We seek funding support to help us in the defense and preservation of the kuleana lands as a family and cultural legacy. Please help us. We are a middle class family facing a billionaire bully teamed up with a renegade family member acting as front man doing something he cannot afford doing on his own. It is embarrassing that this law suit and aggressive actions to bully family to sell fractional shares has gone on for two years. All contributions are welcome to help defray costs. Taking many small contributions is a point of pride for the extended Rapozo family. We are fearful that if Zuckerberg and front many family member Carlos Andrade pull of this tag team of an assault on kuleana, then all kuleana and cultural properties and even normal notions of private rights in Hawaii will be distorted as though Hawaii were a banana republic. That is why the holdout Rapozos persist in our defense.
We have a paypal acccount to take payments. We also have a go fund me account with facebook. If any facebook account is shut down, we will make a formal complaint with the communications authorities at the state and federal level and pursue private right of action for damages.
Donors who wish to directly contribute can contact us directly by email or via the Hawaii phone number.
Click just below here for the paypal link
Aloha supporters of Kuleana and the Rapozo family kuleana defense. This is our blog to entertain comments, ideas and questions publicly. But if there is something private, just email us or call. Aloha
Kilauea Lighthouse point is the Northern tip of the island, and Pila'a is the parcel whose northern coast forms the eastern part of Kilauea bay.
Here is an aerial view of Kilauea bay with Pila'a in red. The red dots indicate kuleana parcels. They are no different than small parcels of land in California or New England living side by side with a much larger farm or estate or some small cafe next to big new shopping center.
From the sea looking toward the south. Magic
Manuel Rapozo purchased 4 kuleana parcels in 1894 and they passed to his descendants of today, not just to cousin Carlos Andrade, who is part of the on-going suit against many in the extended family. The 4 kuleana were purchased by Manuel at a very important time in Hawaii's history and were part of Manuel's and his brother Fransisco's being part of civic and commercial life and in their getting the right to vote in Hawaii elections, which at the time was a very big thing. Most important, these 4 parcels were cornerstones in Manuel and Fransisco and their family being Hawaiian.
These 4 parcels legally exist and are not owned by billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, although he owns over 700 acres of other land that surrounds or is adjacent to many kuleana parcels, including the 4 Rapozo parcels. The Rapozo family fully respect his 700 plus acres and only ask that he respect the extending family ownership of the 4 kuleana parcels and the easements to get to them. No matter how much Marc may admire Carlos or Carlos' rationalization of the situation, the 4 parcels legally belong and cultural belong to something much bigger than Carlos -- the extended Rapozo family.
Kuleana lands are quite special historical and cultural parcels; they legally exist. Kuleana parcels began as small grants of land to native Hawaiians who farmed or lived on those parcels. Kuleana parcels are now usually owned by extended Hawaiian families (notably native Hawaiian families but also extended families across all Hawaii's ethnic groups, notably old immigrant families, who have in many instances identified with the land and married into native Hawaiian families). It is not a surprise that these parcels and families are part of the fabric of cultural life in Hawaii. They are cultural and historic treasures, and most meaningful when celebrated as family holdings. To us and to most extended families, these 4 kuleana parcels and others like it are mele inoa, the song of our name -- of people and places who shaped who we are and shaped Hawaii. Each quiet title action which has the effect of eliminating the ownership of extended families takes a slice out of the heart of Hawaii.
Cousin Carlos Andrade, a former college professor and sometimes musician, and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg first sued the members of the extended Rapozo family with the ultimate practical goal of wiping out the extended family's remaining interest in the 4 kuleana parcels by way of a compulsory sale process. They sued in their name and/or through companies either or both of them control or in which they have financial or beneficial interests, and we some times call those companies with Mark and Carlos, the Carlos Mark Companies. Pending the ultimate quiet title lawsuit being played out to its logical end, the Carlos Mark Companies have sought to buy out the interests of the extended Rapozo family. Some of those efforts were quite aggressive when compared to normal commercial behavior one should reasonably expect when approaching middle class families and when considered in the context of the overall law suit, the run up to the law suit and related activities. To call this law suit an information gathering process is not accurate given the practical reality that often takes place in quiet title actions and the tension and negotiating leverage at play. The looming threat of litigation and attorneys fees, for all practical purposes, taint the whole process (even the specific transfers that are seemingly neutral). We understand also that many in the family were contacted by the Carlos Mark Companies or their attorneys prior to the litigation and the nature of what they were told or what was implied are questionable.
