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Facebook’s Zuckerberg responds to reports on his Kauai land dealings

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    Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and CEO of Facebook, waved at the CEO summit during the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Lima, Peru, on Nov. 19, 2016.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used his own social media platform today to explain his effort in court to acquire several small pieces of land on Kauai from Hawaii families.

Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post that some stories about his legal action are misleading.

“I want to clear this up,” he said in the post. “We want to create a home on the island, and help preserve the wildlife and natural beauty. We love Hawaii and we want to be good members of the community and preserve the environment. We look forward to working closely with the community for years to come.”

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser first reported on Wednesday that the billionaire, through companies he controls, filed eight “quiet title” lawsuits on Dec. 30 in Circuit Court, seeking to force owners of 14 small properties to sell their stakes in their land at public auction. The 14 parcels are surrounded by roughly 700 acres on Kauai’s north shore that Zuckerberg bought two years ago for about $100 million. Under Hawaii law, the owners of these parcels have rights to access their property through Zuckerberg’s land.

Through the quiet title law, Zuckerberg aims to identify family members who share ownership of the 14 parcels. After a judge validates who the lawful owners are and their share of ownership, the judge can order that all the ownership shares be sold at auction because it wouldn’t be possible to physically divide the land amongst all owners. In one of the lawsuits, it is alleged that ownership of four parcels totaling two acres is divided among more than a hundred members of one family.

Zuckerberg aims to acquire these ownership interests at an auction.

In his Facebook post, Zuckerberg said he worked with the majority owners of each property and reached a voluntary deal they thought was fair.

“As with most transactions, the majority owners have the right to sell their land if they want, but we need to make sure smaller partial owners get paid for their fair share too,” he said. “In Hawaii, this is where it gets more complicated. As part of Hawaiian history, in the mid-1800s, small parcels were granted to families, which after generations might now be split among hundreds of descendants. There aren’t always clear records, and in many cases descendants who own 1/4 percent or 1 percent of a property don’t even know they are entitled to anything.

“To find all these partial owners so we can pay them their fair share, we filed what is called a ‘quiet title’ action. For most of these folks, they will now receive money for something they never even knew they had. No one will be forced off the land.”

Some of the stories, written after the Star-Advertiser story was published, have suggested that Zuckerberg is kicking owners off their land, including a story in The Register, a technology publication in the United Kingdom, that was published with the headline “Zuck off: Facebook’s big kahuna sues Hawaiians to kick ‘em off their land.”

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  • If I remember reading the article correctly, the only family that actually occupies their land is actually trying to help Zuckerberg buy the parcels. Some headlines are indeed misleading. In reality it could very well be beneficial to all the partial owners out there should they be paid a fair price for their land. Would you rather receive money for land you either never knew you owned or rarely or never even visited? Or would you rather still own the land but be unable to do anything with it except say you owned it? If Zuckerberg doesn’t buy the land who else will? Maybe the owners just found a buyer for their otherwise useless piece of land. I just hope Zuckerberg pays a fair price. He can definitely afford it.

    • IRT Morimoto, fully agree with your post. I do believe Mr. Zuckerberg plans to do the right thing in identifying the properties and compensate the legal owners for that Kuliana Land.

      • You think? And how would you have any idea what they think? A lot of them don’t even know it’s their land. If it were me I’d want to sell. After all, what are you going to do with a patch of land in the forest you never use. Might as well get some cash from someone willing to buy it from you. Also having a small percentage of ownership interest in a piece of land sounds like a headache if you ever want to do anything with it other than let it sit vacant. I’m not saying Zuckerberg has the moral high ground but your post is based on what you think other people think, without any evidence.

        • This actually reflects the stupidity of the Hawaiian law. They shouldn’t be able to buy a parcel of land unless EVERYONE agrees to the sale. It makes no sense for them to have the right to access their property through someone else’s property. But then they’re violating someone else’s private property.

    • Actually, the family is huge, and the self-proclaimed leader, Carlos Andrade, hasn’t the best reputation amongst his own – in terms of playing fair.

      • But if he didn’t join the lawsuit, another 1%er or 7%er would, so live and let live… just please Carlos Andrade’s aloha is inversely proportional to his blood quantum… ask around

      • Andrade sounds like a jerk who’s being paid big bucks. Without his help it could have never gone forward. And the issue is he doesn’t own it. He’s just one of many owners. Hence, the lawsuit.

        • Too many comments from opinionated people who know nothing about the situation. Character assassinating one of the owners (Mr. Andrade) speaks to the ignorance of those here making such comments.

    • This just shows what rampant multiplying of certain families does: In the end everyone has next to nothing. Hundred owners of a little piece of land – that is utter nonsense . Overpopulation ruins everything.

