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Business| Hawaii News

Facebook’s Zuckerberg sues to force land sales

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

  • RON KOSEN / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    Several small parcels of land within Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg’s 700-acre Kauai property are owned by kama­aina families who have rights to cross the billionaire’s estate. Zuckerberg is suing to force the families to sell.

  • COURTESY CARLOS ANDRADE

    Andrade is helping Zuckerberg buy the family land, which encompasses four parcels totaling 2 acres including above, which contains a taro patch, through a court process intended to identify what could be a couple hundred or so relatives with partial ownership of the property and force them to sell their interests.

  • COURTESY CARLOS ANDRADE

    The family of Carlos Andrade is pictured here decades ago on the porch of a Kauai home Andrade had built in 1981 on an 11,000-square-foot parcel of kuleana land that has been in his family since 1894 and is surrounded by land owned by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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When Facebook’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg paid around $100 million for 700 acres of rural beachfront land on Kauai two years ago to create what Forbes magazine described as a secluded family sanctuary, he actually acquired a not-so-secluded property.

Close to a dozen small parcels within Zuckerberg’s Kauai estate are owned by kamaaina families who have rights to traverse the billionaire’s otherwise private domain.

Now the Facebook CEO is trying to enhance the seclusion of his property by filing several lawsuits aimed at forcing these families to sell their land at a public court auction to the highest bidder.

The legal action known as “quiet title and partition” isn’t uncommon in Hawaii. Yet even with an order from a judge and financial compensation, forcing people to sell land that has been in their families for generations can be off-putting — especially when it’s driven by the sixth-richest person in the world.

“The person being sued is ultimately on the defensive,” said Donald Eby, a real estate attorney and partner in the Colorado law firm Robinson & Henry who isn’t involved in the Zuckerberg actions and directed his comment to quiet title actions in general. “Their ownership is being challenged, and because of that their ownership is put at risk.”

A Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law primer on quiet title and partition law titled “E ‘Onipaa i ke Kulaiwi” said using the law to compel land sales has reduced Native Hawaiian landownership: “Partition by sale in particular is highly problematic for the Native Hawaiian community because it severs a family’s connection to ancestral land.”

Zuckerberg, through several companies he controls, filed the lawsuits against a few hundred people — many living and some dead — who inherited or once owned interests in what are known as kuleana lands where ownership is often largely undocumented.

Kuleana lands refers to real estate initially acquired by Hawaii citizens through the Kuleana Act of 1850, which followed the Great Mahele, in which the Hawaiian kingdom began allowing private ownership of land. Often, kuleana lands automatically passed to heirs of the first owner in absence of a will or deed, and then down through subsequent generations of descendents who in some cases now own just fractions of an interest in the property without documentation.

Hawaii’s quiet title law can be used to establish legal title to such land. However, quieting these “noisy” real estate titles is expensive and therefore doesn’t happen often unless someone with the financial resources and interest in the property becomes engaged.

“This is a big problem in Hawaii,” said one local lawyer who isn’t involved in the Zuckerberg case, but asked not to be named because of sensitivities surrounding the issue.

A contested case with many owners can cost $100,000 or $200,000 or more. For someone to use the law to not only establish title, but to also force a sale requires that they have an ownership claim. For some of the Kauai land, Zuckerberg has done this by purchasing interests from several part-owners.

Keoni Shultz, a partner at the Honolulu law firm Cades Schutte representing Zuckerberg companies in the litigation, said in an email that it’s common for large tracts of land in Hawaii to contain small parcels that lack clear ownership title and have co-owners who might not be aware of what they own.

“Quiet title actions are the standard and prescribed process to identify all potential co-owners, determine ownership, and ensure that, if there are other co-owners, each receives appropriate value for their ownership share,” Schultz said.

Three Zuckerberg companies — Pilaa International LLC, Northshore Kalo LLC and High Flyer LLC — filed eight quiet title lawsuits Dec. 30 in state Circuit Court on Kauai.

