LIHUE — A month after filing a lawsuit against a local real estate developer for using his vacation home as a short-term rental property, the Kauai County Planning Department is taking on the billionaire founder of Oakley.
The planning department filed a civil complaint in Fifth Circuit Court on Monday against Kauains LLC, a corporation registered to Oakley founder James Jannard, for allegedly operating an illegal transient vacation rental in Hanalei that has been on the planning department’s radar for more than two years.
The county’s request for a court-ordered injunction against the TVR appears to be the next step in a larger effort to crack down on short-term rental properties that violate county ordinances. Earlier this month, Planning Director Kaaina Hull told The Garden Island the county is about to harness new technology in an effort to identify and shut down illegal TVRs, estimating that 800 to 1,200 are in operation islandwide.
According to the complaint, the billionaire’s rental property has been the subject of planning department investigations, litigation and hearings dating back to August 2017, when the TVR’s permit application arrived two weeks past deadline.
The department denied the renewal application, but Kauains LLC continued to advertise and rent the TVR despite efforts by planning officials to enforce county regulations.
“Fines continue to accrue, the administrative process has been exhausted, and yet the defendant chooses to do as it pleases,” the complaint says, later requesting the court order an injunction against the TVR operation because “the county has no plain, speedy or adequate remedy” to prevent Jannard from violating Kauai statutes.
The Planning Department maintains that using the house as a short-term rental property in violation of county ordinances constitutes a daily public nuisance, “continuing to destabilize and overcrowd a small residential community with tourists and other transients.”
Jannard’s three-bedroom, two-bath house on Weke Road in Hanalei is worth a little over $10 million, and is advertised as the “Paniolo Beach Cottage” on a North Shore vacation rental website for $1,200 a night.
Jannard bought at least two other million-dollar properties on Kauai’s North Shore in 2015, one of which is registered as a TVR, according to county tax records. And Pacific Business News reported he recently purchased two more lots earlier this year for $19 million.
Jannard founded sunglasses empire Oakley out of his car in 1975, eventually selling the company for $2.1 billion in 2007, according to Forbes.
Jannard could not be reached for comment, and attorneys representing Kauains LLC have not responded to TGI inquiries about the matter.