Facebook CEO responds to flap over Kauai land suits
00:42, Jan 21, 2017
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Now Zuckerberg want to go to court to force the sale of nearly a dozen small parcels of land, according to the Star Advertiser.
The hundreds of defendants include those living and dead from the several generations of families.
Three holding companies - all of which are controlled by Zuckerberg - filed eight lawsuits in local court on December 30, 2016, against families who collectively inherited 14 parcels of land through the Kuleana Act.
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"There have been some misleading stories going around today about our plans in Hawaii", Zuckerberg wrote, "so I want to clear this up".
A contested case could potentially cost landowners more than $200,000, though Zuckerberg attorney Keoni Shultz has said the Facebook CEO has no intention of contesting any co-owner who can prove their interest in any of the land parcels. It is a highly sensitive situation, not to mention complicated, though not everyone involved is against what Zuckerberg is doing. At issue is what's known as kuleana lands which is real estate initially acquired by Hawaiian citizens through a law passed in 1850.
Some of those with ancestral claims, however, have little in the way of ties to lands that have been divided and subdivided among family members for so long that the ownership percentages can be infinitesimal.
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He continued: 'For most of these folks, they will now receive money for something they never even knew they had. Based on Hawaiian law, descendants of those farmers - or descendants of any Hawaiian resident that later purchased land from those farmers - remain the rightful owner, regardless of the existence of a property deed or will. He said that he is working with a professor of native Hawaiian studies in the quite title process and intends to be "good members of the community and preserve the environment". Waving cash to get what you want isn't a Hawaiian Tradition.
Citing the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Fox News reported a dozen parcels of Zuckerberg's Kauai estate are owned by so-called kamaaina families, or Hawaii residents born on the island regardless of whether they have native Hawaii ancestry or not. Zuckerberg has now filed a lawsuit to acquire those areas, according to reports.
In the eight cases for parcels of land, the goal of the quiet title and partition lawsuit is to recognize who may be an owner or co-owner of the kuleana land and inform them of their claim and give them the opportunity to establish interest. Defendants in the lawsuits will have three weeks after being served with a copy of the legal complaint within which to respond.
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"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. It would apply to Zuckerberg's cases if they are still ongoing.
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