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Maui Fire Victims’ Families Offered Up to $1.5 million in Compensation if They Don’t Sue State Agencies

Maui Fire Victims’ Families Offered Up to $1.5 million in Compensation if They Don’t Sue State Agencies

“The One ‘Ohana Initiative’ is a $175 million fund with contributions from the state of Hawaii, Maui County, Hawaiian Electric Company, Kamehameha Schools, Charter Communications, Hawaiian Telcom and the West Maui Land Co.”

Over 6 months ago, a devastating wildfire swept through the Maui island town of Lahaina in Hawaii and incinerated much of the surrounding region.

Legal Insurrection readers may recall that a state water official delayed the release of water that landowners wanted to help protect their property from fires because water is to be revered and not used. Additionally, Hawaiian green energy mandates may have led Hawaiian Electric to divert fiscal resources away from fire-prevention practices.

There was also a delayed evacuation order.

A detailed timeline of events describes a series of calls to emergency dispatchers, reporting a fast-spreading fire at 2:55 p.m. Officers soon began evacuating neighboring areas, the report said.

But it does not explore the county’s delay before issuing a broader evacuation alert. The county made a decision not to use its all-hazards siren system and waited until 4:16 p.m. to send a cellphone evacuation alert. That alert was targeted at residential neighborhoods above the Honoapiʻilani Highway.

Fire had already consumed much of the area targeted for evacuation. At the exact time the evacuation alerts were going out, the new timeline shows, officers were reporting that the fire had spread all the way down to the highway and was jumping the road — toward waterfront areas that never received an evacuation alert.

Now, the relatives of fire victims could receive over $1 million in compensation…as long as they choose not to sue state agencies and companies involved.

The families of those who died in the Maui fire last year could receive up to $1.5 million in compensation if they choose to not sue state agencies and companies involved.

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) made the announcement at a press conference marking the six-month mark since a wildfire swept the tourist town of Lahaina, killing 100 people and displacing many more.

The One ‘Ohana Initiative is a $175 million fund with contributions from the state of Hawaii, Maui County, Hawaiian Electric Company, Kamehameha Schools, Charter Communications, Hawaiian Telcom and the West Maui Land Co.

“The 100 individuals that were lost all had families, and we have put together $175 million, if they choose, in a voluntary way, to accept a settlement of $1.5 million that would go to each family,” Green said.

The Maui police recently issued an after-action report with 32 recommendations on better responding to a large wildfire.

Many of the report´s recommendations call for better equipment and updates to technology, from getting officers earpieces they can use when high winds make it hard to hear their radios to equipping patrol cars with breaching kits to remove downed trees or utility poles from roadways.

Others focus on improving communications between emergency personnel and officers themselves, such as stationing a high-ranking officer – a lieutenant or higher – in the communications center to help relay information to police commanders. The report also suggested giving officers in the field more briefings during recovery efforts.

The economy around Lahaina is still struggling.

Local advisors to Maui’s mayor estimate about a third of that commerce is back in West Maui at the six-month mark, though the challenges are still profound.

“The stress right now in the community is we just can’t go back to the way things were,” says Sne Patel, president of the LahainaTown Action Committee. He also serves on Maui’s Recovery Commission.

“People not only lost their businesses that day, but also many of them lost their homes,” he says. “Their employees lost their homes as well.”

Patel says commercial rents are going up because of the shortage of space, and some business owners can’t afford to stay in West Maui. Many are relocating elsewhere on the island. With the trauma of the wildfires so fresh, and a lack of long-term housing in Lahaina, the workforce is unstable, he says.

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Comments


 
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E Howard Hunt | February 12, 2024 at 3:09 pm

Where the hell is the other $25 million going?


 
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Ironclaw | February 12, 2024 at 3:18 pm

Imagine being so incompetent that you have to bribe people one and a half million dollars not to sue you because you didn’t do your job.


