California court orders billionaire Vinod Khosla to restore public access to the Martins Beach

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Khosla bought the 89-acre property in 2010 for a sum of over $37 million.

A California court on Thursday has ordered Indian American billionaire Vinod Khosla to reopen public access to a beach that he had closed for private use.

Khosla, who runs the venture capital firm Khosla Ventures and co-founded the tech company Sun Microsystems, was asked by an appeals court to unlock the gates to the Martins beach in northern California, The Guardian reported.

The verdict came after years long legal battles and legislative efforts to get him to open up the gate to the beach and the newest ruling is in a lawsuit filed by the Surfrider Foundation.

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“Vinod Kholsa, with his billions of dollars, bought this piece of property and said, ‘No, no, the public isn’t going to use this anymore. End of story,” Guardian quoted the Surfider attorney Joe Cotchett. “He got away with it for many years… This is probably one of the most important public right-of-access case in the country.”

RELATED: Vinod Khosla’s bitter battle to safeguard beach at his $37 million property nears verdict (July 16, 2014)

Khosla’s beach-front home lies on Martin’s Beach, just about 30 miles to the west of San Jose. California law mandates that the state’s entire shoreline must be open to the public, part of the California Coastal Act and the California Coastal Zone Conservative Initiative.

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Khosla bought the 89-acre property in 2010 for a sum of over $37 million. The beach was a popular destination for fishing, surfing, and other recreational activities but Khosla blocked off public access to the beach.

RELATED: Vinod Khosla embroiled in civil case over closed-off beach on his property (May 13, 2014)

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In February 2016, Khosla’s lawyers demanded $30 million from the government to open the beach to the public. In October, Khosla sued two California state agencies for allegedly using coercion and harassment to infringe on his right to private property.

The verdict is seen as a huge blow to the beach-front property owners who have increasingly tried to turn public lands along the California coast into private properties.