Stab Magazine | Tech Billionaire Suffers A Defeat In His Decade-long Attempt To Privatize "His Beach"
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Tech Billionaire Suffers A Defeat In His Decade-long Attempt To Privatize “His Beach”

Vinod Khosla’s once ‘private beach’ is open for business. 

news // Oct 2, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

After suffering a string of legal defeats Khosla appealed California’s judgment that he must open the beach to the public to the Supreme Court. Today that same court declined to hear Khosla’s appeal, which is predicated upon the notion that the state of California has no right to tell private property owners what they can, or cannot, do with their land.

Khsola has claimed in the past that he is entitled to close access to the beach due to land rights guaranteed under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which was signed in 1848 and ended the Mexican-American War. 

“The most conservative and divided Supreme Court in my lifetime confirmed that even a billionaire, who refuses to acknowledge that the law applies to him, and retains the most expensive attorneys he can find, cannot create a private beach,” said Joseph Cotchett, lead attorney for the Surfrider Foundation, which sued Khosla. “Beaches are public in California, and the immensely wealthy must comply with the Coastal Act just like everyone else.” 

Khosla purchased the 89 acre property for $32.5 million in 2008. The Deeney Family, the land’s prior owners, had previously allowed access for a fee, while operating a small store and  providing access to other amenities. Khosla claimed that, because the business had operated at a loss, he could not be expected to maintain public access. He subsequently installed a gate and hired security to keep the stretch free of unwanted interlopers.

In response to the lack of certiorari Khosla’s attorney’s issued a statement indicating that Khosla is willing to begin taking steps towards eventually attaining the permits necessary to reopen the beach. No matter how long it takes…

“No business owner should be forced to obtain a permit from the government to shut down a private business, to change prices from those that existed in 1972 (as the state has demanded), or to change hours of operation. However, we will comply with the decision of the California Court of Appeal and apply for the required permit. If denied, we will start this process over again.” 

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