Mark on January 27, Mark announced he was dropping all the quiet title law suits, but then he openly said he was supporting Carlos in Carlos' continuing with the suit. We do not know what to make of such a statement when one of the most problematic law suits continues against people who are alive and who love those 4 parcels and the legacy that comes with it. Whilst the tone of the overall apology statement is generally appreciated, it alone does not undo the harm done by the law suit, the purchases already made under the taint of the law suit, or the overall benefit conveyed to Carlos in his continuing on with the suit with much of the legal machine and plan already set in motion and substantially paid for by Mark. It does seem that Mark wants to reconcile (or we should say we want to believe he does), but the current state of play does not seem in line with the sentiment in his announcement.
We look into our past, see what is happening and see an ugly very ugly road that may lay ahead. We see us, but we see you and Mark and we see what you do.
Having a self-interested family member with the financial backing of a wealthy third party use a quiet title proceeding and aggressive buying efforts with the goal or practical effecting of wiping out a family's legacy and legal interests in kuleana land would undermine notions of fairness, cultural cohesion and confidence in the even-handed application of the rule of law. The issue is not about some prescribed value of land, but of land ownership and respecting the choice of someone to keep that ownership. Some members will refuse to sell or if fairly informed of the situation and the choices would likely not have sold. Many with a full explanation and without the tension of a law suit could come to a view to hold on. This Mark Carlos operation would set a precedent that would threaten the existence of family owned kuleana and serve as a basis for distorting behavior of family and businesses that service this sector, as they adjust to digest the Mark Carlos operation for the new practical norm that this case could otherwise create. Yes with some kuleana parcels the ownership is messy, but allowing a dissident family member to team up with a wealthy third party with a law suit is not the fix and is simply a dangerous precedent. It creates a sense of fear and a lack of trust. This quiet title suit and related activities need to stop completely, and a series of actions need to be taken to fully remedy the harmful effects and neutralize the benefits of any tainted gains resulting from any and all actions associated with that quiet title action. It needs to be a full and meaningful solution. The saddest part is that for a century and a bit, Hawaii has tolerated periodic abusive behavior in the use of quiet title and now that is being considered normal and acceptable behavior. This current Mark Carlos operation has pushed the limits of quiet title to such extremes, it has distorted rational behavior and has brought out the worst in people devoid of any cultural context. We should all be frightened for what this means for the rule of law and fairplay.
We appreciate security and confidentiality are important. Please make reasonable inquiry of people purporting to be family.
Use secured email whenever possible. Never provide your birthday or social security number to anyone. Be careful about when your home address is provided. Take reasonable precautions to avoid fraudsters who may some how pose a family. Also be on guard for members the Mark's and Carlos ' team who may possibly be seeking unfairly to gather information from you.
Call us at: HI: (808) 439-6739
We are starting a fund raising drive to assist in the cost of counsel and other related expenses. We are middle class families. We began to pull some funds to least get started to fund our defense. Some people have offered to help and we were not sure if it was proper to take contributions from others. But over the past few weeks, we now see the issues are bigger than just our family's small plots. We will now take contributions. Details will be provided at a later date.
Thanks for coming to our website and reading our opening page. For those who want more information, here is table of contents and map of our site.
The opening section of this website home page which you saw above contains the following:
1. This is Kaua'i and Pila'a
2. Meet Manuel Rapozo
3. Overview of Kuleana Suit
4. Contact and General Information
For those who want a further description of the matters summarize above, you may continue on. We provide them in the sections below this table of contents page.
5. We see (a statement of why this matters)
6. Manuel Rapozo's Legacy
7. We who are and what we value (a more detailed description of the family, the history, and kuleana and the important cultural, legal and policy issues that could hurt us and hurt all Hawaii
7. We see you (a direct statement to Carlos and Mark about what we see and why we are in disbelief at what they do)
The website in the upper right hand side has tabs for more detailed information on these two matters:
9. Family Legwork (details on what they family can do to help the defense)
10. Resource Materials.
We will be revising and updating this website and will likely placing the details of the family, litigation and legal issues in separate tabs above. In the interests of time, we publish this now with a longer than usual home page with the detailed section appearing below.
