Adding to their already significant land holdings on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan recently closed on another deal adding 600 more acres on the island.
The $53 million deal, just now coming to light, happened in March, and as The Hill reports, the couple purchased the land from a local nonprofit focused on conservation called the Waioli Corporation. Combined with the 700-acre property that Chan and Zuckerberg bought in 2014, they now own 1,300 total acres on the island, or about two square miles. It's not clear whether the new land is adjacent to their existing property, or separate, but it appears to be very close by.
As Architectural Digest reports, the couple "has been developing a ranch-style home and prioritizing preservation efforts" on the original 700-acre property. But the land is near the remote and public Larsen's Beach, known to locals as Lepeuli Beach, and debates about maintaining public access to the beach long predate Zuckerberg and Chan's purchase of the adjacent land, which had required cooperation from the Waioli Corporation.
Zuckerberg succeeded in pissing off many native Hawaiians in recent years when he went about suing hundreds of people over land ownership claims for parcels within his property boundaries. The suits are called "quiet title and partition" suits, and they are meant to force people to accept money to give up claims of ownership — which often go back generations, have no written deeds, and were meant to preserve land ownership among native Hawaiians.
He then made everyone angrier when, in 2016, he went about building a stone wall to demarcate his land, and keep others out.
The video below, produced by news group AJ+, explains the story, and how Zuckerberg apologized and dropped the suits in 2017. But the anger over them remains, and many locals are outraged anew over the news that Zuckerberg now owns even more land — calling his actions "neo-colonialism."
"We have been working closely with a number of community partners to promote conservation, produce sustainable agriculture, and protect native wildlife at our ranch and in the surrounding areas, and look forward to extending that effort to Lepeuli in the months ahead," Zuckerberg said in a statement, following news of the latest land purchase.
More than one million people have signed a Change.org petition to "Stop Mark Zuckerberg from Colonizing Kaui," which was launched in 2020.
"Mark Zuckerberg is the sixth richest man in the world... and he is suing Native Hawaiians in Kauai for their land so he can build a mansion," the petition reads, even though the suits were dropped. "They have built lives there. They have built families there... He’s building a mansion to what? Live in Kauai for two months out of the year? This is inhuman. It is sick. He needs to be stopped."
Zuckerberg has had a pattern of buying up land surrounding his homes to ensure privacy, including the homes he purchased around his own in Palo Alto. He and Chan also own a rather large pied-a-terre in San Francisco's Dolores Heights, and in May 2019, they purchased two adjacent properties on Lake Tahoe for $59 million.
So, yes, between the four homes and his busy schedule of invading our privacy and destroying democracy, it makes one wonder why the couple needs 1300 acres in order to spend short stints in Kauai. But sure, it's about "conservation."
Top image: Google Street View