The Federal Emergency Management agency has certainly had its share of controversy over the years. Whether it comes to its response to the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in 2006 in New Orleans or superstorm Sandy in 2013 in New Jersey, the government organization has long been deemed as incompetent. Despite this reputation, the most recent alleged activities of officials within the organization may be the most reprehensible action yet. As the community in Maui attempts to recover from the devastating wildfires which engulfed the island earlier in the month, FEMA officials have used the situation to stay at a luxury hotel, with nightly rates averaging over $1,000. What’s worse- as agents acting in their “official” capacity, the cost of the excessive stay is entirely covered by taxpayers.
Images of FEMA agents staying at the five-star luxury resort known as the Fairmont Kea Lani near Lahaina surfaced earlier in the week. Photographs range from showcasing agents on laptops at the resort to enjoying lavish cocktails in a relaxing setting. The photos and the story at large was made public by Daily Mail United Kingdom and Jesse Waters, a host on Fox News. Rightfully, Maui residents are furious.
Dustin Kaleiopu lost his home in the blaze around Lahaina and has stated his displeasure after seeing how taxpayer funds are allocated.
While government agencies continue to become prime examples of corruption and avarice, private individuals with significant affluence have taken measures to assist residents out of their own pockets. The American boxer Floyd Mayweather personally paid for 70 residents of Maui to be flown to Honolulu, putting them up in area hotels for several weeks and providing them with food from restaurants free of charge. If the average American is to again believe in the integrity of the nation’s institutions of governance, it will be the actions of affluent individuals in public service who will contribute the most to changing existing public perception.