As you will hear this throughout, please family do not sell to Carlos or Mark or companies they control. We are here to help. For family who have sold, we do not judge you. Please contact us as well if any of the matters discussed in this website resonates with you.
To other landholders big and small, we respect your legal interests, commercial interests and cultural legacy in your land whether 1000 acres or just 1. This website and the defense of the Rapozo kuleana case is about defending our 4 small kuleana parcels.
Family Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can call us at one of the following phone numbers:
Hawaii -- 808 439 6739
A fuller contact form and button appears above, but we repeat it here for a completeness in the event you wish to print this screen. These 4 Kuleana make all the difference in the world. For our elders and kupuna too old to call, email, or be directly part of this, feel no guilt or shame. This defense is for you in more ways than you can ever imagin
Even if it painful to look into the past in light of what is being done and said against the Rapozo family and our kuleana and what is unfairly not being said to minimize our rights and dignity, we are not afraid to see.
Even if it very painful to see and appreciate what is being done to us and our kuleana by cousin Carlos with billionaire Mark's support along with lawyers who act on their behalf and a slick public relations machine, we can still see clearly and seek to find out even more.
Even if watching unfold a precedent that could wipe out family kuleana has shaken us, we must find the courage to see and it is our duty to search deeper into what has happened.
Even if is what we see runs counter to things we consider core values in America and in Hawai'i, we must have the courage to see past -- and cut through -- the superficial niceties that seem to say all is okay when we sense all is not okay. If we lie to ourselves and Hawaii lies to itself, all the things that Manuel, his family and others families like them in Hawaii and America have done for the fabric of extended families will be destroyed.
If we allow that to happen without resistance, it will be, in the eyes of history and the eyes of our ancestors and children, our fault not that of Carlos, or of Mark or of their lawyers or public relations machine.
This plea of the Rapozo family is either a valid defense of the Rapozo kuleana or the swan song of kuleana and family ownership as a general proposition in Hawaii as we know it. If we loose this battle, we think kuleana and other small family parcels in Hawaii will be gone. The Carlos-Mark operation would set a horrible precedent which is this: a self- interested family member together with the financial backing of a wealthy third party and a narrow technical reading of legal statute in isolation can wipe out the diverse ownership interests of other family members and with it, the legacy of a diverse family in that land. It is as though they were never there beyond just words and typesetting of their name on a page used as a check list to chase them down to sell or be sued.
So we ask you to walk with us, to cut through posturing and to see.
Come and have a sense of the ugly litigation, the aggressive selling tactics and the public relations spin we see, but only briefly for now as we are gathering more information from the family and may need to discuss it with counsel first. We also apologize that we cannot just yet name specific members of the family or show their picture. Many have already been through enough. In light of tactics used and the amount of money being thrown at this, many of are frightened about the silencing tactics or overt or hidden threats that may well come our way. The goal was to get our story out and also to be a information and organizing tool for the extended family. With the consent of family members, we may be making some items fact finding details publicly available. In some cases, we may have public duty to report matters to government authorities in a more formal way.
But more importantly, for now come walk in the footsteps of our ancestors, into our legacy and into the heart of our kuleana.
Extended Rapozo family, come and share with us; we see the same thing you see. You need not go through this alone. If money is an issues, several Rapozo family members indicated they would help buy some or all of your stake and keep it in the family (and commit not to sell it to Carlos or Zuckerberg or companies they control) and/or place it in trust consistent with the legacy of Rapozo kuleana; we just want to keep this within the family and in line with the legacy. See "Contact" below and the tab under "Family Legwork" in the upper right hand corner of this website.
Hawaii nei and America if you are reading, come and see and have a sense what we defend and why it matters to all extended families in Hawaii and elsewhere in the United States who defend cultural legacies.
This is Manuel. The descenants of Manuel Rapozo together with 4 parcels of land are his legacy. He is real; the rest of the extended Rapozo family is real. He has about 300 direct descendants, not just Carlos.
