KILAUEA, KAUAI—In 2014, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg bought 700 acres of land on the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii for $100 million. According to reports, nearly a dozen components of his acquired property are currently being held by locals on the island.
At the end of December, Zuckerberg filed lawsuits through his companies Pilaa International LLC, Northshore Kalo LLC, and High Flyer LLC, against a few hundred island residents who have crossed through or reportedly own rights to the land he purchased. Allegedly seeking more privacy for his family, the Honolulu Star-Adviser confirmed that the purpose of the eight lawsuits is particularly to “force these families to sell their land at a public court auction to the highest bidder.”
When the Kuleana Act of 1850 was cultivated, laws declared that Hawaiian citizens were granted rights to privately owned land which they would pass down to future generations. In several cases, no documentation is provided. Some recipients of the land are unaware that they own various sectors of properties.
The Honolulu Star-Adviser described some of the lawsuits filed by Zuckerberg and his officials:
“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 that are believed to have no living owners. 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
The most complicated case was filed against roughly 300 defendants whom descended from an immigrant Portuguese sugar cane plantation worker, Manuel Rapozo, who is listed in the complaint as having bought four parcels totaling nearly 2 acres in 1894.
Zuckerberg took to Facebook to clarify his plans for obtaining ownership over desired sectors of the property.