For some residents of a former plantation village in Kahuku, Thanksgiving isn’t so happy this year.
Glen Maghanoy, a village resident and president of the Kahuku Plantation Residents Association, says his belongings are being hauled out of his house this week. He lost a court battle earlier this month to stay his eviction.
Maghanoy is one of about 30 residents entangled in a complicated legal battle with Florida-based developer Continental Pacific. Residents have been fighting to stay in their homes and stave off gentrification in the midst of Continental Pacific’s attempts to develop the prime coastal real estate.
In an eyebrow-raising twist to the drawn out saga, Lex Smith, the local attorney for Continental Pacific, bought Maghanoy’s home and two other village homes earlier this year. The purchase raised ethical and legal questions about whether a lawyer for the seller, embroiled in legal challenges, can become a buyer for that very development.
Maghanoy, who is currently in California visiting his daughter for Thanksgiving, said his neighbors told him that his possessions were being removed from his home.
He expressed frustration that government officials weren’t doing enough to help village residents and that evictions are taking place over the holidays. “What happened to the aloha way? What happened to take care of your aina? What happened to take care of your ohana?” he said.
UPDATE: In an email sent to Civil Beat after this post was published, Smith noted that Maghanoy had lost his court battle to stay in his home. Judge Hilary Gangnesdeclined to consider prior case law related to retaliatory evictions. As a result, Maghanoy had 48 hours to vacate his home from the date of the judge’s Nov. 7 ruling.
As to whether Smith’s other tenants will also be evicted, Smith said that it’s “up to them.” He said he offered one tenant a two-year lease, but was told the offer was “insulting.” He said another tenant has a poor history of paying rent.
— Sophie Cocke