He and his brother Fransisco set sail in 1882 from Portugal aboard the ship the SS Hansa following the path of Magellan through Cape Horn then onto Hawaii, their new home. They left a world they knew for a few islands in some far away sea virtually unknown but with some promise in mind. They settled on the Island of Kauai. We love them and their formidable wives, and all they did for us.
Manuel came to live in Kilauea, a commercial town for a large sugar plantation. It was next to Pila'a where he bought 4 kuleana plots that represented his joining Hawaii civic and commercial life and marked Hawaii being home.
He was a determined man. He enjoyed being a part of civic and commercial life and he took great efforts to do this. He wanted a big family and he got one. He was frugal to a fault, except for having to provide for 7 children. He loved music. He rode the horse with the force and grace of an eagle in flight.
There were 4 basic tenets of life woven into their guiding hand and never quite fully spoken but very obvious:
1. marry whoever you love, regardless of race or religion, the only proviso being that they love you back.
2. take whatever craft or profession that moves you so long as you are passionate about it and aim to be the best.
3. never ever be afraid to do the right thing.
4. catch your breath when you can and try to live to see another day.
That's it. If you pass that, you can join the Rapozo family. But we suspect that all of this is already drafted into the DNA of most extended families in Hawaii and the mainland United States. You can join us for a lu'au, or Sunday lunch that rolls into dinner, or playing the guitar on a bench beneath the mango tree. We are clearly Manuel's children.
These 4 tenets and 4 kuleana parcels form a major part of the legacy they gave us. They are a meaningful part of our Mele Inoa, the song of our name -- of people and places that shaped we are and the kind of person we could and should be. They are anchors in place and time when life today may throw us rough seas and broken boats.
In the beginning and the end, all we may ever have is a song.
We hope you can find the courage to find your Mele Inoa in what you do and where you come from.
This one is ours.
Come into our kuleana and into our song.
E KOMO MAI
The legacy of an extended Hawaiian family; historical upheaval; land and identity.
We are an extended Hawai'ian Family. We are just like you -- We are an extended Hawaiian family. Our ownership interest in 4 kuleana parcels of land is important, if not, defining for our extended family. The ownership evidences the very very small, but symbolically interesting, role of the Rapozo family in the drama of life during a pivotal time in Hawaii's history. The 4 parcels are part of the story book told in the land and reflect a slice of Hawaiian history. It matters in a big way, and it should matter not only for the extended Rapozo clan and but also for all extended families in Hawaii who see themselves as part of the land, because small symbolic things can and do make a big difference. For many of us those parcels are priceless, even if we respect the decision of some of the extended family who ended up selling. Whether the overall buying process together with the litigation was proper, fair or legal is a completely separate issue. But for now we just want to tell you who we are are and what we do because we think we are just like many of you reading this.
We have married into virtually every ethnic group in Hawai'i, including the native Hawaiian people. We live and have family on every inhabited Hawaiian island and we live in the continental mainland United States, and other Pacifc Rim countries, and we have relatives in, among other places, Portugal, Spain, France and the United Kingdom. It is all a point of pride. We only wish Manuel and Fransisco could see what they have created through hard work, thrift, foresight, ambition and love. We are ashamed -- very ashamed -- if they saw the litigation over the kuleana lands that cousin Carlos Andrade and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg the Rapozo family and that now Carlos continues with the support of Mark. We are further ashamed if they saw the aggressive tactics used to convince family members to sell lest the actual law suit fall upon the family members who dare to resist. But we are still proud of who we are, and we if we resist we think we need not be ashamed. We shall have done our best by Hawaii and by other extended families in Hawaii and the mainland US.
Here is what we do. We work in small and large business across all trades and professions with the only proviso being that we are good and passionate about whatever it is we do. We have a passion in particular for working with small businesses and keeping them relevant in modern life. One day we hope one of our kids will have a cocky small business that makes it big time like Mark did. We are musicians, singers, and dancers. We are ranchers and cowboys; we are farmers, we work in agricultural businesses and we work in land management. We are lawyers and law makers. We are brothers, sisters, and priests in the Church. Our bravest sons and daughters have joined the US military and local police forces, and some of them have died in service of the country. We lay flowers and leis for them and our ancestors so we remember they are still with us. We are surfers, hikers, hunters, horse riders, football players, volley ball players, fishermen, and frustrated poets and novelists; and, every so often in quiet moment when we catch our breath, we are the biggest day dreamers of all time. If there was an Olympic sport for day dreaming about a better world, we would win -- every time.
