“I don’t want to ex­ag­ger­ate,” Firestein says, “but it really is an apartheid ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Lo­rum ip­sum declaro­r­ium et proin vell Men in Kampala check their pa­per­work—visas, con­tracts, yel­low fever vac­ci­na­tion doc­u­ments, and flight tick­ets—be­fore ship­ping out to Iraq with Sara­cen In­ter­na­tional

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brown­shirt ba­si­cally comes over and says, ‘You can’t sit there.’ And there was lit­er­ally no one else near the pool be­cause it was kind of driz­zling. It was just bizarre.”

Firestein writes di­a­logue for a liv­ing. Stand­ing by the empty chaises longues, he didn’t hold back. “I said to them, ‘You know, this is weirdly like Jim Crow. You’re telling us we can eat here and not here, and there’s no one else around?’ ”

He didn’t stay the full week. An­other fam­ily the Firesteins had ren­dezvoused with there—visi­tors, he notes point­edly, from South Africa—also left early.

says Karen Wites­man, who bought her Hualalai condo in 2013. “And then Dell and this group are telling us what to do. And it goes against the grain of who we are. We’re so big and so wealthy, and we’re still work­ing with that lit­tle con­tract.”

When dis­cussing the pos­si­bil­ity of a law­suit, the home­own­ers knew they had a prob­lem. How could they fight an own­er­ship agree­ment they’d all signed that in sev­eral places ex­plic­itly al­lows the re­sort to charge what­ever guest fees it wants? The an­swer came from their at­tor­ney, Ter­rance Re­vere, who crafted a suit that’s an un­fair com­pe­ti­tion case rather than a con­tract case. By set­ting up such steep re­sort ac­cess fees for guests and renters, he ar­gued, Hualalai was es­sen­tially try­ing to edge out com­pe­ti­tion for renters. For proof, he said, look no fur­ther than when, in 2014, Dell’s group made the Four Sea­sons the man­ager not only of the ho­tel but of the en­tire re­sort—the equiv­a­lent of plac­ing the fox in di­rect su­per­vi­sion of the hen­house. Who ben­e­fits when the Four Sea­sons-man­aged re­sort raises renters’ fees? The Four Sea­sons-man­aged ho­tel, of course. “If too many warm bod­ies at the re­sort are a prob­lem there,” Re­vere says, “why aren’t they im­pos­ing the same fees on ho­tel guests?” In court pa­pers, and to me, the home­own­ers who sup­port the law­suit ac­cuse the own­er­ship of a hid­den agenda—al­most a con­spir­acy. They won­der if the falloff from the 2008 crash, the need for emer­gency re­pairs af­ter a 2011 tsunami, and an ill-fated in­vest­ment that Dell made next door in Kona Vil­lage (still not re­opened af­ter the tsunami all but flat­tened it) kept him from ex­pand­ing Hualalai’s ameni­ties fast enough to keep pace with its grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity. They have no ac­cess to the re­sort’s fi­nances. But the big tell, they be­lieve, was that in 2013, Bloomberg re­ported that Dell’s group re­struc­tured a $ 176 mil­lion loan. Ap­par­ently seek­ing more cash, the re­sort plans to de­velop more than 100 more homes on the prop­erty; it has the le­gal right to build even more. The only way that den­sity can work, it seems, would be to dis­cour­age the home­own­ers from us­ing their places so of­ten. Could that be the en­tire rea­son for the crack­down on renters and house guests? If that were so— and only a law­suit could shake loose the truth—it would mean that the home­own­ers were noth­ing but scape­goats for what Zyga claims is the re­sort’s deeper fi­nan­cial prob­lem.

The lawyer rep­re­sent­ing the de­fen­dant group de­nies ev­ery­thing about this hid­den-agenda agenda, as well as the un­fair com­pe­ti­tion ar­gu­ment. “To prove un­fair com­pe­ti­tion, they have to prove the pol­icy was made in bad faith,” says at­tor­ney Wil­liam Me­heula. “That’s go­ing to be hard for them to prove, given the club doc­u­ments they signed. And these are so­phis­ti­cated peo­ple.”

