Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may rescind lawsuits he filed against local Hawaiians in order to fulfill the development of his prospective 700-acre estate after receiving a lot of criticism, namely from locals.
“Based on feedback from the local community, we are reconsidering the quiet title process and discussing how to move forward,” Zuckerberg said in a statement, according to BuzzFeed News. “We want to make sure we are following a process that protects the interests of property owners, respects the traditions of native Hawaiians, and preserves the environment.”
Zuckerberg, who is reportedly the sixth richest person in the world, was essentially trying to force local residents on the island of Kauai to sell off parcels of property through legal proceedings called “quiet title action.”
Zuckerberg says that it’s rather difficult to payout the property owners because land that was granted to families in the mid 1800s has been split among hundreds of descendants.
“There aren’t always clear records, and in many cases descendants who own 1/4% or 1% of a property don’t even know they are entitled to anything,” Zuckerberg explained in a post on his social media profile.
Some Hawaiians, to a certain degree, defended Zuckerberg for trying to compensate people for their land that they may not have even known they owned.
“His current actions show that he is trying to do the right thing,” said Matt Goodale, a resident of Kauai who owns 10 acres of property nearby, according to The Guardian. Goodale says Zuckerberg’s large estate is more favorable than the likely alternative of an 80-home development.
“This is the face of neocolonialism,” said Kapua Sproat, a law professor at the University of Hawaii, according to The Guardian. “Even though a forced sale may not physically displace people, it’s the last nail in the coffin of separating us from the land,” Sproat, a resident of Kauai, continued.
Zuckerberg, though, still seems adamant on remaining in the area in some capacity.
“We love Kauai. We want to be good members of the community and preserve the land for generations to come,” Zuckerberg’s statement to BuzzFeed continued.
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