Kailuan attorney files for an appeal
Gerard Jervis, pro bono attorney for the Kailuan Inc. leasehold co-op, filed an appeal yesterday afternoon with the state appellate court to overturn a Circuit Court decision that led to the unit owners' eviction.
Jervis argued that landowner Kaneohe Ranch Co. violated the state "right of first refusal" law by not giving Kailuan leasehold owners an opportunity to purchase the fee to their units.
Instead, he says the ranch circumvented the law by simply letting the lease expire.
Circuit Judge Glenn Kim ruled in favor of Kaneohe Ranch, and in mid-February more than a dozen Kailuan unit owners became the first lessees in state history to be evicted from a multifamily complex.
The case now goes to the Intermediate Court of Appeals, which will review it and determine whether it should go up to the state Supreme Court.
Rosemary Fazio of Ashford & Wriston, which represents Castle Family LLC, parent of Kaneohe Ranch, had not seen the appeal yet.
But as far as she's concerned: "The lease expired, and the Kailuan Inc. has no further rights to the property."
In his appeal, Jervis argued that the "right of first refusal" should have been triggered when Kaneohe Ranch in 2005 put out a bid for the redevelopment of the apartments on Kailua Road.
The ranch then selected D.R. Horton, and sold the row to the developer, but pulled the Kailuan parcel out of the deal at the last minute after learning of the "right of first refusal" law.
Fazio said Judge Kim made his ruling based on the existing law.
Castle Family never did sell the property lease, so the Kailuan never had the right of first refusal, said Fazio, adding, "The law is quite simple and clear on this point."
D.R. Horton has demolished older walkups at the row to make room for its Ironwoods at Kailua project, which is to offer about 150 market-rate condos. A construction fence, meanwhile, has gone up around the Kailuan.
Kaneohe Ranch put up the fence to close illegal cesspools, said Fazio.