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All of the Questions that Beach-Blocking Billionaire Vinod Khosla Refused to Answer Yesterday
Scott Lucas | Photo: Jim Patterson | May 13, 2014
Total lack of recall.
Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla took the stand yesterday in the ongoing trial over his closure of access to the popular—and public—Martin's Beach near Half Moon Bay and revealed himself to be, frankly, an even more colossal jerk than one of those people who pays $300 to go to BRVNCH. Khosla refused to answer many of the questions—erecting a sort of metaphorical barrier, if you will, to prevent public entry.
For a primer on the backstory of the mogul voted most deserving of bus-vomit, check out our profile from last month. But frankly, everything you need to know about Khosla was on display yesterday: The arrogance, the entitlement, the myopia that has him led to pursue a narrow legal strategy that he thinks will score with the courts, even at the cost of a massive hit in public opinion.
Not since Michael Corleone sat with Frank Pentangelli's brother in the back of the Senate hearing at the end of Godfather, Part II has a witness been less forthcoming in public. Here's a sample of the questions that Khosla avoided answering, citing attorney-client privilege or forgetfulness:
Why he set up two limited liability corporations to purchase the property.
How much he paid for it.
When he closed the deal and other specific details of the purchase.
When he made the decision to block public access to the beach.
Whether he had ever had conversations about public access before buying the property.
Whether he had read any of the letters or emails sent to him by the courts, politicians, and the public about blocking the beach.
Whether he bought the property with the goal of building a private residence on it.
The last time he had talked to the property's current manager.
One thing he did manage to remember was why he locked the gates blocking access to the beach: “If you’re asking me why any gate is locked," he said, "it’s to restrict public access.”
At the trial, Khosla also defended his actions by saying that his "intent was to determine what the law says on this issue—not let public opinion determine the issue but to let facts of law determine the issue." That's an argument that makes a certain amount of sense—after all, Khosla has won one trial already.
But it's loser in the long run. You see, Vinod, the state of California has this thing called public ballot initiatives. Even if you win this trial, you're gonna lose eventually. The voters will see to it.