"Done on purpose to open up prime real estate?" - Maui land grab conspiracy erupts as BlackRock comes under scrutiny

Maui fires may not have been naturally caused. (Image via Twitter/Judi Riley)
Maui fires may not have been naturally caused. (Image via Twitter/Judi Riley)

Since the Maui wildfire began on Tuesday, August 8, there has been plenty of speculation all over social media. Some netizens claim the disaster was not caused by Hurricane Dora (as initially reported by several local and national media outlets and government agencies), but was a man-made fire deliberately started by the government or by the elite classes to grab land worth millions of dollars on the island from the natives.

Earlier, a conspiracy theory surfaced on the internet with people claiming that shadowy forces orchestrated the disaster using an energy weapon or a laser beam that caused an explosion and led to the flames. However, that theory was later debunked.

Now, an alternative conspiracy theory has emerged followed by a viral tweet shared by @TNTJohn1717. The post is captioned:

“So sorry to hear about Maui…listen to this guy, makes you wonder what really happened, which shouldn’t be surprising…”

A TikTok video from the handle @spenserfromflorida shows a young man claiming that he was involved with fire and emergency services on the island and did not believe that the fire was naturally caused. He also shared his own firsthand account of the wildfire.

He suggested that it could not have been caused just by a hurricane, and that there were other reasons behind it - such as elites intentionally setting fires in an effort to grab land from the locals.

“I feel like there’s something bigger. I have been on Maui the last nine years and I know the geographical locations and how everything works here,” he is heard saying.

He further claimed there was no way a hurricane that big caused no flood or other “crazy things” but ended up starting a fire.

“It not only caused fires in Maui, it caused fires in most precious parts of real estate in Maui…It is not a coincidence,” he added.

As soon as the video became viral, netizens joined forces to support the speculations that the fires were indeed the doing of elites in collaboration with real estate firms and government agencies to capture Maui’s valuable land. One user even commented on X (formerly Twitter) in this regard.


“Is this a conspiracy for a land grab?” - Netizens speculate that BlackRock was involved in the Maui fires

As reported by several media outlets, including the BBC, Lahaina is the worst affected region in the Maui fires. For those unaware, Lahaina was once the capital of Hawaii before it became part of the USA. In fact, it is full of native people, rich lands and business owners – all of whom have previously refused to sell their properties to conglomerates such as BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions.

Many of the properties are in prime locations, such as on the oceanfront, and are considered valuable land worth millions of dollars. Now, since @TNTJohn1717’s tweet, many X users are claiming that elites, government agencies, and asset managers like BlackRock caused the wildfire to capture land from Maui natives.

In this regard, the name BlackRock has created the most widespread stir as the firm handles the majority of the celebrity properties on the island such as those of Oprah, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Lady Gaga, Bill Gates, Will Smith, Julia Roberts, and more. All of those properties have reportedly been unaffected by the fires, while the lands of the natives have been burned down.

Many locals have been forced to sell off their lands, while some have even lost their lives trying to save them. A lot of the lands are now unclaimed, making it allegedly easy for the elites to try and buy such properties using the help of BlackRock, as per internet rumors.

Netizens have even shared aerial videos of Lahaina that claimed that the trajectory of the fire, the areas it burned down, and the ones it spared, seemed suspicious. Some have even stated that since native landowners refused to sell land to investment management companies such as BlackRock and rich inhabitants and second-home owners, the blaze was intentionally caused.

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A few on the internet have produced 'proof' that BlackRock was the largest landowner and biggest investor on the island, and thus allegedly masterminded the fires. Some even believe it was a joint effort for whoever gets to benefit from turning Maui into a "smart city."

Here are some of the speculations doing the rounds on social media.

So far, the exact cause(s) of the fires in Maui have not been proven. However, no real evidence that they were intentional has emerged either.

Unfortunately, 96 deaths have been confirmed as of Monday, with the numbers rising every day. Many people are still unaccounted for, including natives and tourists, while there have been irreparable damages suffered by public and private infrastructure on the island, including lands, residences, and businesses.

A lot of native wildlife has also been impacted, including a 150-year-old banyan tree, which happens to be the oldest in the USA.

Edited by Divya Singh