The owner of Facebook has filed several lawsuits with three of his companies to acquire about a dozen parcels of kuleana land on his $100 million property, sources close with Zuckerberg confirmed with The Garden Island Wednesday.
Kuleana lands are parcels granted to Native Hawaiian tenant farmers between 1850 and 1855, according to the “Ua koe ke kuleana o na kanaka.” The land is inherited by descendants of the initial buyer with or without them knowing.
One case in particular is filed against at least 150 defendants who are descendants of Manuel Rapozo, sources said. Rapozo bought four parcels, amounting to over two acres, in 1894. During his life, Rapozo leased those properties to Kilauea Sugar Plantation, according to descendents of Rapozo.
Rapozo did not leave a will to his estate, according to Carlos Andrade, a great-grandson of Rapozo and former University of Hawaii professor, in a letter to descendents of Rapozo.
“An opportunity has arisen whereby a party has purchased the lands surrounding Manuel’s land and is willing to underwrite (pay for) all of the many legal costs to quiet the title to the land by way of purchasing from each and every descendant his/her just share to the lands in question,” the letter read.
Andrade believes more than 80 percent of Rapozo’s descendants are not aware of their claim on the land.