“One of the things we’ve al­ways be­lieved is try­ing to pro­tect and pre­serve the ex­pe­ri­ence for mem­bers and guests here,” says Pa­trick Fitzger­ald, pres­i­dent of Hualalai Re­sorts, who’s man­aged the prop­erty since be­fore the Dell group bought it. On a per­fect sunny af­ter­noon like any other, he takes me on a tour past the la­goon, the Tran­quil­ity Pool, the lots sched­uled for devel­op­ment. He read­ily ac­knowl­edges that the poli­cies have a way of cor­rect­ing an im­bal­ance in the renter mar­ket. “Peo­ple told me, ‘ This is kind of easy for some­one who oth­er­wise would not stay at the ho­tel.’ As an ex­am­ple, if I’m pay­ing $1,600 a night to rent a three-bed­room unit, and it costs $1,000 a night for a ho­tel room, the eco­nom­ics are very sim­ple.”

Still, says Fitzger­ald, a tall, ath­let­i­clook­ing man orig­i­nally from Queens, N.Y., the fees weren’t meant so much to knock out com­pe­ti­tion as to cre­ate a lit­tle con­ges­tion pric­ing. “The ho­tel has al­ways been full at Christ­mas,” he says. “But then it got to where you couldn’t get a reser­va­tion for din­ner at seven o’clock. Renters are great peo­ple. But we have to make sure we pro­tect our hi­er­ar­chy of the Hualalai ex­pe­ri­ence for our res­i­dents, mem­bers, and guests.”

To prove that most home­own­ers ap­prove of the new fee sched­ule, Fitzger­ald lined up a meet­ing with three mem­bers of the Hualalai Mem­bers Ad­vi­sory Board, a group of home­own­ers brought in by man­age­ment to con­sult on such mat­ters as the guest fees. The next day—also sunny, also per­fect—three board mem­bers await me in the shel­tered porch of the Hualalai Trad­ing Com­pany, the re­sort’s gen­eral store, which sells heated malasadas, an ad­dic­tive, sug­ar­coated fried-dough con­fec­tion pop­u­lar from Hawaii’s days of sug­ar­cane plan­ta­tions. All three home­own­ers love the new rules. All three can’t stand renters.

“The pool had been a ma­jor prob­lem,” says Mike Sack, who bought in 2004 with his part­ner, sus­pense nov­el­ist John Saul. “I’ve been down to the pool, and some­one has re­served five chaises, and that’s a prob­lem for me.”

“It had got­ten more and more abu­sive,” says Julie Wrigley, the widow of gum mag­nate Wil­liam Wrigley III. She’s bright-eyed, with a short brunette sweep hairdo. Since the $250 pol­icy went into ef­fect, she says, there’s been less crowd­ing. “It’s been the first time that that has worked. Same thing for the restau­rants. And get­ting a spa ap­point­ment.”

“Some­body did a down- and- dirty anal­y­sis of what we pay as own­ers here vs. the $250 renters are charged,” says Su­san Framp­ton, whose hus­band, Harry, is a ma­jor de­vel­oper of ski re­sorts in Vail, Colo., and else­where. “And ev­ery day of the year, whether we’re here or not, I pay $128.50. So how come renters, with no pay­back into the sys­tem, no ul­ti­mate re­spon­si­bil­ity for de­pre­ci­a­tion, were get­ting in free? Some­thing had to be done.”

They’ve all heard the ar­gu­ment that the fees are go­ing to de­stroy prop­erty val­ues. “When the law­suit gets set­tled,” Wrigley says, “they’ll sell their houses.” Be­sides, re­sale value mat­ters only to cer­tain peo­ple. “This place isn’t right fo for ev­ery­body and doesn’t need to be a all things to all peo­ple,” she says.

Wrigley so­cial­izes with Dell and of W Wal­ton. ours,” “she The says. Wal­tons “Once are in a best while friendswe’ll a o ask a ques­tion, and Rob will say, ‘You k know, we’re not the man­ag­ing in­vestor.’ But in B in­vestors­the nice and thing long-ter­mis, they thinkers.”are long-ter­mShe has o h owned less prop­er­tykind words here for since Zyda. 2001, “While he’d he not lived amongst us. He doesn’t know us. It’s kind of hard to start a law­suit just af­ter your home is done.”

Zyda’s hardly a lone wolf, I say. He has more than 70 po­ten­tial co-plain­tiffs.

“No one’s sued be­fore,” Sack says dryly.

I ask the group: What would you say if I were a home­owner sit­ting on this porch, and I said these new fees make it im­pos­si­ble for me to af­ford liv­ing here?

Wrigley an­swers. “Please,” she says. “There are so many op­por­tu­ni­ties up and down this coast to own that have a pol­icy that might be more friendly. But it’s not why some of us bought here.”

