LIHUE — Defendants in the Coco Palms land dispute want to charge rent for the use of the Wailua land upon which the old hotel sits and they’ve set the price tag at $200 million.
A notice to quit or pay rent against Prudential Insurance, the State of Hawaii, the County of Kauai and Old Republic Title Escrow of Hawaii was filed by Noa Mau-Espirito and Kamu Charles Hepa, through certified mail.
Mau-Espirito said they did this because the title issue involving land in Wailua has not been resolved.
“They are not the rightful owners of the land,” Mau-Espirito said. “Under Hawaiian Kingdom law, they are the squatters.”
Mau-Espirito said this paperwork wasn’t filed against development company Coco Palms Hui LLC because their issues are really with the title insurance company.
“Tyler (Greene) and Chad (Waters) are just in the middle of this,” Mau-Espirito said.
The notice, Mau-Espirito said, is for $200 million because Coco Palms Hui LLC’s projected investment into the property once reconstruction is built is $175 million.
“If they’re going to use the land, they need to pay into the trust for it,” he said.
The land, he said, has been desecrated. There’s a road going through it, some tennis courts and a building.
Waters said Coco Palms Hui LLC could use some of that $200 million itself, if Mau-Espirito and the other defendants were to win in their bid for rent money.
“Whether it is $200 million or $200 billion that they get paid, it would be appreciated if they help pay for the cost of hauling away all of the rubbish they left on the property,” said Waters of the newest development in this case.
On Monday, the Department of Land and Natural Resources was scheduled to remove those that remain on state land in the area by 6:30 a.m., but the ejectment never happened.
“(Judge Michael) Soong’s ruling is still pending due to an appeal to the State Supreme Court,” Mau-Espirito said. “We’re still down there because legally, it’s not over yet.”
Mau-Espirito said he was offered a settlement if he dropped the appeal and quiet title case against Coco Palms Hui LLC, but he declined it.
It’s not his intent, Mau-Espirito said, for Waters and Greene to lose money or take food off the table for their families, but he said he’s got to do what he’s got to do.
If the entities named on the notice to quit or pay rent don’t pay them, Mau-Espirito said they’ll go to court, this time to prove both title and interest.
Ma-Espirito and Charles Hepa claimed ownership of the Wailua land, home to the Coco Palms Resort that has been closed since 1992 after being damaged by Hurricane Iniki, through their ancestry. They began staying on the property for more than a year. They were recently order off the land in court.
When they were removed from the contested piece of land on the west side of the property Feb. 22, Mau-Espirito says they were pillaged. “According to the United States Constitution,” he said, “that’s a war crime.”