Rul­ing plac­ing sea wall un­der state’s over­sight praised

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - NEWS -

HONOLULU (TNS) — Con­do­minium own­ers along Waikiki’s Gold Coast cel­e­brated Mon­day a state Supreme Court rul­ing they say makes clear the state is re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing a crum­bling sea wall that pro­tects their mostly mil­lion-dol­lar prop­er­ties.

The state kept up the sea wall for decades, and state funds were last ap­pro­pri­ated in 2006 to re­pair the sea wall. The check was never cut be­cause then-state At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mark Ben­nett ruled the sea wall was pri­vate and re­fused to re­lease state funds to re­pair it, said for­mer state Supreme Court Judge Robert G. Klein, who sued the state in 2007 on be­half of the Gold Coast Neigh­bor­hood As­so­ci­a­tion, a non­profit made up of 10 con­do­minium and apart­ment build­ings bor­der­ing the sea wall.

“State law­mak­ers in Waikiki had man­aged to get a few mil­lion in the state bud­get to re­pair the wall, but the (Gov. Linda) Lin­gle ad­min­is­tra­tion re­fused to re­lease the funds and said if we wanted to change the dy­namic that we’d have to sue them,” Klein said. “We won in trial court, we won in the In­ter­me­di­ate Court of Ap­peals and now we’ve won in the Hawaii Supreme Court.”

Klein said his clients are thrilled with the high court rul­ing, which de­ter­mined the state holds an ease­ment over the Gold Coast sea wall “by virtue of the fact that it has been held open for public use for over 50 years.”

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