In one suit the only named defendant is Oma, a Hawaiian woman who is believed to be the first private owner of one parcel within Zuckerberg’s property. She has no surname, as was tradition in old Hawaii.

Another case names Eliza Kauhaahaa, Annie I and long-deceased defendants including Kelekahi, Palaha, Laka, Lote, Luliana, Kapahu and Kaluuloa.

Some cases filed by Zuckerberg involve properties believed to have no living owners. In this instance, Zuckerberg’s team will have to trace ownership through genealogical records and make valid efforts to identify any living descendents and, if found, notify them so they have an opportunity to participate in the court action.

Perhaps the most complicated case was filed against roughly 300 defendants descended from an immigrant Portuguese sugar cane plantation worker named Manuel Rapozo who is listed in the complaint as having bought four parcels totaling about 2 acres in 1894.

In this case one of Rapozo’s descendents, Carlos Andrade, is helping Zuckerberg’s team as co-plaintiff.

Andrade, a great-grandson of Rapozo, is a retired University of Hawaii professor of Hawaiian studies who said he lived on his family’s kuleana land from 1977 until recently but still visits the property, on which he built a house, several times a week to maintain taro patches and fruit trees.

The 72-year-old Andrade, who was born on Kauai and is part Hawaiian, said he’s working with Zuckerberg partly to ensure that the family property isn’t lost to the county if no one takes his place paying property taxes that totaled about $6,500 in 2015. Also, documenting who in his family tree owns what share in the property is too expensive for him, and letting shares become further diluted among future generations makes the problem worse.

Andrade recently sent a letter to many of his known relatives explaining the situation.

“I feel that each succeeding generation will become owners of smaller and smaller interests, each having less and less percentage of the lands and less and less capability to make sure everyone gets their fair share of (Rapozo’s) investment in the future of his family,” the letter said.

Andrade also said in the letter that he figures more than 80 percent of his relatives don’t know that Rapozo’s legacy exists.

Marian Tavares of Hilo, a great-granddaughter of Rapozo, said she didn’t know about the family land on Kauai or the lawsuit. She didn’t know what to make of the situation offhand. Tavares is alleged to own a 1/191, or about 0.5 percent, stake in the land.

Another Rapozo descendent, Cameron Pila of Palolo, said he knew of the land but lost a connection to Kauai when his grandmother Margaret Jordan Cameron left Hawaii before she died in 1993. Pila, whose share in the family land is listed at 1/156 in the lawsuit, said he can’t be upset over losing a stake in something that he never possessed. “No hurt, no foul,” he said.

For some pulled into the quiet title action, proceeds from a sale might seem like a windfall. On the other hand, discord is also possible from relatives who include individuals who recorded partial deed interests in the family’s kuleana land that the lawsuit contends are invalid.

Defendants have 20 days to respond to the legal complaint after being served with a copy. If they don’t respond, they get no say in the proceeding. If they choose to participate, it could be expensive if they want to be represented by an attorney.

The lawsuit against Rapozo’s descendents alleges that individual ownership fractions range from about 1/7 (about 14 percent) to 17/333,396 (less than a one-hundredth of 1 percent).

Andrade owns the 1/7 share, according to the complaint, which explains that he acquired all his shares in 1976 from several aunts and uncles.

Valuing all the shares is hard to estimate. Some idea can be gleaned from property tax values and shares Zuckerberg bought in November and December.

These purchases, according to property records, include a 1/28 interest acquired for $36,453, a roughly 1/100 share for $8,607 and a 1/3,276 share for $350. Based on these prices, a whole interest would be worth around $1 million. The county values the Rapozo family’s 2 acres at $1.15 million for property tax purposes.

However, actual real estate values can be far higher than tax assessors gauge. For example, the county values about half of Zuckerberg’s land at $18 million even though he paid retired Hawaii car dealer James Pflueger about $56 million for this piece.

For the eight quiet title cases on Kauai, if a judge allows an auction, anyone with the money to back up their bid can participate. A judge also could grant a Zuckerberg request to recoup his attorney fees and other costs including research tracing family trees.

