Updated Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg is suing dozens of families in Hawaii to force them to give up land they've owned for generations.
The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports that the Zuck's secluded sanctuary on the garden island of Kauai is at the heart of court proceedings between islanders and the billionaire exec who, by the way, wants to meet more American people. Clearly, not everyone.
As the paper explains, thanks to land claims dating back to the 19th century, parcels of Zuckerberg's 700-acre estate on Kauai are also owned by families who have the right to access those areas.
In an effort to get control over the entire estate and secure it from outside access, Zuckerberg has filed suit against the dozen families to force them to sell their parcels at auction, where he can purchase exclusive rights to the land.
As the Star Advertiser explains, the Hoodied One, who shelled out $100m for the estate, is looking to invoke a commonly cited state law on property rights and land sales. "The legal action known as 'quiet title and partition' isn't uncommon in Hawaii," the paper says.
"Yet even with an order from a judge and financial compensation, forcing people to sell land that has been in their families for generations can be off-putting – especially when it's driven by the sixth-richest person in the world."
The ownership of the parcels is not cut-and-dried, with some portions split among family members who would each have inherited a share of the land rights (and a piece of the sale). In some cases, people are not even aware they own a piece of the land.
It is expected that Zuckerberg will end up giving the families at least the current market value for their rights to the land. As a rule of thumb, Zuck paid a car ownership dealer $56m to acquire half of the estate in 2014 – that space is now worth $18m, according to county valuators.
The Facebook boss is no stranger to real estate drama. In 2013, he plopped down $30m to acquire four properties adjacent to his Silicon Valley home after word surfaced that a real estate agent was marketing a neighboring house largely on its proximity to Zuckerberg and his family. ®
Updated to add on January 27
Zuckerberg has had a change of heart and dropped his lawsuit.