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Oracle The Almighty Buck News

Larry Ellison Rejuvenating Hawaii's Sixth-Largest Island (Which He Owns) 297

McGruber writes "In June of 2012, we discussed news that Larry Ellison, co-founder and chief executive of Oracle, purchased the Hawaiian island Lanai for $300 million. Ellison now owns nearly everything on the island, including many of the candy-colored plantation-style homes and apartments, one of the two grocery stores, the two Four Seasons hotels and golf courses, the community center and pool, water company, movie theater, half the roads and some 88,000 acres of land. (2% of the island is owned by the government or by longtime Lanai families.) Now Ellison is attempting to win over the island's small, but wary, local population, one whose economic future is heavily dependent on his decisions. He and his team have met with experts in desalination and solar energy to change the way water and electricity are generated, collected, stored and delivered on the island. They are refurbishing residential housing intended for workers (Mr. Ellison's Lanai Resorts owns and manages 400 of the more than 1,500 housing units on the island). They've tackled infrastructure, such as lengthening airport runways and paving county roads. And to improve access to Lanai, Mr. Ellison bought Island Air earlier this year and is closing a deal to buy another airline."
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Larry Ellison Rejuvenating Hawaii's Sixth-Largest Island (Which He Owns)

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  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @08:37AM (#44021185)
    Well, I hope that he manages to keep good relations with the natives or they will turn the tables on him. He had better have a backup strategy for this transaction.
    • by oPless ( 63249 )

      (I wish I has mod points today)

      More horrendous puns in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

    • by flyneye ( 84093 )

      I just heard the other day about a coalition of Hawaiian natives buying back as much land as they can for the locals.
      This drama is not nearly over yet...

    • Well, I hope that he manages to keep good relations with the natives or they will turn the tables on him. He had better have a backup strategy for this transaction.

      He outer join the local Chamber of Commerce.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 16, 2013 @08:39AM (#44021197)

    You know, for the lair.

    • by MrDoh! ( 71235 )
      YES! Was hoping someone would point this out. Ellison's always been made out to be the big bad Bond villain, and now he's got his own island with a 'dormant' volcano....? It'll probably turn out that all this NSA spying going on was using Oracle servers, and in that HE'S the evil mastermind behind all this. mwahahahahah!
  • Reaganomics! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kurt555gs ( 309278 ) <kurt555gs@ov i . c om> on Sunday June 16, 2013 @08:43AM (#44021211) Homepage

    This is the end result. Oligarchs. Trickle Down Economics was a scam.

    • This is the end result. Oligarchs. Trickle Down Economics was a scam.

      Mod parent back up!

      The thoughtpolice got nothing on Slashdot mods. -1 for expressing your opinion? The PP is a political/economic opinion stated in a reasonable way. It is not flamebait in any conceivable way, shape, manner or form.

      Bonus points for mod censorship if this post gets modded below it's original +2. It wouldn't be the first time. According to some thoughtpolice mods, not only can't people express opinions the mods don't like, you shouldn't even point that out.

  • Modus Operandi (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aaron B Lingwood ( 1288412 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @08:44AM (#44021213)
    1. Buy property / imaginary property
    2. Close it up
    3. Anger the community
    4. Wait for staff to quit
    5. Replace existing features with unwanted bling
    6. Force users of Island #5 to use the new facilities offered on Island #6
    7. ?
    8. Profit
  • Sounds like they've aquired a rich benevolent dictator and Ellison is enjoying playing the role of benevolent king over his mini kingdom. It's going to be nice, but since Ellison is 68 or whatever, who knows how long it can last till the next rich nit-wit comes along.

  • It sounds a whole lot like Ellison is planning to just break-away from the US and declare his island a sovereign state.

    And, frankly, he can't do a worse job than most of the other developed nations are doing these days.

    • There are many practical difficulties to seceding a Hawaiian Island. One is that the US may not approve, and has the muscle to prevent it. Another is that once independent, he would need to have a defense force of some sort to protect from rogues who'd like to seize a paradise for themselves. On the plus side, tax advantages.
  • by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @09:27AM (#44021343)

    He's got money for this, but no money to give me contact with an Oracle support engineer on my continent who speaks English, and can reach me in a timely fashion.

  • He needs a big sign that says "Your toolbar dollars at work"

  • by decora ( 1710862 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @09:50AM (#44021443) Journal

    claiming that "we cant give away products for free. it doesnt make business sense", oracle president larry elliosn announced that his ownership of the island now extends to the air people breathe. "if they are breathing my air, i want to somehow try to monetize and get a return to your shareholders" ellison said.

  • by fantomas ( 94850 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @09:57AM (#44021479)

    Benevolent dictatorships are fine as long as you agree with the king/laird/CEO/ whatever.

    Fall out with him and you'll lose your house, your job, and all those related to you might suffer. Rich people running islands is not a great long term plan. Ask the population of Eigg [] in Scotland, for example. All good until your nice rich person gets bored with his toy and neglects local services that people need, or sells it to a Bad Rich Person, etc.

    I would have though US citizens, of all the places in the world, would have a historical perspective on what happens when uncaring kings run your country, and what the poor but honest citizens should do to resolve the lack of decision making power.

    Very curious. Of course Ellison might be a lovely chap and improve the situation - it sounds like people do need improved services... but one man owning an island and having no accountability on his decision making power over people's homes and jobs, this makes me nervous... it's not like the people living here can change employers or move down the road if they are unhappy, it's an island. I'd be interested to hear his thoughts about the democratic processes, how the local people have the option to veto his decisions if they disagree, and so forth.

    If he's really in it for the long term, wouldn't it make more sense to go for independence from the USA and ask the people to elect him as their President?

