The owner of a Kauai property that includes Kilauea Falls is suing one of his neighbors for allegedly entering the property and cutting down some trees to get a better view of the waterfall.
Colorado resident Charles M. Somers owns 162 acres on the northern portion of the Garden Isle that encompass Kilauea Falls and a portion of Kilauea Stream. He granted the Hawaiian Island Land Trust a conservation easement for 150 acres of the property that includes the waterfall and stream, but prohibits public access.
Somers filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court last week alleging that Drew Forsyth, who owns property overlooking the waterfall property, hired a tenant, Kapena Ledward, to cut down some trees near the base of the waterfall twice last year. He is suing Forsyth and Ledward for trespassing and invasion of privacy.
According to the lawsuit, Forsyth paid Ledward $200 to cut down some trees Aug. 13 and paid him $100 to cut down more trees Oct. 2. Somers claims that Ledward used a chain saw to cut down several trees in August and used a kayak to sneak back onto the property at night in October. Somers also claims that Forsyth is advertising his view of Kilauea Falls as a selling point to rent out his property.
A picture of the waterfall appears on an online website advertising Forsyth’s property for rent.
Forsyth said the picture that appears online is more than 10 years old and that he no longer rents his property because when Kauai County updated its zoning laws, Kilauea was not included as an area where transient vacation rentals are permitted.
“The lawsuit is factually inaccurate and baseless,” Forsyth said.
He said Ledward doesn’t live on his property, that he’s somebody else’s tenant and that he never personally or had anyone else cut down any trees on Somers’ property, even though he and his neighbors whose properties overlook the waterfall property have cutting rights to preserve their views.