HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new video interview of 92-year-old Campbell Estate heiress Abigail Kawananakoa is sparking criticism that she’s being manipulated.
But the PR firm that released the video, Communications Pacific, says she wasn’t coached and wanted to do the interview on her own terms.
CommPac released the eight-minute video Thursday, and says the heiress was “articulate” and that she did it to counter what she says are ridiculous claims in the media.
In the video, Kawananakoa said she’s in control of her own affairs.
"I control all of it and make sure they report to me," she said.
After Kawananakoa suffered a stroke in 2017, a judge ruled last year that she lacked mental capacity to manage her financial affairs.
“I have a very big obligation and to have my hands tied and be unable to exercise those two rights was very heartbreaking,” said Kawananakoa, in the video interview.
Half of Kawananakoa’s $215 million dollar fortune is intended to benefit Native Hawaiians, but the heiress’s wife, Veronica Gail Worth, is fighting for control of at least 40 million.
“She doesn’t interfere with the Hawaiian bit. She knows better because it’s not her kuleana and she knows that. That’s why I love her so much,” said Kawananakoa, in the video.
Wayne Shizuru, Kawananakoa’s former longtime stable manager, says the heiress is being manipulated by Worth and her attorneys.
“I just felt it was staged and Kekau would not even want to even be doing this,” said Shizuru.
"I think it's one person wanting control of her assets and it's total greed," he added.
Shizuru says longtime employees who loved Kawananakoa have been fired and shut out.
"It hurts me terribly that she might hate me for reasons explained to her that are not true," he said.
"It makes me sad. She is so diminished and she's being exploited to her detriment," said Jim Wright, Kawananakoa's former attorney and a current trustee.
"I was tipped last week that this was in process and was told specific days which she had been coached for a number of hours," he said.
Communications Pacific CEO Kitty Yannone insists Kawananakoa “was not coached” and spoke on her own terms.