State may evictThe state Board of Land and Natural Resources may try to evict the Hilton Waikoloa Village for failure to compensate the state for use of ceded lands for about 14 years.
Hilton Waikoloa for
back rent on
The state says the hotel owes
14 years' worth of back
rent on 1.86 acres
By Treena Shapiro
The land in question is in the middle of the project, encompassing part of the famed lagoons, ballrooms and wedding chapel.
In 1997, federal judge David Ezra ruled that 1.75 acres of submerged lands used by the Big Island resort are actually state-owned lands. After the department appraised the area, it found that the amount of land used by the hotel was larger, 1.86 acres, and that it was ceded land.
Since 1998, the state and the hotel have tried to agree on appropriate compensation for current and prior use of the land, which formerly belonged to the Hawaiian crown and government. Twenty percent of revenue from ceded land use is supposed to be paid to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
But the state closed its final offer Sept. 1 without an agreement, and the Land Division staff is recommending that the board begin eviction proceedings against the hotel.
Land Administrator Dean Uchida said that, to his knowledge, trying to evict a large hotel from state land is something new.
"It's not like we actually seek to resolve this type of situation in this manner," he said.
If the action is taken at tomorrow's meeting, the hotel could be asked to stop using the state-owned lands and restore them to their natural condition.
The state would still continue to seek back rent from the hotel.
Uchida said he doesn't know how the board will react to the recommendation.
"They could support it, they could amend it, or they could reject it in its entirety."
Representatives at Hilton declined to comment on the case because it is still in litigation.