Famous billionaire’s secret Hawaiian lair prompts thoughts of James Bond

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly building a $270 million compound on the Hawaiian island of Kauai replete with an apocalypse-proof bunker.

Correction: He’s reportedly SECRETLY building it.

“Nobody working on this project is allowed to talk about what they’re building. Almost anyone who passes compound security—from carpenters to electricians to painters to security guards—is bound by a strict nondisclosure agreement, according to several workers involved in the project,” according to Wired magazine.

“And, they say, these agreements aren’t a formality. Multiple workers claim they saw or heard about colleagues removed from the project for posting about it on social media. Different construction crews within the site are assigned to separate projects and workers are forbidden from speaking with other crews about their work,” the magazine reported last week.

“It’s fight club. We don’t talk about fight club,” one former contract employee told the magazine, referencing a line from the popular film “Fight Club.”

The rules are reportedly so strict that a former site worker was reportedly fired after he shared a picture of the project on social media.

The project is likewise so secretive that some have likened the compound to the lair of a “James Bond” villain. Ironically, former Bond actor Pierce Brosnan reportedly lives only ten miles from the compound.

Known as Koolau Ranch, the property encompasses 1,400 acres, includes a 5,000 square-foot underground bunker, and even has “its own energy and food supplies,” according to Wired.

Furthermore, the project “has relied on legal maneuvering and political networking” to bypass legal requirements. And in doing so, it’s left locals frustrated and outraged.

“Many locals believe Zuckerberg’s legal maneuverings are another example of outsiders moving to Hawaii and taking advantage of people already living there. … Zuckerberg didn’t engage much with his new neighbors. … And the project hasn’t gone through any public review process, as is sometimes required for construction projects on this scale,” Wired notes.

Neighbors also don’t like the secrecy.

“Other than its sheer opulence, another aspect of the project that has dismayed islanders is the intense secrecy in which it is being carried out. One of Zuckerberg’s first acts was to erect a mile-long, 6ft-high wall made from volcanic rock around much of the property,” according to the Daily Mail.

“Local people say it has destroyed their idyllic views of the coast, while down on the beach below — which Zuckerberg hasn’t been able to buy — visitors have to put up with being watched from ‘guard huts’ dotted along the edge of the tycoon’s land,” according to the outlet.

To their credit, Zuckerberg and his wife have at least made some overtures to try to endear the locals.

“Their local charity, the Chan Zuckerberg Kauai Community Fund, has given more than $20 million to various Kauai nonprofits since 2018. With Zuckerberg’s status as a major philanthropist come political connections,” Wired notes.

“Zuckerberg and Chan have  [also] established a relationship with Kauai mayor Derek Kawakami, holding meetings to discuss funding local initiatives during a 2018 flooding crisis and at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. In March 2021, the couple helped relaunch a county jobs program with a $4.2 million donation and gave $3.5 million to local Covid-19 assistance projects.”

They reportedly also hired Arryl Kaneshiro, then sitting chair of the Kauai County Council, to provide agricultural consultations.

And they handed a $4 million “gift” to help the local nonprofit Malama Huleia be able to purchase a traditional Hawaiian fishpod.

Yet even given all this help, some are still complaining.

“Zuckerberg’s presence may increase charity, but will not address the root causes of why we need this type of philanthropic charity in the first place,” Nikki Cristobal, the executive director of local Hawaiian education and arts nonprofit Kamawaelualani, told Wired.

“It’s crazy that a man not from Hawaii comes here and purchases a bunch of land that limits the locals [from potentially buying] land. But it’s already been happening,” a former compound worker  reportedly named John added.

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