Mark Zuckerberg has dropped his lawsuits against those on the Hawaiian island of Kauai who are living on land he owns.
Continue Reading Below
In a letter printed in Kauai's The Garden Island newspaper, Zuckerberg explained that he and wife Priscilla Chan love Kauai and bought land there to preserve its wildlife. He said they came to the decision after speaking with community leaders and expressing their intent to "achieve an outcome that preserves the environment, respects local traditions, and is fair to those with kuleana lands."
"To find a better path forward, we are dropping our quiet title actions and will work together with the community on a new approach," he wrote. "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."
The news is a win for natives, who planned to protest the lawsuits this weekend, according to Business Insider.
Zuckerberg two years ago purchased 700 acres of beachfront land on Kauai for $100 million with the intent of creating a secluded vacation oasis for his family. Except the land he purchased isn't all that secluded, and in December, he sued to change that.
The lawsuits targeted individuals, living and dead, "who inherited or once owned interests in what are known as kuleana lands where ownership is often largely undocumented," the Honolulu Star Adviser reported. They aimed to force targeted individuals to sell their land at a public court auction to the highest bidder. This type of legal action is common in Hawaii, according to the Adviser, but critics say it has reduced Native Hawaiian landownership.
In his letter, Zuckerberg reiterated his desire to build a home for his family on the land, but said "large portions will be maintained for farming by the community." His plan now is to continue speaking with locals about the best way to move forward.
"Upon reflection, I regret that I did not take the time to fully understand the quiet title process and its history before we moved ahead," Zuckerberg wrote. "Now that I understand the issues better, it's clear we made a mistake."