  • The Star Advertiser article earlier this week was completely irresponsible and misleading. Clearly, the writer has no idea of what a quiet title action is or how common it is to clarify who owns property that has essentially been abandoned.

    • I was thinking the same thing. If Zuckerberg came to my house and offered $5 million for it, I’d be out of there before he could finish signing his name to the deed.

    • And if he didn’t offer that much would you turn down an offer close to fair market value? Or would you rather keep a worthless piece of land that you never use and might never find another buyer for in your lifetime. I’d take any offer close to FMV and be happy with it. BTW there’s only one family that actually lives on their property and they’re in favor of selling to Zuckerberg.

  • Zuckerberg is full of it. Claims he is doing this to preserve the place. Really. Only problem is that he would be reserving it for his exclusive use.
    These guys think the rest of you are cockroaches. He will live like royalty like in the Middle Ages on his own private estate behind walls and security (King’s guards).
    Easy for him to do on Kauai as the ruling political elite there are easy to influence and they all want to kiss his hand.
    It is no accident that Zuckerberg is so chummy with the ChiComs as he likes they way they run things and control the masses there. The ruling ChiComs all live like
    Zuckerberg and have the same low opinion of the masses.

    • I’m not going to waste my time trying to explain something to you if you never took the time to comprehend the article when it tried to explain details of the lawsuits and the possible defendants. You do realize Zuckerberg gives a lot of his fortune to philanthropic causes and pledges to give even more in the future don’t you?

        • Not only today he is “spot-on”, but this guy has been getting better and better on any given subject … I’m referring to Morimoto!

    • Exactly. Zuck is talking pure shibai, acting like he is Kamaaina. He is not and never will be. Acts like he knows all about Hawaiian customs, traditions, law. Knows nothing. Only knows what he has been told to say by his paid talking heads.

      He got caught trying to sneak land from people and is now acting all “Kissy Face” to hide his incompetence.

      Sad to say just another utterly clueless, full diaper, legend in his own mind Millennial. Dime a dozen.

    • As a guy who can afford it, he has the right to purchase a bunch of land on Kauai and make a nice home or whatever out of it. There’s no indication that he’ll be a problematic property owner. He seems like a good all around citizen who does a bunch of philanthropy.

      Because people are so ignorant, and are not able to read beyond the headline, I don’t blame him for saying all that cliched stuff about conserving the land.

      All you critics, read THIS article, as well as yesterday’s, and try to comprehend. And don’t bother posting a retraction here. Save your time.

      • Internet posters aren’t known for their reading comprehension nor patience. A lot of posts are more reaction than having any kind of thought put into it.

  • Awesome. The democrats chould learn something from this. STOP bashing TRUMP and lets see what he does. The fact people read a quote and go nuts without knowing the full story.

    This is a GREAT reason for all of us too STOP the hating and come together as one !

  • If he isn’t successful in acquiring these parcels, he can put what he owns up for sale and one of those huge international developers will buy it. Like in ones in Princeville.

  • The world of accurate reporting went the way of the Dodo a long time ago people. It is all about ad revenue and keeping the publication afloat at whatever the cost. Why do you think articles are headlined the way they are online? The more clicks, the more cash. Every time we comment on this forum, there is someone out there calculating how effective the forum control is and how many people are stopping by so they can charge x amount of dollars for a pop up ad…Trump supporters, Clinton supporters, whatever your inclination may be, the only people suffering from lack of substantial news information are Joe Blows like us.

  • Didn’t Zuckerberg donate a BILLION dollars last year alone? People on here talking like he’s a bad person are the same people who do nothing to help others.

    Trolls be trolling.

  • If Mark Zuckerberg understoon Hawaiian history, he would know that Hawaiians did not own the land, they were caretakers of the land itself; Land ownership is a western concept and not something that was comoon until the advent of the Hawaiian Kingdom times; when it was introduced, as farmers, ranchers and others sought to own property for their fields and animals to graze on. In trying to find and pay off all of those Hawaiian partial land ownders, does not reflect the way of doing business in the islands and is the reasons why there are conflicting news articles on his trying to acquire land ownership on Kauai! Besides what the hell you need 700 acres of beachfront property for? If you want privacy go build your own island somewhere uninhabited!

  • This method of clearing title is not unique to Hawaii, it is practiced in many states. Partition Hearings are common and happen every single day. When “everyone” owns the land [down to 1/2 of 1%] then in reality no one owns the land and nothing ever gets done. In essence; you can do nothing with a tiny % – how on earth can you build anything on a few square feet of ground? Farm? Impossible. In this instance – I think Mr. Facebook will do the right thing and pay the legitimate owners their fair share of what is due them. Then and only then will anybody, including this particular case, be able to do something productive.

