Hawaii Gov. Josh Green announced that his state is now conducting probes into individuals who allegedly made unsolicited property purchase offers to residents in Lahaina, the center of the wildfire destruction on Maui.
Green issued an emergency proclamation on Aug. 19 designed to prohibit property sales in Lahaiana to speculators trying to take advantage of local residents who lost their homes and businesses to the wildfire.
“We’ve seen that in a lot of different places in our country and in our world where people have lost everything but their land and someone swoops in and buys properties for pennies on the dollar,” Green said. “We want to keep this land in the hands of local people, and we want to give them at least a chance to decide whether they’d like to build back.”
It is unclear how many offers were made. Those found guilty of violating the governor’s emergency order could face up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Homeland Security