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Owner of a $24M mansion on Maui clashes with residents over shoreline access

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Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 6:43 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2022 at 9:28 PM HST
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KAPALUA (HawaiiNewsNow) - The owner of a mansion on Maui is defending himself against accusations that he’s harassing people who are using the shoreline behind his home.

The multi-millionaire lives near a popular hangout spot in West Maui called Hawea Point, also known as “Cliff House.”

The area in Kapalua is where residents like to hang out, swim, and where thrill seekers test their courage by cliff jumping.

Wailuku resident Kiha Kahalehau said he came down on Thursday to make a statement.

“We heard the kahea and chose to come, hangout,” Kahalehau said. “Just be here, show him that you cannot do these kinds of stuff. Ku Kiai Cliff House!”

Kahalehau responded to a social post by activist Kai Nishiki which stated the homeowner, “reeking of moneyed entitlement” is taking harassment of locals to the next level.

“He’s trying to dictate what the public can do on our shoreline. He’s done things like remove a ladder at the base of the rocks where the keiki used to get all the water after you jump off the cliffs. He’s hired private security to harass anyone playing music,” Nishiki said.

The homeowner, Jonathan Yantis, bought the home above the cliffs for $24 million in December 2020. He said he owns the land where people hang out.

He confirmed he removed the ladder because it wasn’t permitted, and it is a liability.

He also confirmed he hired a security guard to keep the noise down, curb underage drinking, and act as a lifeguard. He called the security guard a “good Samaritan.”

Nishiki and those who frequent the area fear Yantis may find ways to restrict shoreline access.

“I think that it’s kind of a classic case of someone wanting to come here and change it instead of letting it change them,” said Honokowai resident Travis Miller.

“It’s kind of disappointing especially since we have a long history of stuff being taken away from us,” Kahului resident Rylan Evans said. “This is one of the few local spots we have left, and we want to keep it local.”

“This is how we slowly lose access to our shorelines,” Nishiki said. “Entitled, outside investors come here, throw their big money influence around and if no one does anything about it, then they get away with it.”

Yantis said he has lived on an off in Hawaii since childhood. He said he has lived on Maui full time since 2017. He said he has no plans to restrict access.

His home is up for sale for $59.5 million.

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