Billionaire Vinod Khosla has dealt with actual extortion before. So he should know better than to throw around the word "blackmail." But the venture capitalist insists that he's the real victim in his fight to close off public access to Martins Beach.
Khosla was happy with the legal process when he used a 19th century treaty to justify locking the gate at the top of his property, thereby sealing off the only public entrance to the beach. But he's currently being sued by the Surfrider Foundation for violating the California Coastal Act. In his first interview about the trial, Khosla said he was standing up for his rights (as a billionaire???) against overreaching government forces (when they work against him).
The clean energy investor claimed Surfrider, San Mateo County and the Coastal Commission are trying to shame him into ceding those rights, skewing the balance between private and public interests.
"If the story was right and people thought I was doing something wrong, I'd live with that — it wouldn't bother me," Khosla said Wednesday night. "But there are massive lies and misrepresentation on the issues here. Surfrider and the Coastal Commission are attempting to coerce and blackmail me."
Surfrider attorney Mark Massara responded Thursday, saying Khosla's comments show he is "out of touch."
Don't worry, Vinod. People got the message that it "wouldn't bother" you when you locked the gate.
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[Image via Associated Press]