Our family founders are indeed Manuel Rapozo and his brother Fransisco. They came by ship from Portugal around Cape Horn following the path of Magellan then to Hawaii in the 1882. In 1894, when it was clear that Hawaii was going to be home and with Hawaii in political and cultural upheavel, Manuel, with the blessing of and likely heavy involvement of Fransisco, purchased 4 kuleana parcels in Pila'a on Kaua'i. This was a very big thing for their life in Hawaii. But as with family, land and life, it is all a bit complex and not a few sound bites.
The Hawaiian historical drama: Hawaii in flux 1887 to 1898; Manuel, his coping with the drama and kuleana land -- For our mainland family and for other extended Hawaiian families, we want to go into a bit of historical detail. Bear with us as this is at the heart of why it should matters for us, for Hawaii and for kuleana. For the history scholars (traditionalists and revisionists and all in between), Hawaiian cultural practitioners, political scientists (old school and avante guard) and grass roots activists, we mean no harm with our generalized overview; please don't over-analyze this and seek to find any hidden agenda. We love you guys and what you do, and we mean no harm. We want to just focus on what was affecting the realities of Manuel's life as he faced the turmoil in Hawaii around him. In 1887, King Kalakaua was compelled to sign a constitution that limited the power of the crown, enhanced the power of the cabinet and the legislature, but it also limited the franchise to vote by requiring a very very high level of income and property, which had the practical effect of disenfranchising native Hawaiians other than the very rich and shifting power to small group of large landholders of American and European descent and which pushed Hawaii further toward being, more overtly, an oligarchy. Whilst some of our cousins come from other family lines with money and land that would meet those finance tests for voting, Manuel and Fransisco needed to work a bit harder to plan the foundations for their children and their stake in their new home in Hawaii. In mid January 1893, Queen Liliuokalani, the last Hawaiian monarch and the sister of the then deceased King Kalakaua, proposed a new constitution seeking to reassert the power of the crown, lower the level of income and land thresholds to vote, and limit certain rights of foreigners resident in Hawaii not as a racist act but as means of rebalancing the allocation of power in Hawaii (and in Hawaii like every place else the facts and circumstances make all the difference, so please again forgive the over generalization). Within a few days, that proposed constitution or a negotiated middle ground was not to be. In a week or so, the Queen was overthrown, a provisional government was established and a Republic of Hawaii was in the cards pending the dialogue, negotiations and intrigue surrounding the possible US annexation of Hawaii.
This website is not meant to be a monograph of Hawaiian political history, but it is meant to provide a simple backdrop of what was the great drama of life at turn of the century of Hawaii and how that drama turned into a mini drama for Manuel and Fransisco. What matters for Manuel and Fransisco is that the land thresholds for voting were in flux and the entire governing structure of Hawaii was in flux. Seriously, think about it: two constitutions and an overthrow of a government, a provisional government and then talk about joining up with another country -- all in less than ten years. In Hawaii as whole and in the world of Manuel and Fransisco, it was not clear what was to be, but what was clear, given the reality of the day, is that having some property would be important for Manuel's and indirectly for Fransisco's stake in civic, commercial and cultural life and central to that was ensuring their right to vote as the tides of history were shifting. It is not a coincidence that the 4 kuleana were purchased in 1894. The foregoing comes up in family discussions, was discussed with academics over time, and revisited these past few weeks (painfully revisited in light of events) and the family and academics are of the view that this would be a fair summary of the shifting forces that Manuel and his brother Fransisco were facing and why these 4 kuleana parcels were a big thing. As one academic put it, "this Kuleana purchases gave you a stake in Hawaii and made you Hawaiian." Changing the world around them was not an option, but taking basic steps to secure their future and be part of events was within their control and was front and center.
