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Judge: Hawaiian heiress abuse investigation must continue

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Abigail Kawananakoa, a 91-year-old Hawaiian heiress, is wheeled from a Honolulu courtroom today after a judge has ruled that allegations that Veronica Gail Worth physically abused Kawananakoa require further investigation.

A state probate judge refused today to replace the existing trustee of Abigail Kawananakoa’s trust.

Lawyers for Kawananakoa’s wife Veronica Gail Worth and Kawananakoa’s longtime friend Betty Lou Stroup had asked Circuit Judge Robert Mark Browning to approve the appointment of Worth, Stroup and Kawananakoa’s accountant Arthur Warren Duryea as successor trustees.

Browning appointed Kawananakoa’s former lawyer James Wright as trustee of the Campbell Estate heiress’s more than $200 million estate last September after Wright expressed concerns over Kawananakoa’s ability to handle her financial affairs. The 91-year-old Kawananakoa suffered a stroke last June.

In court documents, Wright alleged that the heiress’ wife, Veronica Gail Worth, physically abused her. However, Kawananakoa’s current attorneys said in court papers the abuse claims are false and that Kawananakoa fell and “struck furniture, which caused the bruising, which is not uncommon at someone her age.”

Kawananakoa contends she’s fine.

The judge in September appointed a special master — a lawyer not involved in the case — to independently investigate her mental capacity and the abuse allegations. Lawyers for Kawananakoa and Worth requested that the abuse allegations not be part of the special master’s probe because they are untrue. Browning denied the request, saying that the allegations are relevant to the case and require further investigation.

A doctor has examined Kawananakoa but has yet to submit a report.

Kawananakoa entered the courtroom in a wheelchair and held a Chihuahua on her lap during today’s hearing. “I can’t talk about the case but I have lot of say,” she said, as she was wheeled into a courthouse elevator.

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