    1 – if the “big dog” really wanted to have true seclusion and privacy for his family, why did not buy an island? i bet there there are many such islands to be had if he had truly done some real investigation?
    2 – if he really wishes to be the “good neighbor”, why does Zeukerberg have to have every parcel in his possession? can he not still live and let live with these smaller parcels? can he still continue to allow the quiet use of these smaller parcels by any owner who may know of them?
    3 – why did he deliberately proceed to buy AROUND these smaller privately owned parcels of land to set up his “island” knowing that these smaller owners would be PHYSICALLY LANDLOCKED by his actions? he must have foreseen that this predicament would eventually arise! that being the case, one might validly come to the conclusion that the entire action was PREMEDITATED on his part.
    4 – what does being a philanthropist have to do with anything? publicly announced or espoused philanthropy is not reason enough to “bully” smaller land owners who have diluted shares of anything for any reason. everyone knows that there an economic tax benefit to being a “philanthropist”. so it is nothing new to have a new owner with very deep pockets come in and push their agenda “for the sake of preserving the aina” as long as it is on their terms – especially on the neighboring islands.
    5 – understandably, these actions by the big dog are legally supported – but are they morally supported?

    these are my thoughts…thank you.

    • Good post, the way I see it Zeukerberg tries to use a white mans’ law to force Hawaiians to give him what he wants. Maybe legal in the white mans’ world, but not pono.

  • Quiet Title is and interesting vehicle. I’m not the authority nor do I understand it completely as some of the attorneys here.
    One party files for quiet title, it gets published in the papers. Owners have 20 days to come forward and prove they have title. They can then negotiate with the person who filed the action?
    Some properties held by some ohana have many, many family members on title. A lot of them don’t even know each other.
    Question I have is if the action is filed and some owners don’t know that they own a portion of the property, then after 20 days, “tough cookies”? Does the person filing the action have to make a good effort to research all the owners? You might have just missed out on the chance to sell your property and it goes to auction. Anybody want to go to auction against a billionaire?
    The action can be beneficial and yet be in favor of those with deep pockets.

  • we lost our kuleanna(sp) land though adverse possession on the Big Island, went to Court and lost, appealed and lost again (tried to use Kings Law rather than Western Law does not work….plus we had to pay a fine of $5K….sad, we never knew we had land…..

  • Let’s hope Mr. Zuckerberg is given a fair price and a fair deal. He seems like a very nice and honest person. Just because he is rich doesn’t mean others should take advantage of his wealthy status! Treating equally all people with kindness and fairness should be the basis of every person’s moral standard.

  • Who paid the property taxes for these small properties that Zuckerberg wants. Zuckerberg could go directly to these owners and pay them for the property. If property owners are unknown or have not paid any property taxes in the last 20 years, then could n’t someone that lived on the property claim the property.
    I think it is better for the people of Kauai that Zuckerberg is buying the property. That way the property will stay in the wild and protected for future generations and not purchased by developers who just want to build condos and make money. Just look at the Ward Estate, beautiful ocean front property filled with condo. Traffic will be a problem.

  • Zuckerberg is an influential person who is just trying to do the right thing and get CLEAR TITLE to the land he has bought and going through the correct LEGAL procedures. People that have no idea of their fractional ownership from generations back. We should treat him with respect as a prosperous and influential member of our community. He has the power to help our state and do many good things if he is happy here and wants to. Treat him with RESPECT as others want that do nothing wrong. Don’t misrepresent him in media headlines or make him out to be an unscrupulous person when he is doing things legally and correctly. If Andrade and others want to sell its up to them. Foster our influential citizens of Hawaii so they will want to help our state, not denigrate them to grab headlines!!

    • Let it sink in that there are only three land owners in Hawaii – crown, makaainana, government just as in most countries not the US you can only own land where you’re born. Clear title is not possible in Hawaii when the guarentor has no Treaty of Annexation and is in violation international, kingdom, US, and fakeState law.

  • There is no clear title in Hawaii. Realtors should lose their license for not explaining this. Further he can only buy the land for the length of the current holder’s life then it reverts to the next heir or crown. The guarantor has no land base here and no treaty of annexation. The guarantor is not born here is not the lawful government, crown nor makaaiana therefore can’t clear (guarentee) the title.

    If you want clear title you need to have been here before the crown (aboriginal title) or have a lodial title from the king.

    My familial land from Kamehameha I and later from Kauikeauoli is illegally occupied by current inhabitants that will never get over 290 current heirs to agree to sell. Even doing so will require future heir to relinquish their title upon inheritance and coming of age. This is particularly why land owning families were married into, killed, or sent to Kalaupapa.

    Forget not that the aina is our ancestor and unless from it you have no connection or right to it.

    • madeinhawaii – You are so mis-informed about Hawaii land law I won’t even bother to set you straight. You must be quoting some wishful think of a sovereignty group because Hawaii law is nowhere close to what you’re saying. lol!!

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