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Hawaii Land Dispute involving Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Last week Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg dropped the quiet title lawsuits that were filed in December against the owners of ancestral lots located on his land on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.

He wrote an op-ed piece in the Garden Island newspaper, explaining his actions.

“We understand that for native Hawaiians, Kuleana are sacred and the quiet title process can be difficult. We want to make this right, talk with the community, and find a better approach,” Zuckerberg wrote.

There were only a few a lots that were within Zuckerberg’s property that are in question. He bought the land in 2014, just as the land was going to be developed commercially. According to the Kuleana Act of 1850, these lots belong to descendants of commoners that were awarded the land.

The problem was that many of the descendants did not know they owned the land. The idea behind the lawsuits was that Zuckerberg was trying to identify the owners and buy them out. Much of this played out on Facebook and people in the community claimed that the lawsuits could also be used to force people out of the land by forcing an auction.

Here’s more from the op-ed piece.

“Before we acquired land in Waipake, it was set to be sub-divided by a commercial developer and built into about 80 homes, which could have impacted endangered monk seals and albatross. Now the land will be preserved with minimal development, and large portions will be maintained for farming by the community.”

“I regret that I did not take the time to fully understand the quiet title process and its history before we moved ahead,” he continued. “Now that I understand the issues better, it’s clear we made a mistake.”

If you are a landowner that’s locked in a land dispute and you need mediation and negotiation advice then contact Kevin Boileau and Nazarita Goldhammer of BCS. Kevin and Nazarita have a wide range of land and water mediation experience and have consulted for real estate litigation cases that involve boundary dispute resolution, and commercial dispute resolution. If you are a property attorney and need their assistance for a dispute involving an estate, or ranchlands and farmlands please contact us today by email solutionsbcs@gmail.com or by phone 415-830-0065. BCS has offices in Montana, California, and Colorado

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