WAILUA — Native tenants remain on Coco Palms property over a week after their court-ordered ejectment date.
“State sheriffs are currently working with the property owner and the Kauai Police Department on this matter,” Toni Schwartz, public information officer for the state Department of Public Safety, said in a statement to TGI Monday. “As we work towards resolution with all parties involved, the occupants will be appropriately contacted.”
Chad Waters, co-owner of development company Coco Palms Hui, said those remaining on the property need to comply with the judge’s orders.
In Wailua, defendant Kamu “Charles” Hepa said things are going really well. They had a beach cleanup Sunday, he said.
The civil trial lasted close to two months, with co-defendants Noa Mau-Espirito and Hepa representing themselves.
Plaintiffs Waters and Tyler Greene, who own development company Coco Palms Hui, bought the land where the famed Coco Palms Resort once stood, through a special warranty deed.
Mau-Espirito and Hepa claim the land through a royal patent and ancestry. They argued their right to be on the property through a Supreme Court ruling that stated native tenants can’t be ejected from land if they’re using it for cultural purposes.
In his ruling, Judge Michael Soong likened their takeover of the land as hostile. The Supreme Court ruling, Soong said, is for the right to access, to enter another person’s property to hunt, gather and exercise traditional religious and cultural practices.