The purchase of these 4 parcels represented the friendship between the Rapozo family and the Hawaiian people, the purchase enshrined Hawaii as the new home, the purchase allowed Manuel and Fransicso to be be part of commercial, civic and cultural life in Hawai'i and were likely an important attribute in their right to vote in elections in Hawai'i. Yes, that is why it matters. The role of the vote of the Portuguese workers, small business owners and farmers was to be a major point of discussion in the political dialogue of Hawaii in the 1880s and 1890s, and this small slice of history needs to be more formally analyzed. In short order, the Rapozo descendants would marry into native Hawaiians families and across all ethnic groups in Hawaii and some left for California and further a field. We want them all to know this was home and Manuel spent a good portion of his life's work making this so. History books, articles, government decrees and old newspapers are there for you all to review. These 4 Kuleana and Manuel's world and his deeds are a laboratory for a historical discussion of a small slice of that time in Hawaii. They made all the difference in the world for Manuel and Fransisco, and it is part of a small living and tangible piece of history, reflecting the role of land in Hawaii and what is means to a family and Hawaiian. That is why this is more than about money and that is why this is more than just looking at a year here or there for this or that person. That is why this is important to all extended Hawaiian families. This is about the sweep of time and people coming and going. And that is why in the context of their own local histories, we think this matters to extended families in the mainland United States.
Manuel and Fransisco lived out their lives in Hawaii. Manuel's line inherited his interests in the 4 parcels and Fransisco's line fully support the holding of the kuleana parcels in the hands of Manuel's descendants in a broad and diverse way to honor him and his descendants. These four parcels are part of family and cultural descent. These are part of our family's role in Hawaii. These are part of Hawaii's historical legacy as seen through a slice of life of an immigrant family that came to call Hawaii home. They are part of our own mele inoa, the song of our name -- of people and places that shaped us much like strains of DNA shaped the color of our eyes, our physical build and our gut instincts. That is the history affecting the family and the importance of those parcels. But those 4 parcels were kuleana lands,which in and of themselves carry their own history and cultural import well beyond one family. Many of other families view family ownership of kuleana as a custodial duty.
The legal basis for kuleana, the magic and miracle kuleana parcels have survived, and their legacy-- Kuleana lands were small parcels awarded to native Hawaiian families who worked, fished, lived, struggled and celebrated on those parcels, it was their own thing, it was their own "kuleana," their responsibility. After the Great Mahele (literally the great division) of land in 1848, large estates were reshaping Hawai'i, and these kuleana plots were created to provide in law and with valid title safe harbors -- even if small -- to protect the craft, the home, the source of food, or the sacred in the life of a Hawaiian family. It was a reprieve in a world in flux; it was a window to memories of a different place in time. Less than 1 percent of all the land in Hawaii is kuleana. They are scarce and they are historically and culturally priceless. The mere existence of kuleana -- when they were first created and today -- is part of the big mele inoa of Hawaii as a whole. The small Rapozo addition to that big symphony of mele inoa was that these 4 parcels were wrapped up with Manuel's and Fransisco's bolstering their place in civic life in Hawaii. There were ranches and homesteads here and there in the extended Rapozo family; but they did not quite carry the affection for Hawaii, the land and the Hawaiian people as much as these 4 Kuleana. Each day when many of us think about it, we feel we should fall to our knees in thanks that these 4 parcels were sold to Manuel to allow him and his family to be part of Hawaii. It makes us often speechless. We often want to gasp for air as we find words that escape us. To our mainland cousins, our neighbor island cousins, to all extended Hawaiian families with variations of this story with your own kuleana, this all unites us. Please we ask you to see this.
The remaining kuleana in Hawaii are the few parcels that, by luck, persistence and sometime miracle, have survived in modern time. Each quite title action, along with the aggressive transfer tactics done under its dark shadow to facilitate or bully a family to sell, reduces the number of kuleana left. We the Rapozo clan have now been called upon to defend the rights of the extended family to own the 4 Rapozo kuleana plots on legal and cultural grounds. We may lose. But it is a duty for us, for kuleana and for Hawaii to defend our right to own these kuleana. Hawaii nei and America, please join us. Although we have made periodic efforts at light hearted humor in this website, this is all real and this is all very painful to stomach.
Our song, Mark's words and deeds and the dangerous precedent being set -- This is our mele inoa, a song of the Rapozo family in and of the lands in Pila'a even if only 4 parcels totaling 2 acres (yes we know we should write out numbers less than 10, but having them written as Arabic numbers make a point when a neighbor who sued us has over 700 acres).