    • I would have though US citizens, of all the places in the world, would have a historical perspective on what happens when uncaring kings run your country, and what the poor but honest citizens should do to resolve the lack of decision making power.

      The problem may be that Ellison is not a king, but merely a feudal lord. There was less experience with those in colonial America.

    • Exactly this. Sure, it seems like Ellison is being a good and benign despot/feudal lord/oligarch, but there are tons of reasons why humanity has been moving away from "one guy makes all the rules" forms of government. Mr. Ellison's (current) benevolence towards his subjects doesn't change that one bit. I couldn't help but notice that the article doesn't make any mention of his employees (or should that be subjects?) being allowed to own the houses they reside in, the shops they work in, or the land they liv
    • If current US citizens had learned from history, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now.
  • Will I step off the plane to find Larry Ellison wearing a white suit and smiling? "Welcome! To Ellison Island" Well I guess this makes a fun experiment for Mr. Ellison. Solar power, desalination technology, etc. Sounds like the island is dependent on tourism. As long as he doesn't crown himself King and demand that the residents kneel before him.
  • is "That's nice but why are you hollowing out the mountain?"
  • by tgeller ( 10260 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @10:37AM (#44021653) Homepage
    Ellison has a history of being just terrible. When the San Carlos airport cite him for breaking noise ordinances when he flies in during "quiet" hours -- you know, waking up uncounted residents in the area -- he just laugh and pays the fine, over and over again. Now he's suing the airport in San Jose airport so he can do the same thing to that city's 800,000 residents.

    Hawaiians can expct zero consideration from this proven douchebag.
    • by barc0001 ( 173002 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @06:21PM (#44024227)

      You're repeating incorrect facts on this story. If you read the actual story, the SJ airport (where he's been operating out of for more than 10 years) has a curfew on "weight classes" for planes, not stopping flights completely. And Ellison's plane can be operated in two different weight configurations, one of which is allowed after the curfew, which is the configuration he's used, backed up by his crews' logs, to land at SJ. The airport on the other hand has tried to use the argument that if the plane CAN be configured that way, it must be doing it. The judge in the case agreed with Ellison's logs and told the airport to pound sand:

      Doing something you're legally allowed to do and then having some pencildick try to fine you for it anyway is not the definition of being an awful person. Ellison's done many questionable things, let's not muddy the waters by spouting misinfomation.

      And as a side observation, if you buy a property next to an airport and expect quiet, you're gonna have a bad time. So don't bitch when you hear planes at night at an airport you live next to.

  • Hyperbole in a headline? No, I just can't beleive it.

    Ellison does not own this Hawaiian island. It is a portion of a state, as in one of the states that comprise the United States. He holds title (or more likely, a bank does) for a significant portion of the lots on this island. He does not "own the island".

    Even if he aquired the title to every square mm of land on that island, he still would not own it. That just allows you to build on and occupy the land at the governments pleasure. And remember, ev
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ColdWetDog ( 752185 )

      I'll bet you get invited to all the parties.

    • Hmmm... your argument is that no entity besides a government can own property, counteracting every dictionary definition of the word "own", every legal understanding of the word "own", and every use of the word "own" going back hundreds of years.

      Who's spouting hyperbole?

    • Given that your idiosyncratic definition of "ownership" can, by definition, only ever apply to a sovereign government, it's not a term that is likely to come up for conversation very often. In the meantime, we would need some other term, which could apply to the state we currently call "ownership", an everyday situation which frequently comes up in conversation, as it involves billions of people.

      Gee, I have an idea! Why don't we use the common, everyday word to describe the common, everyday situation, and i

  • Ellison is a prepper. He just has more money and resources than your average paranoid, anti-social TEOTHAWKI person.
  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @11:16AM (#44021835)
    It sounds like Mr Ellison is on his way in creating his own Jurassic Park. He'll probably use *nix too so the kids can help out.

  • Why do I get the feeling this whole thing is like a big billionaire's version of SimCity for him? I wonder what "natural" disasters he has in store?

  • Does he ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mbone ( 558574 ) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:11PM (#44022441)

    Anyone wonder how all of this land came to be for sale ? And, how good his title is?

    In the old Hawaiian monarchy set up by Kamehameha, the King owned all of the land. In the "Great Mahele" (division) of 1850, private land ownership was introduced, with 1/3 of the land going to the crown, 1/3 to the commoners, and 1/3 to the chiefs (the "ahupua" land, really a type of shared commons). Due to failure to follow through with paperwork, only about 1% of the "commoners" land was actually allocated to commoners. (I believe that there are only 4 acres on Lanai, out of 40,000 or so, that are actually available for fee simple purchase by the likes of us - that would be the old commoner land.) This old map [] shows the division into Crown and chief lands after the Mahele. This article [] describes how Claus Spreckels (a sugar baron) got fee simple for the entire island (minus the 4 acres, and some state land). Of course this was corrupt, but note the corruption appears to have occurred before the 1893 coup d'etat that destroyed the old Hawaiian monarchy and delivered the country over to the USA as a territory.

    Does he have good title? I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, etc., but my guess would be no, not to all of it. The courts and political system in Hawaii tend to look very favorably to claims from Hawaiian natives about land ownership. There is an entire state bureaucracy, the Department of Hawaii Homelands, dedicated to returning crown lands (and other state lands) to Hawaiians. The DHHL has a land use plan for Lanai [], which is full of more facts and maps about Lanai land history and ownership for those who are interested.

    Here is my guess how this will proceed. Ellison will develop this and that and eventually do something that will seriously piss off Lanai locals, and then will be enveloped in clouds of lawsuits and political agitation until he sells the land. Having heard stories of the way he runs business meetings, and having had some dealing in Hawaii real estate at the Federal level, I think that predicting a collision is a good bet, and it would be highly unlikely to end favorably for Mr. Ellision.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein