The ever-vigilant Hans Laetz of the Malibu Surfside News reports in this week's edition about a Las Vegas man's court victory to keep hikers off his Malibu land. The property, which contains parts of hiking trails that have been in use for decades, including the beloved Backbone Trail, was purchased in 2002. The owner, James Kay Jr., lost no time in banishing the public.
"A Las Vegas radio tower entrepreneur who posted key sections of trails in the Santa Monica Mountains with signs demanding that hikers “get the hell off our land and don’t come back” has won an important decision from the California Court of Appeals. His attorney said the ruling will prevent agencies like the California Coastal Commission from forcing landowners to allow public access to trails across private land or roads that, while traditionally open for general use, have never been formally deeded over by landowners. “It’s a very basic right that has been affirmed here, to keep people off of your property,” said Encino attorney Fred Gaines who represented James Kay Jr., the owner of Castro Peak. The court opinion was released Tuesday by a three-member panel of state judges in Santa Ana."
"The Los Angeles Times, in a 2004 report about Kay, said he had sued 23 of his neighbors for their reported refusal to grant him a prescriptive easement on the access road to Castro Peak. The federal government was also investigating whether Kay had mistakenly built his mountaintop radio relay facility on federal land at Castro Peak."(photo: Hans Laetz, malibu surfside news)