In the wake of the Maui wildfires that killed at least 115 people, with many still missing, and caused untold structural damage, lawyers are lining up for the massive amount of lawsuits that will soon be waged.
According to The Daily Wire, Maui Senator Gil Keith-Agaran, a Democrat, announced his resignation this week after local media outlets raised ethics concerns regarding the fact that he'll be a lawyer representing residents of the island.
The primary concern was that given his government position, Keith-Aragan would likely be privy to non-public information that could have a significant impact on the cases he eventually handles concerning the wildfires.
HAWAII — Hawaii Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran, who has faced public criticism about his role as a private attorney in connection with litigation over the Lahaina wildfire disaster, announced plans to resign from the Senate effective Oct. 31. (Honolulu Civil Beat) #TrackResignations
— The Real Toria Brooke (@realtoriabrooke) August 31, 2023
The state Democrat released a statement explaining his reasoning.
"I believe that this decision best serves the interests of the Maui people especially given what they have gone through over the last three weeks, and what they continue to experience," Keith-Agaran said.
He added, "As we know, the Maui community — including members of my extended clan who lived and worked in West Maui — have suffered tremendous losses, including losing loved ones. Some, to this day, are still not identified or found,” he added. “The choice for me has always been and will always be my family and community, and this decision is consistent with that overriding value."
— Honolulu Civil Beat (@CivilBeat) August 31, 2023
The Daily Wire noted:
According to the Honolulu Civil Beat, the controversy started after Keith-Agaran was featured in a flier for a community discussion on “Maui Wildfire Impact” with Takitani Agaran Jorgensen & Wildman and several other law firms. As vice chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, legal experts said that his political office might give him non-public information that could help him if he took on any cases related to the Maui fires.
The local outlet reported that earlier this month, when asked whether he would focus on his government position or his legal profession, Keith-Agaran made it clear where he stood.
"I’ve always had a legal practice, my professional responsibilities are to my clients so I would pick my clients," he said at the time.
The governor of Hawaii will have 60 days after the state senator's last day to pick a replacement.
Social media users reacted to the news, with many claiming that he's much more interested in making potentially tons of money off of the lawsuits, of which there will be many, than serving his constituents.
"He knows he's going to make millions suing @MauiElectric and the firefighters," one X user wrote.