Attorneys: Kawananakoa's wife took some of $200M fortune

Attorneys accuse Kawananakoa's wife of taking money from $200M fortune
Updated: Oct. 4, 2017 at 10:49 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The saga over a multi-million dollar fortune with ties to Hawaiian royalty continues.

A court appointed trustee of Hawaiian royalty descendant Abigail Kawananakoa's $200 million estate is accusing her wife of diverting money that's supposed to help Native Hawaiians.

In court papers filed last week, attorney James Wright said Veronica Gail Worth, who married Kawananakoa on Sunday, took $65,000 "without permission" to pay for her own legal bills.

Wright alleges that Worth is exerting undue influence over the 91-year-old heiress.

"These funds … had been earmarked to pay for a scholarship for a Native Hawaiian nursing student, the electric bill for Iolani Palace and one half of the materials cost for the replacement of a damaged marble slab at the Kalakaua Crypt at the Royal Mausoleum at Mauna 'Ala," Wright's attorney Margery Bronster wrote.

Worth's lawyer Michael Rudy did not return calls. But Worth and Kawananakoa have said that the heiress still plans to donate her fortune to Hawaiian causes.

The legal filing represents the latest development in the legal battle over the Kawananakoa fortune.

In July, state Probate Judge Mark Browning replaced Kawananakoa as trustee of her own estate and appointed her former attorney Wright as trustee after Wright said the heiress suffered a stroke.

He said that the stroke left Kawananakoa incapable of handling her own financial affairs.

But Worth and Kawananakoa have said that the heiress did not suffer a stroke and is fully capable of making her own decisions.

Last month, Judge Browning named attorney James Kawachika as a special master to investigate Kawananakoa's mental capacity. He'll likely look into the allegations raised by both sides as well.

Kawananakoa is a descendant of Queen Kapiolani, but derives her wealth from the multi-billion dollar Campbell Estate, once one of the state's largest private landowners and the prime mover behind the development of Kapolei.

She inherited about $250 million when the estate terminated in 2006. Most of her current wealth is in the form of stock in James Campbell Co., the estate's successor.

Each year, Kawananakoa through her foundations gives about $300,000 to Native Hawaiian cultural, educational and literacy causes, foundation filings with the IRS show.

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