Recovering such costs from the sellers is permitted on the idea that the landowners benefit from their ownership being proven, though owners can feel as though they are charged for a service they didn’t want.

In the past, quiet title auctions have been known to result in below-market sale prices even though judges can reject a high bid that they deem grossly inadequate. But some involved with the Kauai cases expect that Zuckerberg, who Forbes said had a net worth of $44.6 billion last year, will offer a fair price.

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      • This guy agrees! Bad Karma!

        It just goes to show you how the Liberal Democrat Machine really operates. They are acting exactly like the Republican perception is. How do you all like the Ultra-Democrat Zudckerburg now?

        I’m not a Republican or Democrat so I’m not talking down party lines but it really rankles me to see these so called progressives and left wing do gooders be so hypocritical in their personal lives.

      • It has nothing to do with haole’s. But I see your point. It is plain wrong and I hope he spends millions and millions and loses. Buy California, or Oregon but leave Kauai alone.

      • If you read the article…and understood it, you see that it was one of the Hawaiian part-owners who sold out the rest of their family to the Z thereby giving him the ability to enact a partition sale. So no blame the haoles when it was a money grubbing Hawaiian that enabled Z to do this. I bet he sold out his family for peanuts.

    • Under Trump, we all have to serve the rich. This man has no right to push anyone off their land. He is as sleazy as they come. Please protect property rights of all Hawaiians. All people of all races. Stop bowing low to these billionaires.

    • What conservation purposes? Someone who gets up at half an hour after midnight and blogs something that doesn’t show up anywhere in the article is either drunk or paid by the attorney for Zuckerberg to spin this positively – yes, paid to do this – so that the reader doesnt’ get the idea that one small owner, Andrade, is allying with one big non-owner, Zuckerberg, to file a lawsuit and get a judge to force everyone in his family, all the owners, to sell their interest in the land and bow out of their family heritage.

  • Zuckerberg’s actions just seems a bit sleazy to me. The smell test comes up rather unpleasant. And local law firm Cades Schutte is representing the multi-billionaire Zuckerberg in this action? I guess Cades Schutte couldn’t resist the legal fees to be gained from this endeavor. Big bucks can sure reveal some people’s arrogance. More reason not to open an account on Facebook and not to have dealings with Cades Schutte.

    • This is one way to clear up land title when there are so many owners and some are unaware as noted in the article, nor contribute to the maintenance and expense of the property. Eventually as stated by Professor Andrade, the shares get so liquidated that it gets lost to the County or State.

      • IRT MichaelG: One of the problems here is that Zuckerberg is only able to do this because of his enormous financial resources. Do you think for one minute that the normal joe could do something like this? Oh, and the part about the buyer (Zuckerberg) being able to charge the “sellers” for the cost of the title search/research, which may effectively nullify any price paid to the “sellers”. Realistically, Zukerberg could be gaining these peripheral properties for free or rock-bottom minimum prices. It’s bad enough that the government can take private property via eminent domain, but a richie-rich private owner being able to force property owners to sell their property? Sounds somewhat immoral to me.

  • Zuckerberg should do What Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa does. Accept campaign contributions from people and reduce their property taxes substantially while raising politically unconnected peoples taxes so high that they are forced to sell.

  • It sounds like the people who sold the land did not really own all of the land that they sold. Wouldn’t this kind of stuff show up on title searches that is conducted during every land sale? If Zuckerberg knew about this, I suppose he can do what he is doing. If he didn’t know about this, the land sale(s) should be voided and money returned to him.

    • No, sailfish1 – Those kuleana lots were separate lots landlocked within the larger parcel Z bought from Pflueger. So he knew about them since the survey would have delimitated them and the title report would have shown their access rights over his land as an encumbrance.

