Zuckerberg clarifies on lawsuits over land purchase in Hawaii

20 Jan 2017


Mark Zuckerberg says there is a misunderstanding over the number of lawsuits he had filed over land he purchased in Hawaii.

Zuckerberg bought 700 acres of beachfront land on Kauai's North Shore for a reported $100 million in 2014 to build a secluded sanctuary for his family. However, about a dozen parcels within his property were owned by local families who had rights to traverse his estate, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported.

The Facebook chief is now filing "quiet title" lawsuits against a few hundred people who owned or once owned the lands, which were often passed down from generation to generation without a will or a deed, the newspaper reported Wednesday.

According to the newspaper, the suits were aimed "at forcing these families to sell their land at a public court auction to the highest bidder."

However, according to Zuckerberg's post on Facebook, Thursday, he negotiated the land purchases through their majority owners, but some of these lands might have fractional owners who may not be aware they were 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," Zuckerberg wrote. "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," he wrote, adding that "it is important to us that we respect Hawaiian history and traditions."

Meanwhile, state representative Kaniela Ing, who chairs the Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs committee, called it bullying.

"Whether or not it's moral, everything Zuckerberg is doing now is legal. But luckily in this building, we decide what's legal and not," said Ing.

"Yeah, there probably are worse ways he can go about it. That's irrelevant. The fact is he is, Zuckerberg is now a modern colonizer," he said.

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