Kauai is a very special place for me. I was born in Kipu and grew up in Puhi, and from time to time visited The Coco Palms. We went fishing, picnicking, swimming at Lydgate Beach Park, and I worked one summer on the Wailua River as a student employee for the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Yes, I did spent time on the grounds of Coco Palms visiting the monkey in the coconut grove and even had a few meals at the hotel restaurant. I am aware that my family (Albert S. Morgan) was involved in developing the swimming area at Lydgate, for my step dad Charlie Scharsch, the Kauai Harbor Master is a cousin of Albert. Anyway, the Coco Palms.
Then come the owners of the Sept. 11, 1992 Hurricane Iniki that destroyed the Coco Palms hotel, ready to finally clean up the property and rebuild a new Coco Palms. A plan that I believed is needed, right and nostalgic for the area and for all Kauai.
I read in The Garden Island that there were squatters (Mr. Noa Mau-Espirito et al.) on the Coco Palms property claiming they are legally the owners of the property for they are direct descendants of King Kaumualii. Excuse me. Now, you got my interest.
All land ownership in Hawaii is recorded and available for review at the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, Bureau of Conveyances, who is the recorder and keeper of all land deeds and titles for the State of Hawaii.
The process of land recordings for Hawaii was started under King Kamehameha III, as he initiated the Great Mahele of June 7, 1848 and developed the process of recording all of Hawaii’s land holdings that continues today.
Yes, the Great Mahele includes the Island of Kauai.
The Kingdom Constitutions from 1852, includes the control and management of the Government Lands. A few years later, on Jan. 3, 1865, the Crown Lands under King Kamehameha V were transferred to the Government to settle financial claims against the King.
Then on Jan. 17, 1893, citizens of the Kingdom removed the Queen, her cabinet and her sheriff and proclaimed the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands under the 1887 Kingdom of Hawaii Constitution.
The Provisional Government approves the conduct of a Constitutional Convention, that presents on July 4, 1894, the Constitution of the Republic of Hawaii, including the continued control of the government lands (including the Crown Lands).
These same Hawaii Government lands were transferred to the United States of America on July 7, 1898, as an agreement of the Organic Act. And, the same Hawaii Lands, less lands for military bases, national parks, and Hawaiian Homes are transferred back to the now State of Hawaii on March 18, 1959.
Who owns that 33.4 acres (16.4 acres along Kuhio Highway and the 17 acres coconut grove leased from the State) making up the Coco Palms hotel? Well, the article in the Star-Advertiser on May 7, 2017 states, “Coco Palms Hui LLC has acquired the property from Prudential Insurance’s PR II LLC with a $23 million loan from Private Capital Group of Alpine, Utah. The title has been transferred to Coco Palms Hui from Prudential after escrow closed Friday.”
My opinion, remove the squatters and allow the owners of the property to develop their project.
James Kuroiwa is a resident of Kaneohe.