Former housekeepers for Heiress Kawananakoa say their firing was ‘retaliation’

Former housekeepers for Heiress Kawananakoa say their firing was 'retaliation'
The former housekeepers say their firing was retaliation. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
The former housekeepers say their firing was retaliation. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Former employees are accusing Hawaiian royalty descendant Abigail Kawananakoa and her wife Veronica Gail Worth of retaliating against them.

Thongbay Smart and her daughters said they were fired as her housekeepers and are being evicted from a Pearl City home Kawananakoa promised them. That's after they spoke with a Probate Court appointed psychiatrist and a special master appointed to oversee the legal battle over Kawananakoa's $200 million trust, she and her daughters said.

"We were threatened that if we said certain things, expressed certain things that we would get fired," said Ashley Thairathom, Smart's daughter and a former caretaker for Kawananakoa. "It's retaliation."

Smart has worked as the heiress's housekeeper for 32 years. Two years ago, she snapped pictures with her cell phone of bruises on the arm and leg of the 92-year-old Kawananakoa.

"(Kawananakoa) told me, Gail (Worth) beats me, she no love me, she loves my money," said Smart.

Her daughter and former employee Samantha Michel added that the alleged abuse happened more than once.

"(Worth) asked princess if princess would put her name in her bank account as a joint account holder but because princess said no, she would pinch her," she said.

Michel and her sister Thairathom said they later spoke to Special Master James Kawachika and psychiatrist Dr. David Trader about the alleged abuse.

Attorneys for Kawananakoa and Worth have denied the abuse claims. Worth added that the family -- which hasn't worked for them for three months -- are not being asked to leave out of retaliation.

"Miss Kawananakoa has graciously allowed them to stay in the house even though they were all told informally months ago the house was being sold," said Worth.

The abuse allegations are a key exhibit in the legal battle over Kawananakoa's trust. Kawananakoa was removed from her own trust and replaced by her former attorney James Wright after Wright said she suffered a stroke.

Kawananakoa is now seeking to regain control of her fortune.

A hearing is scheduled on June 21.

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