- Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison extended full pay and benefits for all his employees through May 31 on the Hawaiian island he owns, a spokesperson for his company on the island told Business Insider.
- Ellison owns a 98% stake in Lanai, the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii, which he bought for $300 million in 2012.
- The tech mogul owns the island’s two Four Seasons hotels, which employ 850 people, another historic hotel, the water company, the cemetery, the main supermarket, and nearly a third of all the housing.
- After saying some employees would be furloughed on April 29, Ellison’s company changed course the next day and said all workers would continue to be paid through the end of May.
- Hawaii’s stay-at-home order has been extended through May 31.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison will continue paying full wages and benefits for the hundreds of people who work for him on his Hawaiian island, a spokesperson for his company on the island told Business Insider on Thursday.
Ellison owns a 98% stake in Lanai, the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii, which he bought for $300 million in 2012. Through his management arm on the island, Pulama Lanai, the billionaire tech mogul owns the island’s two Four Seasons hotels, which employ 850 people, as well as another historic hotel, the water company, the cemetery, the main supermarket, and nearly a third of all the housing.
Hawaii’s stay-at-home order, enacted on March 25, left many of Lanai’s non-essential workers unable to work during the pandemic. But Ellison’s company, Pulama Lanai, continued to pay them.
Ellison, who’s worth $59.7 billion, had initially pledged to pay workers full wages and benefits until May 1. On April 29, a Pulama Lanai spokesperson told Business Insider that no decision had been made on whether the payments would continue past May 1 — a deadline that was, at that point, just a day away. Governor David Ige had announced four days earlier that Hawaii’s stay-at-home order was extended through the end of May.
By April 29, some employees still didn’t know whether they’d still be getting paid in May. A manager at one of Pulama Lanai’s restaurants told Business Insider that their unsalaried coworkers were worried about what would happen in May.
“They’ve been asking me for the last two weeks about what’s going on and all I can tell them is I don’t have answers yet,” the manager told Business Insider.
Later on the 29th, some Four Seasons employees were told they would be furloughed with full medical benefits, a spokesperson for the resorts told Business Insider. But the very next day, Pulama Lanai changed course and extended full pay and benefits for all its employees through the end of May.
Lori Holland, a spokesperson for the two Four Seasons Resorts that collectively employ 850 people, said that the Four Seasons Resort Lanai will be closed until July 1. The company has not announced a reopening date for the other Four Seasons, Sensei Lanai.
Life on Lanai, an island the size of Detroit
Lanai has a reputation for being one of the most secluded spots in Hawaii, made up of quiet beaches, hiking trails, and one small town, Lanai City, where you won’t see a single traffic light. The 140-square-mile island — about the size of Detroit, Michigan — is home to 3,200 people, local businesses, two golf courses, a police station, a school, and three hotels, including the two Four Seasons resorts.
Since buying most of Lanai in 2012, Ellison has spent an additional $41 million on properties on the island. In 2014, he bought Hotel Lanai, which was the only hotel on the island until 1990. He also bought two airlines that connect Lanai to the other islands (and later sold one), refurbished the island’s hotels, and invested in sustainable energy sources. The tech mogul plans to use the island as an experimental model for environmentally friendly practices.
Ellison is the ninth-richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. Most of his wealth comes from his majority stake in software company Oracle, which he cofounded with two partners in 1977. He also owns Sensei, a “wellbeing” company with a sustainable farm on Lanai.
He’s known for his lavish lifestyle and spending. He owns a 288-foot yacht and has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on other properties across the globe, including multiple homes in Silicon Valley and Lake Tahoe, and at least 10 homes on a stretch of beach in Malibu known as “Billionaire’s Beach.” Then there’s his private golf club estate in Rancho Mirage, California; his mansions in Newport, Rhode Island; and garden villa in Kyoto, Japan.
The spokesperson for Pulama Lanai declined to comment on whether or not Ellison was self-isolating on Lanai or in one of his multiple other homes.
Do you live on Lanai and have a story to share? Email the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.