Zyda doesn’t go to the Hualalai restau­rants any­more. When he’s on the is­land, he tends to cook. If he’s host­ing friends, he makes sure to go with them ev­ery­where. “All I keep think­ing to my­self is, there is some­one in the chain of com­mand at the ho­tel who just does not have a clue about mar­ket­ing,” he says. “I worked at the Walt Dis­ney Co. for 10 years be­fore I went to Ama­zon. You have 300 home­own­ers who are wealthy who are at this place and think it’s spe­cial. They all know other peo­ple who are po­ten­tial pur­chasers here. And all of our friends pos­si­bly stay at the Four Sea­sons from time to time. Why would you want to alien­ate that group of po­ten­tial cus­tomers?”

It’s un­clear how likely Zyda’s suit is to be granted class-ac­tion sta­tus—or even if the judge will buy into the un­fair com­pe­ti­tion ar­gu­ment. Mean­while, the ef­fects of the law­suit on the mar­ket are un­cer­tain. Sales were strong in the first quar­ter: eight res­i­dences and three devel­op­ment lots. But by many ac­counts, the rental mar­ket has all but evap­o­rated. One home­owner, Carol Meyer, says her home gen­er­ated a half-mil­lion dol­lars in rental in­come in 2014 and 2015. This year she can’t get any­one to rent.

The Hualalai man­age­ment is putting on a brave face. “Some of the mem­bers feel like, ‘Wow, have you lost some of your aloha spirit?’ ” Fitzger­ald says. “And our per­spec­tive is, we don’t think we have.

In the fall of 2011, Tom Spald­ing, a slim ge­ol­o­gist with saltand-pep­per hair, stood be­fore the board of di­rec­tors of Pi­o­neer Nat­u­ral Re­sources, an oil and gas ex­plo­ration com­pany, to make a pre­sen­ta­tion un­like any he’d made in his 14 years there.

Us­ing two flatscreen­s in Pi­o­neer’s sub­ur­ban Dal­las board­room, Spald­ing, the com­pany’s vice pres­i­dent for geo­science, walked di­rec­tors through the re­sults of months of re­search. He and his team had ex­plored for undis­cov­ered oil in hor­i­zon­tal shales deep within the Per­mian Basin, a vast rock for­ma­tion be­neath West Texas. They had an­a­lyzed seis­mic data and core sam­ples of 7,000 com­pany wells as well as in­for­ma­tion on decades- old wells archived at the Univer­sity of Texas. “When we first did it, we couldn’t be­lieve it,” Spald­ing re­calls. “We had to go back to check our mea­sure­ments.”

He showed the board a schematic of 13 slabs stacked one atop an­other like some­thing out of a Frank Gehry sketch­book. Al­most ev­ery tier was splashed in bright red, sig­ni­fy­ing the pres­ence of crude. Cru­cially, there was scant ev­i­dence of the salt­wa­ter zones that of­ten dot such di­a­grams and can spell doom. It was all oil.

Pi­o­neer’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Scott Sh­effield, watched with an­tic­i­pa­tion. He’d been drilling ver­ti­cal wells in the Per­mian since 1979 with only mod­est suc­cess. Af­ter hear­ing his ge­ol­o­gist, he or­dered the drilling of two hor­i­zon­tal test wells.

Those wells cost four times what a ver­ti­cal did but wound up spew­ing seven times the crude. Sh­effield called for more hor­i­zon­tals. He had the money to in­vest be­cause he’d sold off seem­ingly sex­ier oil projects and avoided bor­row­ing while other in­de­pen­dent drillers were wa­ger­ing yet again that oil prices would for­ever climb.

By 2015, Sh­effield had stopped drilling new ver­ti­cal wells al­to­gether and di­verted al­most all of Pi­o­neer’s ef­fort and money into the Per­mian’s shale. All of which helps ex­plain how Pi­o­neer—a $26 bil­lion com­pany with less than one-tenth of Exxonmo­bil’s mar­ket value, al­most no oil fields be­yond Texas, and the same bor­ing CEO for more than 30 years—is now show­ing the world how to thrive amid the worst oil bust since the 1980s.

As crude prices have fallen about 60 per­cent since their most re­cent peak, in June 2014, in­vestors have seen $1 tril­lion in value van­ish. More than 40 oil-re­lated com­pa­nies have sought bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion, and more fil­ings are ex­pected. Lenders are set­ting aside bil­lions of dol­lars to cover losses. But over the last seven cal­en­dar years, Pi­o­neer’s stock has risen an av­er­age of 34 per­cent an­nu­ally, more than 10 times the rate of Exxon and Shell. In 2016 its shares are up 29 per­cent.

