Tech billionaire holds beloved CA beach hostage with $30 million demand to allow public access
Tech investor Vinod Khosla -- Via Twitter

A Silicon Valley tech billionaire has submitted an opening price of $30 million to the state to reopen a road leading to a public beach that he shut down after buying the property overlooking it.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Vinod Khosla bought the entire 89-acre beachfront property that overlooks popular Martins Beach, located near famous Half Moon Bay, for $32.5 million in 2008.

The entrepreneur, who was one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems, shut down the road two years after purchasing the property citing liability issues and maintenance costs.

On Feb. 3, Khosla's attorneys submitted a letter to the State Lands Commission setting a price at $30 million for opening the road -- or offering to sell the entire property for a fair market price.

Last December, Khosla offered to trade the property to the state for a comparable property which would include a private beach.

Mark Massara, an attorney for the Surfrider Foundation which is suing over the public's right to visit the beach, termed Khosla's offer "utterly frivolous" and "a poke in the eye at the state."

According to Gary Redenbacher, an attorney for Friends of Martins Beach -- which is also suing -- the value of the easement that would allow the public to safely access the beach is less than $1 million.

Jennifer Lucchesi, executive director of the State Lands Commission, agreed saying her staff couldn't come up with any documentation that would support the exorbitant cost.
The state commission is expected to make a decision soon on whether to use eminent domain to purchase the public right of way if a reasonable deal can't be reached.