 
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ThePrimordialOrderedPair | February 12, 2024 at 3:22 pm

Now, the relatives of fire victims could receive over $1 million in compensation

Criminal politicians and civil “servants” trying to bribe victims with other people’s money to cover up their own heinous crimes and culpability. That’s typical Haw’a’`ai’i” for you.


 
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MoeHowardwasright | February 12, 2024 at 3:26 pm

They wouldn’t be offering “up to” 1.5 million if they didn’t know how much “at risk” they are to lawsuits. Let’s face it, we have never seen a truthful body count. Have we? Hmmmmm
FJB

I.e., an opening bid. Sounds like those officials are scared of what discovery might uncover, not just negligent or reckless conduct, but worse.

This is one time to send in the ambulance chasers.


 
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TargaGTS | February 12, 2024 at 4:31 pm

Only in America could people who were criminally incompetent be able to bribe tax-payers with – checks notes – TAXPAYER money.

How is this money any different from money derived via lawsuits? I guess one could gamble on a larger payout via lawyers. But the money will still come from the same sources.

One may want to talk to people formerly engaged in litigation versus PG&E and California state agencies over the Paradise CAMP fire. That’s the smart move.

Here’s what I gleaned from Maui residents; they are barred from returning to their property until contractors scrape and remove the top layer of toxic soil. Currently no one is doing that – they’ve got a few trucks hauling away a few yards of toxic soil a day.

The same thing happened in Paradise – then came scores of front-loaders and dump-trucks. It took a year after that to okay residents to return to their property. Maui is nowhere near that level of soil removal. And where to dump it? In a volcano?

Wind-blown embers. A resident stands filming while water pumps idle out of his garden hose. He could’ve snatched extra length of hose from neighbors and sprayed the partly burning grass across the street. But nah.

https://twitter.com/HarrisonKrank/status/1691133866570928136

Don’t scoff at the notion of toxic soil removal. Rain water seeping through the soil into Paradise ridge aquifers caused problems for those dependent on well water for household use. Delays in soil removal only makes matters worse by default.


 
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wordofreason | February 12, 2024 at 5:32 pm

What I want to know is what about all the Never before seen anomaly’s like circular burn areas, melted metal, boats burned moored offshore and why did ‘They’ encircle the whole area with a fence and cover that with tarp and post armed guards all around and put a drone ban over the whole area!!! And many, many more never-before type of things!


 
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dr. frank | February 12, 2024 at 5:50 pm

Does anyone think their dead child from a fire is worth 1.5 mil not to sue?? There are 500 missing children? Anyone in Maui want to explain where the children went??


 
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ekimremmit | February 12, 2024 at 6:04 pm

The Spirit of Aloha at work!

How about $1.5M each plus an extra $10M each in punitive damages for trying to cheat these poor people out of an appropriate amount, given the public officials’ culpability?


     
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    wendybar in reply to jb4. | February 13, 2024 at 5:35 am

    Paid for with the public officials pensions. Why should they get paid for their ineptitude, and why should we pay THEM and for what THEY DID to these poor people.

I smell an attempt to prevent demands for discovery.

Hmmmm. $$$$ versus accountability. We’ve lost our way when dollars displace accountability. The “selected” politicians will protect all of their donors at the expense of the taxpayers including those that believe the politicos are looking out for their best interests.


 
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henrybowman | February 13, 2024 at 3:14 am

But it’s 100% certain that at least some residents are thinking, “If they’re paying me $1.5M not to sue, how much more could I get by suing?” You KNOW some of them are going to take that flyer. This is just a stupid offer — all it does it make them look guilty when someone inevitable does take them to court, which someone will.


 
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ComputerJockey | February 13, 2024 at 9:37 am

That would cover 116 people. Sue the crap out of them, and the US government.

If I were Hawaiian and had lost a child to this fire, I would be tempted to take the $1.5 million, then follow “the Aloha Spirit” and kill the officials with traditional stone weapons.

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