Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a huge 700-acre beachfront property in the magnificent Hawaii islands though technically there exist slices of land that aren’t his from a legal point of view. This has prompted the CEO to initiate legal proceedings to gain absolute ownership of those areas which in all measure about 8-acres at the most.
As many as eight ‘quiet title and partition’ suits have been filed in the local court that makes it mandatory for the landowners to sell their undeveloped property to the highest bidder in a public auction. So far, 30 families have been identified who have been found to own 14 parcels of land.
What is interesting is that many might not even be aware of their owing a piece land that right now falls under the private estate of Zuckerberg which he had bought in 2014. That’s because according to the Kuleana Act, a Hawaiian law that is in force since 1850, anyone who inherited a land from their forefather is the rightful owner of the land even if they do not have in their possession any legal deed or a will.
The Kuleana Act applies to the Kuleana tenant farmers who were granted the land from 1850 to 1855. The land still belongs to the descendants of those farmers or anyone who had bought the land from the farmers then.
In a particular case, one Manuel Rapozo has been found to have owned two acres of land back in 1894. The land that is estimated to be worth around $1.1 million now belong to his descendants who have grown to be 300 right now.
In fact, Carlos Andrade who happens to be a great-grandson of Rapozo is helping Zuckerberg’s team to identify other members of his family so that they can stake their claim before the county takes control of it.
If left unsettled, such owners will continue to enjoy legal rights on the land that they are the owners of. Of course, that is not a desirable scenario for someone like Zuckerberg who otherwise has been quite protective of his privacy, to the extent that he has even been found to have the webcam and mic on his laptop covered with tapes to prevent any surveillance hacks.