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Billionaire who barred beach access takes stand

  • ASSOCIATED PRESSSun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. » A billionaire technology mogul testified that he didn’t recall details about the decision to deny public access to a once-popular Northern California beach.

Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla appeared in a San Mateo County courtroom Monday afternoon to testify in the civil dispute.

Khosla said he didn’t remember seeing certain documents, including one from a judge saying he would need approval to close off access to the beach.

"I get 500 to 1,000 pages of documents a week. I’m not trying to be unreasonable, that is what my life is like," Khosla testified, according to KTVU-TV.

Khosla is accused of closing the only road that leads to Martin’s Beach in violation of the California Coastal Act. The beach is about 35 miles south of San Francisco.

"I was dumfounded at the lack of ability to explain or remember," the plaintiff attorney Joe Cotchett told KTVU.

Under state law, the entire coast is public property, including beaches below the mean high tide. Without the road access, however, Martin’s Beach can only be reached from the ocean.

Khosla purchased the adjacent property in 2008.

Khosla’s attorney, Jeffrey Essner, says the public was previously allowed to access the beach for a fee, so there was never a right of public access.

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