Mark Zuckerberg Sues Dead Hawaiian Neighbours
Jan 21, 2017 12:37 AM EST
CEO of the world's largest social network, Mark Zuckerberg, is filing a lawsuit against his neighbours to ensure that his 700-acre Hawaiian plot land gains some more privacy. It includes some who are already dead, and some who still hold claims to the land Zuckerberg purchased.
Only in last year, the 32-year-old billionaire spent an additional $30 million to buy up four houses surrounding his Palo Alto abode originally purchased in 2014 on the island of Kauai for more than $100 million, only to completely demolish them. He then erected a massive six-foot wall surrounding his home, to the chagrin of his neighbours.
When Zuckerberg paid for the compound in 2014, it included a dozen of small "kuleana lands" owned by native Kilauean families. Technically speaking, they still have the rights to pass through these lands that have often been passed to heirs of the first owner, even in the absence of a will or deed. It means that a Kilauean who hold some ownership over Zuckerberg's land, which can be as small as one hundredth of one percent, can still claim it, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
The legal battles consisting of eight lawsuits, of which were filed last December, are "aimed at forcing these families to sell their land at a public court auction to the highest bidder." The legal maneuver is making use of the state's "quiet title" legal proceeding, which can be used to identify title owners and force land sales.
Although Zuckerberg's fancy legal footwork is not necessarily uncommon, some of these families aren't even aware of the commotion. Marian Tavares, who holds a 0.5 percent stake over the land, neither knows about the land nor the lawsuit. In another case, a descendant of a Portuguese sugar cane farmer who bought a certain portion of the land in 1894 is worried that there's no one left to pay tax on the family property.
It also seems like the Facebook co-founder has a brief history of troubling his neighbors. Besides displeasing the neighbors surrounding his Kauai property, Zuckerberg reportedly spent millions of dollars in 2014 on the construction of his other home in San Francisco, leaving neighbors feeling "under siege" for about 18 months, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Later in 2016, the neighbours complained that Zuckerberg's security detail was parking illegally on the street.