Facebook CEO, facing wave of criticism, stops attempt to force Hawaii land sale

Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:37pm EST
 
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) - Facing mounting criticism from islanders and local lawmakers, Facebook (FB.O: Quote) CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday revealed he was dropping his legal gambit to force the sale of land tracts on his seafront property on the island of Kauai that are claimed by native Hawaiians.

"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 in Kauai newspaper The Garden Island.

"Now that I understand the issues better, it's clear we made a mistake," the billionaire added.

Zuckerberg had previously tried to secure parcels of land within the property by filing quiet title actions, a legal mechanism used to establish ownership and force a sale of land where inheritance rights stretch back generations and formal documentation is lacking.

Hawaii state representative Kaniela Ing, a Democrat, in response to the controversy this week introduced a bill that would require mediation in similar disputes involving native Hawaiians. At the time, the lawmaker likened Zuckerberg's plans to those of sugar barons who took land from native Hawaiians in the 1800s.

Business Insider reported some Hawaii residents planned to protest at Zuckerberg's property on Saturday.

The local news article at the top bore the names of Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, as co-authors but it only had Zuckerberg's name listed at the bottom.

"The right path is to sit down and discuss how to best move forward," their article said.   Continued...

 
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seen on stage during a town hall at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California September 27, 2015. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo