A billionaire technology mogul at the center of a lawsuit over public access to Martin's Beach in San Mateo County testified Monday that he didn't recall details about the decision to deny public access to the once-popular beach.
Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla, who is accused of closing the only road that leads to Martin's Beach in violation of the California Coastal Act, appeared in a San Mateo County courtroom Monday afternoon. The beach is about 35 miles south of San Francisco.
Khosla said he didn't remember seeing certain documents, including one from a judge saying he would need approval to close off access to the beach.
The Surfrider Foundation filed a lawsuit challenging that Khosla violated the Coastal Act when he posted signs to detour visitors and closed public access to Martin's Beach after purchasing the 200-acre development in 2008.
The foundation hopes to reopen the beach to surfers and the public.
Under state law, the entire coast is public property, including beaches below the mean high tide. Without the road access, however, Martin's Beach can only be reached from the ocean.Khosla's attorney Jeffrey Essner says the public was previously allowed to access the beach for a fee, so there was never a right of public access.
Superior Court Judge Barbara J. Mallach is presiding over the trial at the San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City.