The Rapozo and other extended Hawaiian families that we have spoken to are rightfully afraid of the implications of the Mark-Carlos operation. Here is why: a dissident family member (we all have plenty of them) with the financial backing of wealthy third party can just wipe out the interests of other family members in kuleana and other small parcels of land and result in creating an environment of division and mistrust over kuleana lands and other family held properties of cultural significance.
The big legal issue at stake: family and land; Anglo American law, and Hawaiian law brought into State law and Public policy are all on our side -- After chatting around with family, friends, lawyers, scholars and traditional elders about this case, this is what we think should be the rules of the day. As a matter of law, family should not be allowed to use quiet title or any compulsory process or the threat of it to acquire interest from other family members when they own the same kind of undivided ownership interest in a parcel of land. In addition, a third party should not be allowed to act in concert with a family member to do what a family member cannot do directly, including funding, directly or indirectly, the legal fees and other advisory fees, implementation costs, and other costs incidental to the overall operation to purchase interests of other family members occurring as a result of or in connection with quiet title action or other similar legal process (including purportedly voluntary transfers occurring under the threat of litigation or in connection with any statement that could be construed as misleading in the overall context in which they are made). New legislation would helpful, but the Hawaii courts are more than equipped today to draw upon existing legal principles to put a halt to this abusive use of the quiet title statute in the manner we now see. This Mark-Carlos tag team tango is simply an existential assault on kuleana and questions the even-handed use of law in the context we now see playing out.
This is the big issue for the rule of law: The kind of money that can be devoted to this can distort normal legal processes and relationships that otherwise by tradition and design are predicated upon restraint, civic duty, and cultural consensus but that are instead sadly just corroded and uprooted by large amounts of money unhinged and by rehearsed goodness and normalcy masking the fear associated with seemingly small but harmful deeds that undercut the intangible values and trust that should otherwise necessarily be cornerstones of civic life. The best of intentions may matter very little when the effects can be very harmful and linger on and cause people to change their behavior out of fear or distrust.
One more lawyer thing. Apologies that this lawyer stuff is making the website launch longer; we expect a major clean up when a fuller legal sections are added and we have gather further informatioin from the extended family. We must note that Mark and Carlos may be operating through companies that either of them or both of them control or companies in which they have a beneficial or financial interest or which they have direct or indirect contractual rights to the use the land whose interests were otherwise previously held by the extended Rapozo family but purchased through quit claim deeds. In addition, purchases made by any of the foregoing persons from a member of the Rapozo family may have been voluntary. But even if on its face, these transfers voluntary, they should be treated as highly suspect because they have taken place against the backdrop of a filed and threatened law suit, potentially misleading and/or threatening statements, or potentially threatening actions and/or through the improper nature of a family member using a quiet title action. Mark and Carlos filed the law suit which began the process of quiet title which is usually intended to result in a partition and a compulsory sale even if there is an information gathering aspect to it. The practical effect is to wipe out holders of small undivided interests, and many kuleana held by extended families would be held by many members having such small undivided interests. We note whilethe relevant papers have been filed with the court and made public, they have not yet been served on many family members. Many of our family members are named and many family members are in fear and disbelief at what is underway. Mark announced he was to drop the law suit but said he supports Carlos. Mark may or may not have taken steps to unwind the effects of the law suit. It does not seem like he has taken any steps to undo the past effects of the law suit initially filed, to addres a fair way to deal with purchases made in connection with the threat of quiet title or to restrain Carlos from the use of information and legal and practical advice financed in part or in full by Mark. The foregoing qualifies any statements made in this website. Statements of expectation are based a reasonable review of the situation, public statements, the historical use of quiet title, its use here on the facts and the risk that can be inferred by events even if it is uncertain what will transpire.
To the press, please look into this more fully. A law suit was set in motion by Mark and Carlos. That legal and execution machine was set motion and it is beyond Carlos' ability to fund some thing on this scale. The law suit involving an extended family with heirs that care and interested in the land continues on. We have a hard time understanding how that is consistent with Mark's apology statement on January 27, 2017. The precedent set by this operation of dissident family teaming up with third party money would spell the end of extended family kuleana. We should not be putting our head in the sand and pretend this is not a problem. Please do not rip into the Rapozo family as we did not ask for this to be sent our way.