  • Slowly as the Native Hawaiian efforts to disenfranchise Hawaii born people by making them “Hawaiian Residents”, the shoe will be on the other foot as local folks leave Hawaii only to be replaced by Mainland and foreign landowners who don’t give a rip about their cultural or historic ties to “their” lands. Even if the Native Hawaiians get their “nation” status, who is even going to listen to them when the courts and government will be in the hands of Mainlanders and those they control. It is only going to take a generation to dismantle the political machinery that now controls Hawaii and the new “Big Five” will be Facebook, Ebay, Cisco, Amazon and rest of Silicone Valley.

    • Remember that the ali’i trusts have their own bad record of removing native people from the land. When the Hawaiin lands were divided in the 1840’s and 1850’s, the best land went to rich Hawaiian families as well as the Crown.

  • Follow the money. In building his private oasis, Zuckerberg has the money to pay for his attorneys to walk all over the local families who are already living. Or he could buy them out all together by negotiating a generous offer. In any case it will be interesting to watch.

  • Its important for kuleana owners to maintain their interest in the aina, however small. These interests are undivided, which means that the owner of the smallest part still has the right to access that property and cultivate and live. I think, at a minimum, the property should be sold by a commissioner with a listing on the MLS rather than at auction, and that arguement should be made by the owners.

  • January 17, 1893 the Overthrow of the Kanaka Maoli

    On this day 124 years ago our Hawaiian Kingdom was overthrown sending the fate of 40,000 Kanaka Maoli people into a forever changed chaotic trajectory. For Kanaka, living in the Kingdom had been all they’d known for the previous 80 years, but being governed by our own people had been all we’ve known since we were created on this Earth. For 40,000 Kanaka, in one instance in time we were taken from the front of the line to outside the building, in one instance we went from being a Nation State with our fearless Queen at the helm to an occupied state with our people fleeing to the mountains, running for their lives.

    On this day I’d like to offer you these facts of why our people are still the most incarcerated, the most homeless, the most diabetic, the most vulnerable to the socioeconomic perils of this state because on this day 124 years ago our collective people’s National Sovereignty was suppressed, our Queen was overthrown and her government was removed. Our people that have lived within these 124 years of struggle and pain and embarrassment were destined to live different lives then the ones we live today. We weren’t supposed to be the most homeless in our own home, our children weren’t supposed to be the ones struggling to keep up with other ethnicities when it came to education and graduation rates, our people weren’t supposed to be discarded and shipped off to jails and insane asylums but they were and that is tied directly to the ramifications of the overthrow.

    Despite all that we have lost and all the trials and tribulations that our people have suffered through, the Kanaka Maoli, the Hawaiian Nationality is still alive, it lives in the Hawaiian people. We still here, we still breathing, we still have time to change our trajectory and grab control of our destiny. It starts with us the Kanaka learning their rights and exercising them, but it also starts with you the non-Kanaka. The ones who have had a front row seat to the downward trajectory of our people for all this time, as I am writing this the trajectory for the majority of kanaka is continuing on its chaotic march because we need support. We can’t do this alone, it is up to the non-Kanaka to recognize and identify with the great injustice that has annihilated our people, please don’t wait for the government to tell you what you should do, you know right from wrong, theft is a crime no matter if it’s a car or a Nation. You the non-Kanaka need to look deep inside your conscious to see what is really going on here in Hawaii to the Kanaka Maoli people and decide for yourself if what you think is happening to them is right.

    This State is not built on just Laws, this State is not built on racial and ethnic harmony, this State is not built on Aloha, this State is built on a lie and a theft and it will always be that way until Justice for our people is achieved. I’m asking you to reflect on this day, January 17th as you enjoy your life here in the state of Hawaii that you do so upon the suppression of our people’s National Sovereignty.

    Justice for the Kanaka Maoli will create a different trajectory for the Kanaka Maoli and the residents of Hawaii….

  • If I was one who lived there I’d ask for 5 million for my property. He can have it. Otherwise he should think about moving or buying his own private island. He got the bucks.

    • lokela – The problem is that no one was living there or tending their aina. So obviously the Hawaiian owners were not close to their land. Like muscles, you lose what you do not use.

  • This is upsetting to read. The 6th richest person in the world who has ALL the resources and money is trying to force these people to sell.

    I sure wish we (as a small island chin in the pacific) could STOP foreign and out of town owners form buying up Hawaii.

    Mr. Flueger is a joke. So much money, he should have DONATED that land to the Hawaiians. Seems people with money turn very greedy.

    This should be in the National Media !

  • Zuckerberg will do what it takes to be fair in this situation. Furthermore, should he acquired ownership fairly he, I believe, will preserve the land from being unnecessarily exploited or towards destruction! He respects the aina and anyone who does will not treat it otherwise but love and cherish it! He will be a good keeper of the land!

  • The gorilla in the room is will this action result in a fair value for the partial interest owners. Also would be appropriate if he waived getting reimbursed for his costs. The real value of being a partial title holder is greater than the proportionate value as you effect his title to the rest of his lands by access rights and interrupting his privacy. That is a lot and hopefully he will pay accoedingly. Hoping Carlos can keep his property for his future generations.

  • Is Kauai going to preserve public access to the ocean? Probably not. The rich outsiders will control the politicians. Hawaii is becoming a two-tiered society – rich outsiders, and poor people in slums. That’s a sign of third world conditions. But our politicians let it happen.

    • I tend to agree with ryan02; our politicians have done little to nothing about out of state investors buying property and developing on our islands. In Honolulu, there are many new high rises for the rich or richer. Look along the beaches and you’ll find multi-million dollar homes. Our politicians say the cost of living is high. Well, with the outside demand for our real estate, it sends prices very high, along with more people and more traffic. Unfortunately nothing will be done by our elected officials.

  • The community somehow needs to band together to stop Zuckerberg’s egregious action.

    Zuckerberg is simply a former college student who stumbled across a web mechanism to make a bunch of money. For him to act like an aggrieved aristocrat on Kaua’i is beyond comprehension. The gall. . . .

    • He is simply using long-established Hawaii law to resolve a problem of ownership by people (Hawaiians) who have virtually abandoned their property. So what’s to protect here? So much for strong ties to the land! Let the owners speak for themselves if they have issues. Don’t put words in their mouths when you have no idea who they even are.

      • Many of the descendants didn’t even know they had ownership rights and access to this beautiful piece of real estate. Once notified, everything could change. I hope they fight him and keep their land, if for no other reason than to spite this nouveau rich jerkoff. His actions speak louder than words.

        • Sorry yhls but the Z as a new co-owner in the parcels (he bought out one or more family member) is using partition by sale (which is open to any co-owner of the parcel) to force an auction sale. Anyone can appear at the auction and bid for the land.

    • Who said he was cutting off access to their kuleana? Don’t make up stuff. Hawaii law mandates access. Pflueger tried to do that, was sued and lost. Access to one’s land is the law. Now maybe it’s only a walking trail, but it’s access and it’s protected under the law.

  • This situation is so murky it’s hard to tell if anyone here has the moral high ground. Just because you’re filthy rich and you file a lawsuit doesn’t automatically make you the boogeyman. If Zuckerberg offers a fair price he could actually be doing many people a favor. If he doesn’t offer a fair price, given his financial means he’s going to look bad, and rightfully so.

  • Like the article reads, quiet titles are all around us, especially around Kamehameha Schools lands, A&B, etc… I see no issue if both Zuckerberg and the families come to an agreement. They have the money, he get’s the land. This has been done over generations. Where I see the true issue is public perception and the Advertiser. With that said, Mark already lost and public opinion will be against him. If his attorney’s simply went one by one, this wouldn’t be a story in the Advertiser.

    • So what about those who value their land / ancestral lands over being bought out with money? Are you saying they should just be grateful and take “a good price” for the land that is their heritage?

      Also, the article is not talking about landowners and Zuckerburg entering into gentlemanly,civil agreements with each other… Z is suing to FORCE landowners,some who’ve been there for decades,to sell.

      Very disappointing, Zuckerberg. Maybe your legal team can force Ellison to sell his stake in Lanai next? .

