The wildfires in Lahaina, Maui – questions this site poses to the readers – part four

During the BIG3 game, basketball player Royce White wrote “Investigate Maui” on the side of his head:

The people should definitely ask for an investigation and so that answers are given to the many questions that are rising.

On the other hand, it is such a shame that “residents whose homes burned to the ground are receiving solicitations from off-island real estate investors to scoop up their land”.

“The unsolicited purchase offers, which experts characterize as predatory given their proximity to the devastation caused by the fires, have spurred local authorities to take action to protect residents grappling with the death of loved ones, as well as the loss of their homes and livelihoods.”

Goldean Lowe, a Maui resident who owns a home in Napili, just north of Lahaina, told CBS MoneyWatch that she has been approached by five different entities offering to buy her house, which was unaffected by the wildfires. In Lahaina, she runs a clinic for children with autism spectrum disorders. That structure was also spared.

The tone of the emails that arrived in her inbox shortly after the fires scorched the area “dismayed and disturbed” Lowe. One bidder identified himself as “part of a small group of real estate Investors who buy homes in and around Lahaina.”

One particular email, which even addressed Goldean by name, stated: “We’ve identified your home at 6 Kili Nahe St as one that we’d potentially like to invest in. It’s always a good idea to see what your home might be currently worth. We’ve done an evaluation on your home and you may be eligible for a cash offer.”

Lowe had no idea why she’d been approached. She said:

“It sounded like an automated email, and the fact of the matter is they obviously hadn’t even researched that our house is not within the fire zone. So they’re just randomly saying, ‘Are you ready to abandon your community and get cash for your home?’ In the midst of a tragedy, it feels affronting and lacking of empathy or compassion.”

Another Maui resident, Deborah Loeffler, whose Lahaina home was destroyed, has also received an email from an Oklahoma-based outfit claiming to represent local real estate buyers and investors, while she is currently residing temporarily at a hotel. She said she had received some emails and deleted all of them. “They said they represent local realtors, but at the bottom of the email it said it comes from Oklahoma.

She added that they had started out by apologizing for her loss or something and then saying that if she was interested in selling her home, they have a cash offer. “I deleted it and cleaned out the trash can, too. It’s very predatory.”

Loeffler also said she has no interest in selling her land and doesn’t want to leave Lahaina. Rather, she wants the community to have a say in how it’s rebuilt.

Troy J.H. Andrade, a law professor and director of the Ulu Lehua Scholars Program at the University of Hawai’i at Mnoa William S. Richardson School of Law, is providing on-the-ground relief and education for Mauians he is attempting to protect from predatory realtors who he claims are inundating the community. He told CBS MoneyWatch: “We are trying to help this community at least take a breather while outside pressures are trying to come in and capitalize on this really horrific situation. A lot of folks are still trying to grieve and trying to get necessities. Some are still without power and water, while at same time the community has been inundated with a lot of overreach by outside pressures.” 

The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) has issued two separate warnings about predatory real estate pitches targeting local residents.

In an August 14 notice, the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) issued two separate warnings about predatory realtors targeting Mauians, urging them to be alert to unsolicited offers to buy their property.

A follow-up notice said that “people have been cold-calling landowners in an attempt to purchase properties from those injured and to take advantage of their vulnerable situation.”

Don’t you find all this fishy? Is it why, coincidentally, from all places, it happened to be the land of Laihaina to be destroyed by the so-called wildfires, because at the end of the day, when you own nothing, you will accept anything, while thinking that people will be happy, by owning nothing?

Usually, when towns are destroyed by hurricanes, floods and fires, we do not see any news in the media outlet that residents are being contacted to have their land bought, no?

Is this just a grab of greed from human, wealthy parasites and vultures? From the statements uttered by Goldean Lowe and Deborah Loeffler, are these emails truly coming from realtors?

Or does it raise suspicion as to why it had to be Laihaina to be mysteriously destroyed by these so-called wildfires?

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