Monday, September 10, 2018
Abigail Kawananakoa, age 92 and the heiress of a legendary Hawaiian estate as the descendant of a family who once ruled the islands, is at the center of a court dispute about whether she is able to manage her own affairs -- and a $215 million trust.
The money should go toward helping Native Hawaiians, they [Foundation Board Members] said at a news conference Thursday in front of Honolulu’s Iolani Palace. They are asking a judge to appoint a guardian for the elderly heiress, whose riches come from being the great-granddaughter of James Campbell, an Irish businessman who made his fortune as a sugar plantation owner and one of Hawaii’s largest landowners.
Many Native Hawaiians consider Abigail Kawananakoa to be the last Hawaiian princess because she’s a descendent of the family that ruled the islands before the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom.
A key court hearing in a legal fight over the trust is scheduled for Monday.
Her longtime lawyer, Jim Wright, persuaded a judge to appoint him as trustee, arguing a stroke last year left her impaired. Kawananakoa says she’s fine.
As trustee, Wright appointed three prominent Native Hawaiian leaders to serve as board members for the $100 million foundation Kawananakoa created in 2001. The foundation has a right to participate in the court battle because it is a beneficiary of her trust.
Kawananakoa “has reached a point in her life where she needs us to stand up and fight for her and her legacy,” said foundation board member Jan Dill. Kawananakoa intended that the foundation serve the Hawaiian community in arts, language, culture and education, he said.
For more, read Foundation Board: Protect Hawaiian Heiress' Millions.
While the above article does not fully explain the family dynamics, a photo accompanying the article depicts Ms. Kawananakoa and her wife, Veronica Gail Worth, who appears to be younger. Another article describes Ms. Worth as a "longtime caregiver." See A Cautionary Story of Elder Financial Abuse. Still other new reports describe Ms. Worth as Kawananakoa's "partner of 21 years," prior to their October 2017 marriage ceremony, conducted before a retired Hawaii Supreme Court Justice. See Hawaiian Heiress, 91, Marries Longtime Partner Amid Court Battle.