    • The problem is he is using his money to create a “private sanctuary” that will keep others in the community from living in better conditions because there will be less land for everyone else. Land is scarce on these islands. Just because you make/earn lots of money doesn’t mean you should have the right to buy other people’s necessities. We are once again living in the age of the robber barons, where the wealthy live in palaces and the poor live in shipping containers. Just because it has been that way in the past, doesn’t mean we have to live that way now. Or think of it this way, what if Zuckeberg, aka. Land Hog, decided he liked rice so much he was going to buy all of it on the islands and keep it in his private sanctuary. Brings a whole new meaning and importance to the word “community” and the values living with others instills in us.

  • Zukerberg knows the private landowners cannot afford the legal fees. That he is doing this is unconscionable but that’s how powerful people work. Happened on Lanai and now on Kauai.

  • Don’t know what all the fuss is about. Kauai residents don’t care, as long as he doen’t bring mongoose with him or any other pests like the superferry would have brought to their little island.

  • Whoever sold Zukerberg the $100 million / 700 acres of rural beachfront land on Kauai didn’t perform a thorough ‘Title’ Search to find out that 300 defendants would be affected.

    Or was this in the plan to ‘divide and conquer’ after all?

    • You guys don’t get it. The kuleana parcels are entirely separate parcels from what the Z bought from Pfueger. The Z didn’t buy those kuleana parcels. What he did buy from Pflueger was land wholly-owned by Pflueger (or his company). The kuleana parcels were inside Pflueger’s large parcel(s). Got it?

      • You’re obviously using the wrong term. Kuleana means ‘responsibility’.

        You’re probably referring to ‘homestead’ land which doesn’t apply.

        You can claim land that you’ve never paid taxes on…..hence Title search.

        • Yobo, you are misinformed. Kuleana means both in Hawaiian. It refers to one’s house lot or taro patch granted under the 1849 “Kuleana Act” and is also used to refer to one’s responsibility. “Homestead” land most often refers to Hawaiian Hone Lands which were part of the “ceded” lands. The Z is NOT using “adverse possession,” the vehicle most commonly used by plantations back in the day to acquire kuleana property in which they had no interest yet were using. The Z actually found one partial or co-owner of each of these lots and bought out their interest, so Z became a co-owner. He then used “partition by sale” in which a co-owner of real property can file to get a court order requiring the sale of the property and division of the proceeds, or division of the land between the co-owners if the parcel is large enough, which is often a practical impossibility as with smaller kuleana lots.

  • Kauai is lucky to have him as a land owner. He and his wife have been very generous with many non-profits on the mainland which they are associated with. Example is their $100 million donation to support the New Jersey public education system, which needed money to stay open. He may support the Kauai Humane Society? Who knows?

  • One of the very first things I learned when I moved here in 1979 after spending a summer on Kauai, was to look around and see how people do things here and to identify what’s important to them and adjust the way I lived to harmonize with local values to the extent possible. Sometimes the arrogance of great wealth interferes with simple common sense.

    • Cellodad, you’re one of my respected Posters. Your comment of what you’ve learned since moving here has enable us to see how you were able to adjust, adapt and love living in Hawaii. Your last sentence, “Sometimes the arrogance of great wealth interferes with simple common sense.” From what we read of him, Zuckerberg has never given the impression of being arrogant. Probably ignorance would better described him in this situation.

  • Someone give this spoiled kid a bucket and tell him to go pack sand. If he wanted a private beach front parcel that is what he should have bought, not try to steal one…

  • Zukerburg is used to getting what he wants. He has no time for you cockroaches. The ultra rich do what they want. Kind of like the Middle Ages when royalty and
    the nobility ran things and the serfs were luck to serve the ruling class. History repeats itself as it always does because people do not change.

  • 2 mistakes here, and both of them are law driven.
    1 being a law that allows them the right to sue and drive them out and 2 being a law that allows outsiders from buying up land. The outsiders don’t care for the culture or the Hawaiian way. I hope that MZ and other rich brats, get the worse Karma. Any Kahunas out there that want to help?