“Ev­ery­body looks good when prices are high,” says Michelle Foss, chief en­ergy economist at the Univer­sity of Texas at Austin’s Bureau of Eco­nomic Ge­ol­ogy. “Not very many com­pa­nies look good when prices are lower.”

Pi­o­neer has a huge pres­ence in the Per­mian, with the rights to 800,000 acres and more than 20,000 drilling sites that could hold as much as 10 bil­lion bar­rels of crude. Sh­effield es­ti­mates the Per­mian shales in to­tal could hold 75 bil­lion bar­rels, sec­ond only to Saudi Ara­bia’s gar­gan­tuan Ghawar field. Pi­o­neer’s good for­tune is the re­sult of a bunch of lit­tle, long-ago bets that added up to a big one. Sh­effield bought most of the com­pany’s Per­mian drilling acreage in the ’80s and ’90s, when the world’s oil gi­ants were bolt­ing West Texas for off­shore and for­eign plays. Sh­effield kept it be­cause it was low-risk and reli­able. He had no idea those parcels one day would re­side in what might be the big­gest oil find in U.S. his­tory.

Scott Sh­effield per­son­i­fies Pi­o­neer just as he defies the stereo­type of the Texas wild­cat­ter. A 63-year-old with bushy red­dish- gray eye­brows and a hint of his na­tive Texas ac­cent, he’s cau­tious and public­ity-shy—the an­tithe­sis of the late nat­u­ral gas fracker Aubrey Mcclen­don.

Sh­effield at­tended high school in Iran, where his fa­ther worked for Arco. Sh­effield was a pe­tro­leum en­gi­neer at Amoco in 1979 when his then fa­ther-in-law, Joe Pars­ley, hired him at Parker & Pars­ley, a small in­de­pen­dent pro­ducer in Mid­land, Texas, in the heart of the Per­mian Basin.

The Per­mian was once the mother lode of U. S. crude pro­duc­tion. First drilled in the 1920s, it en­dowed Texas with a sway over global en­ergy mar­kets un­matched un­til the rise of the Or­ga­ni­za­tion of the Pe­tro­leum Ex­port­ing Coun­tries. Parker & Pars­ley fo­cused on a part of the basin named for Ab­ner Spraberry, who owned farm­land where oil was dis­cov­ered in the 1940s. Sh­effield made it his mis­sion “to know the Spraberry back­ward and for­ward,” he says. Even­tu­ally he could rat­tle off the daily pro­duc­tion rate of ev­ery Parker & Pars­ley well. The wells were un­spec­tac­u­lar but con­sis­tent pro­duc­ers that promised to last for decades. Pars­ley lec­tured his son-in-law on the value of hang­ing on to such de­pend­able as­sets.

Parker & Pars­ley’s co-founders sold their com­pany in 1985 to a real es­tate con­cern. Sh­effield was named pres­i­dent of its Parker & Pars­ley sub­sidiary. The ma­jor U.S. en­ergy com­pa­nies were shed­ding do­mes­tic as­sets to in­vest over­seas. The mid­dling Spraberry wasn’t eco­nom­i­cal for the big guys, but it was fine for Sh­effield. He started buy­ing drilling leases from Mo­bil, Exxon, and oth­ers.

Parker & Pars­ley broke away from its par­ent in the late 1980s and went pub­lic in 1991. Sh­effield kept buy­ing the Spraberry even as Wall Street yawned and ex­perts pro­claimed the Per­mian to be old news. “It had no siz­zle,” Sh­effield says. “That’s what an­a­lysts and in­vestors told me.” But he viewed those acres as an an­nu­ity that would keep pro­duc­ing as the com­pany tried riskier ven­tures. “He looked at it as kind of the bread­bas­ket,” says Tim Dunn, then a top Sh­effield lieu­tenant and now CEO of Crown­quest Op­er­at­ing. “He went against the grain and used it as a plat­form.”

In 1997, Parker & Pars­ley merged with Mesa, the com­pany founded by T. Boone Pick­ens and later re­struc­tured by in­vestor Richard Rain­wa­ter. The new com­pany, Pi­o­neer, moved to

ell Vi­va­mus sagit­tis tel­lus in­dis par­turi­ent montes nasce­tur ridicu­lus mus. Cras port­ti­tor. Pel­len­tesque nec erat vel quam tin­cidunt laoreet. Vi­va­mus sagit­tis tel­lus.

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