Vinod Kholsa is a legendary venture capitalist. He has invested and made many millions in the Sillicon Valley technology game. He’s the co-founder of Sun Microsystems. He’s crazy rich. Back in 2008 he bought an 89-acre coastal property in Half Moon Bay, California.
Khosla initially allowed public access through Martins Beach Road, which connects the highway to the waterfront, after he purchased the property, but he closed it off in 2010, triggering a years-long battle to reopen the beach. In January 2015, legislation took effect that gave the commission one year to negotiate a deal to restore public access. However, if the two sides can’t come to an agreement, the state does have the option of resorting to eminent domain to take over private property for public use.
That is a broad stroke of what went down last year.
Estimates vary as to how much it would cost the state to buy a right of way from Highway 1 to Martins Beach. San Mateo County has put the price around $1 million or $2 million, while some state legislative analysts have said the cost could climb upward of $10 million. The commission has a fund of roughly $6 million it could use to make the purchase.
Complicating matters is Khosla's claim, bolstered by a 2013 ruling by San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Gerald Buchwald, that he owns the tidelands and offshore submerged lands at Martins Beach. Tidelands are the portion of a beach between the high and low tide lines. They are generally owned by the state and available for public use.
Well, Khosla’s people have made an offer—out of the goodness of their gold-plated hearts.
Bay Area residents could soon regain access to the once popular Martins Beach tech investor Vinod Khosla purchased eight years ago—but for the steep price of $30 million.
Lawyers for Khosla, a wealthy Silicon Valley investor who previously co-founded Sun Microsystems, have sent a letter to California’s State Lands Commission with the offer earlier this month, according to a report from the New York Times. The price is almost as much as Khosla paid for the entire 53-acre property he purchased in 2008, when he paid $37.5 million for the stretch of land and beach.
With income inequality at historic levels, it is this kind of strange selfishness that seems so profoundly egregious. No one knows how Khosla arrived at the $30 million number. Maybe he’s just being a dick?