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Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit Against State of Hawaii Dismissed

Hawaii federal judge Susan Oki Mollway yesterday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a private landowner against the State of Hawaii after the State Land Use Commission in 2011 reverted more than 1,000 acres of land in South Kohala on Hawaii island from urban to agricultural use, Attorney General Doug Chin announced.

Earlier this year Plaintiff DW Aina Lea Development, LLC (DW) sued the State claiming that the decision by the Land Use Commission was a constitutional taking of DW’s property without compensation. The State argued that DW was not damaged and that the lawsuit was brought too late after applicable statutes of limitation had passed. Judge Mollway agreed with the State that DW’s lawsuit was time-barred.

Attorney General Doug Chin

Attorney General Chin said, “The attorneys in my office take very seriously all claims against the State and will fight to not pay anything to claimants who are not entitled to payment or who fail to follow the rules. This owner came to court too late and will leave with nothing.”

The Land Use Commission had taken action in 2011 to revert the South Kohala land because a requirement to build affordable housing there remained unfulfilled more than 20 years after the original reclassification. The Hawaii Supreme Court later reversed the Commission’s decision based on money various developers spent on preliminary work.

The same land is the subject of another lawsuit brought by a prior landowner and developer, Bridge Aina Lea, LLC, that is claiming up to $40 million in damages based on the same action by the Commission. Bridge Aina Lea, LLC, filed its lawsuit against the State in 2011. Trial in this other case is scheduled for March of 2018.

Big Island’s Villages of Aina Le‘a Project Receives Financing From Singapore-Based Investment Firm

Media Release:

“The Villages of Aina Le‘a,” a 1,000-plus acre development on the South Kohala Coast of Hawai‘i Island, has received its first infusion of cash from Singapore’s Capital Asia Group Pte Ltd.

The Villages of Aina Le'a site in Hawaii (in blue)

The Villages of Aina Le'a site in Hawaii (in blue)

DW Aina Le`a Development, LLC and Capital Asia, marketing and sales hub for the project, signed a financing agreement today in Singapore. Capital Asia will raise a total of $62,000,000—or more—for the first phase, which includes 385 town homes to be sold under county affordable-housing guidelines.

“I am pleased to assist DW Aina Le`a with development capital in its efforts to provide a major contribution to the Big Island community,” said Winston Yau, president of Capital Asia.

Winston Yau and Robert Wessels in Singapore

Winston Yau and Robert Wessels in Singapore

“Our respect for family housing at affordable rates motivates us to participate in Aina Le`a’s initial building phase. We are also committed to providing DW Aina Le`a with future financing for the completion of its master planned community,” he said.

Robert Wessels, a managing partner of DW Aina Le`a Development, LLC praised Capital Asia for its financial contributions and assistance in meeting DW’s obligations and responsibilities for the first phase.

“All of our partners have committed their maximum resources to helping us build our town homes, which will be sold within Hawai‘i County’s affordable housing guidelines,” he said.

Wessels also added that, given the dire state of the economy, he is pleased that the project will help put so many people back to work, while providing much needed affordable housing on the Big Island.

The Villages of Aina Le`a is a master-planned golf course community that will include a lodge, homes, condos, world class golf and spa facilities, a shopping center, a Village Center, commercial offices and medical facilities, and more.

DW Aina Le`a has already begun work on the site, directly across from the Mauna Lani Resort on Hawai‘i’s Gold Coast.