Landowner seeks clarity
on access issue

LIHUE » Hollywood film mogul Peter Guber has asked the U.S. District Court in Honolulu to declare that there is no public road across his Mandalay Ranch on Kauai's East Shore.

The lawsuit filed yesterday is the latest chapter in a feud between Guber and a group of activists who claim the road leading to Papaa Bay is an old government road. Guber's lawyers maintain it is simply the driveway of William Rice, who owned the property a century ago.

The activists contend the road to the beach is an extension of Papaa Road, which forms the southern boundary of a portion of Mandalay Ranch.

An access to Papaa Bay already exists, but it requires a hike down a steep trail.

In December a group of activists, formed under the banner of Mayor Bryan Baptiste's Ka Leo community action program, attempted to use the road across Guber's property and were arrested for trespassing.

Guber responded with a lawsuit against Bill Young, the leader of the group, alleging Young was trying to block the sale of the ranch by attempting to cloud the title.

Baptiste then hired an attorney to conduct a study of the history of the property. The lawyer concluded that although documents dating back to the 1850s make mention of a government road, it never has been mapped or surveyed, so it is impossible to determine where it is.

The attorney recommended taking the case to court for a decision. Kauai County balked at taking any legal action. Yesterday, Guber went to court instead.

Paul Alston, one of Guber's attorneys, said the county study is flawed.

"The notion that Papaa Road extends to the beach is simply a fiction," he said.

Baptiste's office had not been served with the lawsuit, and administration officials would not comment until they saw it.

Guber is a former head of Columbia Pictures and later Sony Entertainment Films. He heads a group of entertainment companies, all called Mandalay.

Guber and Variety Magazine Editor Peter Bart co-host a weekly television show on the motion picture business on the American Movie Classics channel.


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