HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The media relations team hired by Hawaiian royalty descendant Abigail Kawananakoa has released a video in which she talks about "her life in her own words.”
“As you see, I am very fine and ... I am most grateful that I have this opportunity to talk to the people and let them see how well I am and able to conduct my business, which is vast,” Kawananakoa said, in the video.
“I have very capable people that take care of certain aspects of it and I have control of all of it and make sure they report to me in an appropriate, timely manner.”
Kawananakoa’s competency has been challenged by her former attorney and some Hawaiian leaders involved with the Kawananakoa Foundation, who claim that Kawananakoa’s wife — Veronica Gail Worth — has been exerting undue influence in an effort to enrich herself and reduce the funds the heiress’ trust had promised to support Native Hawaiian programs.
The dispute is playing out in probate court, where several months ago a court-appointed experts convinced the judge that Kawananakoa does not have the capacity to manage her complex financial assets on a daily basis.
A spokesperson says the seven-minute video was edited down from about an hour long conversation shot on Jan. 15. It was shortened to make it easier to distribute and to eliminate material that might have violated court orders not to discuss the probate case in public. She denied editing it to make Kawanakoa appear more competent than she is.
“There are so many things that I could discuss, but you know ‘the lady doth protest too much,’ I’d rather not,” Kawananakoa said, in the video. “Now that you have given me this opportunity and we have opened the door I believe that the truth will be known to everyone.”
The heiress also acknowledges her wife, saying that if it weren’t for Worth “I would not be as normal as you see me now. She has done everything for me. She still has to do things for me, like help me to the car.”
And she called the claims that Worth is influencing her financial decisions “ outrageously ridiculous."
Kawananakoa added that not having control of her fortune amid the legal dispute is “heartbreaking” because she has obligations to the Hawaiian people.
“To have my hands tied ... was very bad,” she said.