West

After 'unlike' by community, Facebook's Zuckerberg reconsiders lawsuits over land

Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Mathias Doepfner, CEO of Axel Springer SE and publisher Friede Springer (L-R) try Gear VR virtual reality headsets during the awards ceremony of the newly established Axel Springer Award in Berlin

Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Mathias Doepfner, CEO of Axel Springer SE and publisher Friede Springer (L-R) try Gear VR virtual reality headsets during the awards ceremony of the newly established Axel Springer Award in Berlin  (Reuters)

The billionaire chief executive officer of Facebook on Tuesday said he is reconsidering the process by which he is trying to gain title to about a dozen small parcels of land on his sprawling estate in Hawaii.

The move to get the land through a unique Hawaii law angered locals and prompted a state lawmaker to propose a bill that would force Mark Zuckerberg into mediation before buying real estate on Kauai.

"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. "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 owns an expansive estate on Kauai, but he doesn't own all the land on the estate. There are about 14 small pockets of land, some less than an acre. They originally belonged to Native Hawaiians who were given the land when private property was stablished in Hawaii in the mid-19th century.

Many of the landowners died without making wills, and it was never determined who inherited the land.

Zuckerberg's lawyers in December filed a lawsuit asking the courts to find these owners so Zuckerberg could provide fair compensation for their land through the quiet title process, according to the documents.

Last Friday, state Rep. Kaniela Ing said he would introduce legislation that would force Zuckerberg into mediation before purchasing land on the island.

"We love Kauai," Zuckerberg said. "We want to be good members of the community and preserve the land for generations to come."

Zuckerberg's reconsideration was first reported by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.