Campbell Estate heiress Abigail Kawananakoa has changed her trust to ensure her wife receives $40 million and all her personal property, including her Chihuahua, “Girlie Girl,” according to court records.
The 92-year-old descendant of Hawaiian royalty inherited her wealth by 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 have been closely watching the ongoing legal wrangling over her trust because they are concerned about the fate of the foundation she set up to benefit Hawaiian causes.
Kawananakoa’s lawyers said in court papers filed this week that she amended her trust. They are seeking a judge’s approval for the changes amid a court battle after Kawananakoa suffered a stroke last year.
In September Judge Robert Browning ruled Kawananakoa lacks the mental capacity to manage her $215 million trust. He removed Jim Wright, her longtime attorney, who stepped in as a trustee after Kawananakoa’s stroke, and appointed First Hawaiian Bank to serve as trustee.
Kawananakoa said she’s fine, fired Wright and married Veronica Gail Worth, her girlfriend of 20 years. She attempted to amend her trust to remove Wright and replace him with three others, including Worth.
Removing a trustee is less complex than replacing one, Browning said in not allowing her to select new trustees.
She now wants to create a new foundation that will benefit Hawaiians and exclude board members appointed by Wright.
“I will not contribute any further assets to that foundation because I do not want those individuals having anything to do with my trust, my estate, and any charitable gifts I make during my lifetime or at my passing,” she said in the amended trust.
The current foundation is asking a judge to appoint a guardian for Kawananakoa.
The foundation is also concerned about artifacts, including a key to King Kalakaua’s crypt, that the amended trust says would be given to Worth, said Rosie Goo, an attorney representing the foundation.
“It is our understanding that these are museum-quality artifacts that she had intended to be in a museum,” Goo said. “This is not what she chose for herself when she was fully in control of her decision-making.”
Michael Lilly, an attorney representing Kawananakoa, declined to comment on the current filings, citing the court’s gag order. However, he said his client is in “fine health.”
“The court stated that Ms. Kawananakoa can ‘sufficiently understand and express her wishes that Mr. Wright be removed as trustee,’” he said in a written statement. “The court felt that there were equitable fairness issues to Ms. Kawananakoa as well, chiefly the hostility she felt towards Mr. Wright, and it is in her best interest that he be removed.”