Billionaire to Testify in Martin's Beach Access Disput

May 12, 2014
KGO 810

A billionaire technology mogul at the center of a lawsuit over public access to a Northern California beach is set to testify in the case today.
KGO's Jenna Lane reports. 

Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla is accused of closing the only road that leads to Martin's Beach in violation of the California Coastal Act.

His attorneys tried to spare him from having to testify but a San Mateo county judge wants to hear directly from Khosla, who is scheduled to take the stand this afternoon in the case brought against him by the Surfrider Foundation. 

The case alleges that when Khosla locked a gate and took other steps to shut down the only road to Martin's Beach back in 2010 he developed his 89-acre property, and that should have required a permit from the California Coastal Commission. 

Khosla's attorneys argue that the move does not constitute development. 

Martin's Beach, which is bookended by cliffs that make it inaccessible except by boat or the path across Khosla's property, has been popular with surfers and other beachgoers for generations. 

Khosla bought the land from a family that had been charging a fee to reach the beach which, under California law, is public. 

The beach is about 35 miles south of San Francisco... (To listen to the sound bite, please click HERE)