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Billionaire's Beach Saga Has a Strange Twist

Vinod Khosla's case rejected by Supreme Court, but he says a win would have 'depressed' him
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2018 9:35 AM CDT
A 2014 photo of Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla.   (Karl Mondon/San Jose Mercury News via AP, File)
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(Newser) – The public can continue to visit a billionaire's private beach in Northern California—as long as they pony up $10 for parking. That's the upshot of the Supreme Court's decision Monday not to take up the strange saga of Martin's Beach, owned by Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla. One reason the saga is strange? Khosla has been fighting in court for a decade to keep the public out, but he has said that victory would have left him "depressed." Details and developments:

  • The land: In 2008, Khosla bought the coastline property encompassing the beach and about 50 cottages, reports NPR. The previous owner allowed people access to the beach through a private road for a $10 fee, but Khosla opted to put up a locked gate. Why? "The costs of keeping the beach, the parking lot, and other facilities in operable and safe condition significantly exceeded the fees the business generated," he said in legal filings.
  • The lawsuit: A group called the Surfrider Foundation sued, saying Khosla couldn't legally block access to the beach under the the state's landmark Coastal Act of 1976, which declares that everyone has a right to beach access, reports the Los Angeles Times.

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