In Hawaii, Mark Zuckerberg has added more land to his 1500-acre dominion. He has recently purchased a 110-acre piece of land in Kauai for a hefty $17 Million. This land also consists of the century-old reservoir whose dam broke in 2006, causing a 400-gallon flash flood that claimed 7 lives on Kauai’s north shore.
A controversial land-holding
The CEO, Co-founder of Facebook’s parent company, Meta, and the 5th richest man in the world, Mark Zuckerberg, has often been in the news for some controversy. Since he first bought the land at Kauai in 2014, a dispute has been created regarding this piece of land. His previous acquisitions in Kauai were a 750-acre purchase for $100M made in 2014 and another $53M 600-acre purchase made in March.
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Note that the $53 M purchase had enveloped a public beach and a working cattle farm. Kauai’s people were angered because it blocked easy access to the public beach and created several legal technicalities for Zuckerberg’s neighbours. In 2016, Mark Zuckerberg had a 6-foot wall built around his estate to block the nearby roads and highway noise.
To add insult to the injury, Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, filed lawsuits against the people who owned certain small pockets of land within Zuckerberg’s vast real estate in Kauai. The cases filed back in 2017 were of a ‘quiet title’ nature which posed severe danger against the local people owning small property within Mark Zuckerberg’s estate. These kinds of lawsuits are used to clarify the complicated land ownership claims. This meant that the local landowners had to prove the land they had inherited from their ancestors. Often, the lawsuits lead to auctioning the ground or, in some suits, even paying the legal fees of the plaintiff, i.e. Mark Zuckerberg in this case.
Kapua Sproat, a law professor at the University of Hawaii, had in a statement made to the Guardian back in 2017, said, ” This is the face of Neocolonialism. Even though a forced sale will not physically displace people, it’s the last nail in the coffin to separate us from the land.”
Sproat added, “For us, as native Hawaiians, the land is an ancestor. It’s a grandparent … You don’t sell your grandmother.”
Mark Zuckerberg Recent $17 Million Purchase Adds to His 1500 Acres of Estate in Hawaii Amidst the Controversy
Although Mark Zuckerberg and his wife eventually dropped the legal suit to make it right, talk with the community and find a better solution to the problem, Mark Zuckerberg had cultivated resentment among the local community. The matter finally was resolved with the auctioning of the small properties within Zuckerberg’s estate – a similar ending to that usually observed in such cases.
Will the dam be repaired?
Since the reservoir is dangerous without an adequately built dam, the Zickerbergs are expected to indulge in the repairs. Ben LaBolt, the spokesperson for the Zuckerbergs, says that all legal requirements concerning the dam will be fulfilled. Moreover, the Ko’olau ranch, previously acquired by Mark Zuckerberg, is also being carefully looked after. He added that the Zuckerbergs were keen to improve the quality of their land with ecological considerations. They are involved in sustainable agriculture, the protection of wildlife, and promoting conservation on the whole.