Tech billionaire must open gates to a California beach where he bought a house for $37 million, courts say

A Silicon Valley billionaire has lost a legal battle over access to a California beach.

A California appeals court ruled earlier this week that Vinod Kholsa must open gates providing access to Martins Beach, which is an hour south of San Francisco.

Kholsa, who made his fortune as one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems and as a venture capitalist, bought property surrounding Martins Beach in 2008 for $US37 million, according to NPR, and closed the beach to the public the year after.

Since then, he has been locked in a series of legal battles over whether the public can access the shore. Before Kholsa bought the property, there was a gate and parking area permitting access to the beach, which was a well-liked surf spot.

California’s First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled 3-0 that Kholsa violated state law when he blocked the public from accessing Martins Beach, rejecting Kholsa’s appeal.

The court ordered Kholsa’s companies to pay the attorney costs for the Surfrider Foundation, the group that had brought the legal challenge over the beach.

But the battle isn’t over yet — Kholsa can still appeal, and other lawsuits over access to the beach are still pending.

Martins beach 15Anneliese Agren @coastroadThe gate leading down to Martins Beach.
Martins beach 16Martin’s Beach.The shore along Martins Beach is a popular surf spot.

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