    • Who did he force out, residenttaxpayer? I missed that. The owners of those kuleana parcels abandoned them long ago and their own kupuna did nothing to let their keiki know about the land or pay the taxes due every 6 months. No houses on it; no nothing. So don’t make this into something it is not. That is disingenuous.

  • Thanks SA for putting this article front and center…it needs national and international attention. Great if can you get AP to pick this story up? The issue is single multi-billionaire using money and power to squeeze out Hawaiian landowners for self gain. Perhaps Rep. Gabbard can go to Kauai and protest with the Hawaiians (akin to what she did with the Indians in Dakota) instead of trips to Syria.

  • Zuckerberg is a devout Democrat that supported HitLAIRy and the “D” party with massive contributions predominantly to “D” lawmakers and politicians! He’s an asset to the “D” party here in Hawaii. Just imagine how much he’ll pay in taxes! How dare the devout “D” locals resist sharing with one of their own “D” party contributors by not selling to him? It’s the ultimate “D” Utopian Aloha spirit to share everything with everyone! Now go do the right thing and sign over that deed! 😉

    Here’s more fun things to read…
    Wikileaks: Emails Show Facebook CEO Zuckerberg Wanted to Meet with Clinton Campaign

  • It seems as though Mr. Zuckerberg, who says that privacy is an outdated notion that should no longer be expected, sure goes to great lengths to protect his. Bad enough he bought out all of his neighbors, then built a wall, now this?

    • He’ll get what he wants. He’ll show up in court and his pack of $1,000/hr lawyers will show the judge that he legally registered as a Democrat in Hawaii and hand over a promissory note to vote “D” all the way as long as he legally owns property in Hawaii. Judge will rule in his favor, end of dispute! LOL

      • This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats; it’s about the class structure that pits the rich against the poor and allows the greedy to take more than their share while the middle-class struggles to survive. Whether the super wealthy “earned” that wealth, stole it, or inherited it, doesn’t make a difference. It’s how that wealth is used, and how many go without so one family can own so much.

  • I’ve seen these kind of quiet title actions again and again. The standard procedure is for the person like Zuckerman to publish a notice asking all who might be related to the original owners to step forward. A short-cut to proving blood connection is for people to check their genealogy with the Mormon church, since these church goers regularly have a genealogical chart. The second is to prove that the original owner did not sell the land to anyone.
    The thing I don’t like about Zuckerman’s action is him trying to bypass Kuleana public access rights. Even if he’s able to purchase the parcels that he surrounds with his ownership of lands, it shouldn’t stop people from exercising their rights to use public parts and roads to cross the land to go to the beach and mountains to visit their ancestors or hunt and fish. This is what makes Hawaii Hawaii.

  • I was involved in a similar situation here in Hawaii, on a much much smaller scale. A man had a parcel of land that he’d paid taxes on for years, and when he wanted to subdivide, it turned out in research that a small portion of the land was titled under another person’s name (unbeknownst to any living family members). The man forced the sale of the small portion of land though the court system, and the money divided among the descendants.

    It is always difficult for the surviving family when a person does not insure that their possessions (including real estate property) have been well planned for when they die. Reminder to all readers: is YOUR will or trust in order???

  • this is a good example of how money supercedes integrity.
    I am the richest man on earth and what I want is what goes!!!
    and for our state to agree to that is extremely absurd. SAD!! what have we become…….

    • Oh yeah, I forgot, the only reason he is rich is because society is praying on his social media conglomerate. please support against his actions by not supporting him!!!!!!!!!

  • There is a huge difference between doing things right, and doing the right thing. Is he doing things right? Yes, according to the law, he is doing it right. Is he doing the right thing? According to our culture and aloha spirit, absolutely not. This is NOT the aloha spirit. This is NOT being a good neighbor. He has another option. Relocating these kuleanas so that the families won’t lose their lands, to a location that will allow these families the continued use of their lands would be a much better and pono action. This should be the discussion, not hiring high priced lawyers to “legally” TAKE these lands from our local Hawaiian families. Just my non-legal opinion.

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