we kept calling her, and there was no way to get a hold of her. I tried and tried,” Florence said.
As the balance of the loan was reportedly going 'way up,' Florence says she couldn’t get a hold of Katherine about paying off the reverse mortgage. When Katherine and Florence did speak, Florence says Katherine always said that the reverse mortgage was paid off.
Then, Florence says she stopped getting statements in the mail, and that Katherine told her Carolyn -- Katherine's aunt -- was taking her mail.
Later on, Florence said she received a piece of mail informing her the reverse mortgage had not been paid off. That's when Florence decided to sell the home.
Florence said Katherine was still unable to be reached.
“I could never get a hold of her, and I called her mother and I told her mother I was very concerned. I need this money because I promised my husband that in time, after I'm gone, I was going to sell the house and split the money among my children,” Florence said.
Florence said that when she called, she was told Katherine was 'very busy' and not to call anymore.
"I called her and all I could hear is the strumming of a ukulele. I tried, and I was so afraid that some – something was going on and I – I had no choice, so I decided to sell my home," Florence said.
Florence then decided to write her granddaughter a letter to 'talk over' the matters, and perhaps 'change her mind about certain things.'
The final paragraph of the letter read, "I am still willing to work this out with you."
Katherine responded to the letter. Florecne described it as an 'angry' one.
"Everything she wrote in there she said she never, never cared for us. She wasn’t our favorite people, and I took a lot of money from her. And it was like 16 pages of it I think,” Florence said.
The letter read, “I have never, will never, or would never borrow, take or even request to borrow any money from Florence Puana,” to which Florence state was 'absolutely false.'
Katherine also wrote, “I will seek the highest form of legal retribution against anyone and everyone who has written or verbally uttered these lies about me.”
When Florence was asked about a joint bank account with Katherine at the Bank of Hawaii, she said she did not know about it. She says she had to pay $243 to get the statements, and when she did, Florence says Katherine spent all the money. Florence did not have a card, nor a checkbook for the bank account.
In the account, it showed that $23,976.69 was spent at the Sheraton Waikiki -- which Florence did not spend. When asked who spent it, Florence said, “Katherine did. That was for her husband's breakfast...I wouldn’t have let her because I didn’t have that kind of money.”
Then, in March of 2013, Florence decided to file a lawsuit against her granddaughter Katherine because she reportedly did not do the work that she promised, was not a good attorney, and never answered her questions.
In June of 2013, Katherine testified in a civil case her grandmother filed against her. During her deposition, her grandmother leaned over to Gerard and said “she’s lying.” She was asked to leave the court room.
While waiting for Gerard to pull the car around, she stood next to her grandson in law by marriage, Officer Minh-Hung “Bobby” Nguyen. While they waited, he asked her what kind of car Gerard drove. Florence said that Nguyen was texting someone while he was talking to her.
When asked about the surveillance video of the mailbox theft, Florence said that whoever she saw was 'not her son, Gerard.'
"I saw this guy get out of his car and walk to the mailbox, and the mailbox seemed like it was sawed out because he just picked it up, didn’t struggle with it, and he took it to the car. I didn’t recognize him, but I know it wasn’t my son Gerard, because he has broader shoulders and he didn’t walk the way he did," Florence stated.