Mark Zuckerberg adds 110 acres to controversial 1,500-acre Hawaii estate

 The $17m purchase for the Facebook founder includes the Ka Loko reservoir, considered high-risk and in need of repairs

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg purchased 110 acres in Kauai to add to his 1,500-acre estate. Photograph: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg has added 110 acres to his controversial 1,500-acre estate in Kauai, Hawaii, dropping $17m for the purchase.

The 110 acres of land that the Facebook founder and his wife recently bought includes the Ka Loko reservoir, a century-old reservoir whose dam broke in 2006 and released 400m gallons of water that killed seven people on Kauai’s north shore.

According to the couple’s spokesperson Ben Labolt, the reservoir is considered high-risk and has not been repaired. The Zuckerbergs are committed to fulfilling the legal requirements surrounding the reservoir, Labolt told Business Insider.

“Mark and Priscilla continue to make their home at Ko’olau Ranch,” Labolt said. He added that they had “worked closely with a number of community partners to operate a working ranch, promote conservation, produce sustainable agriculture and protect wildlife and look forward to expanding their efforts to include this additional property”.

Zuckerberg’s recent purchase comes after two previous acquisitions - a $100m 750-acre purchase made in late 2014 and a $53m 600-acre purchase made in March that includes a public beach and working cattle ranch.

Zuckerberg’s massive estate has met with criticism and controversy in the past. In 2016, Zuckerberg angered neighbors when he constructed a 6ft stone wall around his property that blocked easy access to Pila’a Beach, in an attempt to decrease highway and road noise.

Pila’a Beach, center, shown in 2017, sits below hillside and ridgetop land owned by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the north shore of Kauai in Hawaii. Photograph: Ron Kosen/AP

Then in early 2017, Zuckerberg’s lawyers filed lawsuits against hundreds of local Hawaiians who may own an interest in small pockets within his estate’s boundaries. The “quiet title” suits are used to clarify the often complicated history of land ownership in the state and can often force owners to auction off their lands. In certain cases, defendants are even required to pay the legal fees of the plaintiff – in this case, the world’s fifth richest man.

“This is the face of neocolonialism,” said Kapua Sproat, a law professor at the University of Hawaii to the Guardian in 2017. “Even though a forced sale may not physically displace people, it’s the last nail in the coffin of separating us from the land.”

“For us, as native Hawaiians, the land is an ancestor. It’s a grandparent … You just don’t sell your grandmother,” Sproat added.

Zuckerberg eventually dropped the suit, saying that he and his wife wanted to “make this right, talk with the community, and find a better approach”. The pockets of land were eventually sold at an auction.

Along with his Hawaii estate, Zuckerberg owns a total of roughly 1,400 acres and 10 houses in Palo Alto, San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, amounting to a $320m real estate portfolio.

Credit by  the Guardian in

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