To the Attorney General's office and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a law (the quiet title statute) is being stretched to an illogical extreme devoid of cultural and civic restraint or the its touching upon meaningless laws. The use of quiet title laws has been one of those dark secrets in Hawaii's past and should be used with some sense of reasonableness and restraint in light of the facts and consistent with the historical legacy. The scale of this operation and the instances of abuse allegations need to be fully investigated if the public is expected to trust in the even handed application of the rule of law. Some of the Rapozo family may have been voluntary sellers, but the taint of this whole process needs a proper vetting. It is time the abuses of this statute get tackled head. In this case most important a horrible precedent is being set. If not for the Rapozo family then please defend the notion of kuleana and other small parcels of land held by other extended families. This is not the just for legislature, Hawaii's courts are more than able to consider Anglo American law and the Kingdom laws and custom imported into the territory and then the state. We look to your to enforce the law and investigate abuses of it. It is beyond our family budget.
To the extended Rapozo family, please do not sell. We beg you not to sell. This is your birthright and the song of your name. If you may need the money, we have family members willing to buy (in part or in full) your interests and keep it within the family and honor the rights of family (even sellers of the family) to visit and return even if that may be just a symbolic return once in their lifetime. Several family members have indicated they would be willing to consider putting part of their interest in trust for these purposes and would negotiate reasonable parameters of access and easement over neighboring properties. Next please keep detailed notes and records of all interaction with the Carlos and Mark team (including their attorneys and notaries). If someone shows at your home and you feel uncomfortable, ask them to leave, If they do not or if you feel threatened, just call police Write on a paper while it is fresh in your mind all events, whether phone calls or in person visits. See Family Legwork tab in the upper right hand corner of the home page.
For Family who have sold or for family who have been separated by the rifts that happen over time, we do not and will not pass judgment on you. We want you to know however this ends that Manuel wanted you to have some kind of anchor in life, in Hawaii, and in these 4 Kuleana. May be knowing that may make a little difference in your life today. To many of us in the Rapozo clan, this is very important.
The picture of Carlos with a large canoe being pulled in shallow seas and the picture of the hacker dude Mark at his dorm in Harvard should remind them of the beginning of their lyrics of their mele inoa. We have to admit what is not to like if not love about each of them -- boyish ambition and humility in their mission. If our sons and daughters were like this, we would have done right by them and our ancestors. We almost deleted this column as these pics makes Carlos and Mark so damn likeable you want to be their best friend. But life is not static. We cannot recognize them today.
Carlos writes a cultural classic of the history of a north shore watershed/ valley, an ahapua'a, Haena: Through the Eyes of the Ancestors. It chronicles the history of the area and the land and the effect of changing legal systems and cultural influences as it affected man and his relationship with the environment and its impact on traditional Hawaiian life. That is a sweeping summary that we are sure Carlos will criticize. But yeah we know Hawaii: The guy who writes a book about ancestors is the guy going all legal on the family and suing many in the family for land bought by Manuel Rapozo, an ancestor at a defining moment for Hawaii and for the family. It is a different slice of history, but no less meaningful to life and land in Hawaii.
Facebook goes public led by a guy with a computer key board, coding discipline with a creative bent, a big smile and the power to imagine something big along with the free spirit that came with all of that (look at the Harvard dorm picture). Wow. Mark, we want that guy as our neighbor. We really do. As for the guy associated with the quiet title suit and the legal machine that resulted in confusion, fear, distrust and hardship, that guy we do not understand and find hard to recognize.
This is the cover page of the civil complaint where Carlos and a company controlled by Mark have commenced the quiet title process against the extended Rapozo family. So full of aloha to meet family and neighbors this formal kind of way. Carlos and Mark, you -- not we --- have written this part of your mele inoa, your song: a law suit and the legal machinery behind it that still continues and that sets a dangerous precedent that others may believe they can follow. Or worse that people who now fear this kind of action will alter their behavior in ways that gut confidence in the community and the even handed application of law. This will all make life in Hawaii less meaningful for middle class families who provide the cultural fabric that makes up for part of the magic of Hawaii. They now live in fear and disbelief. What do you see? What does the boy in you see? What do you tell your descendants when they ask or when they do their own research? We hope that you Carlos and Mark are proud of what you have done and become. Shame on you both and the people who do your bidding.
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