Residents ofTexas town are being kicked out for Elon Musk's SpaceX

EXCLUSIVE: Elon Musk’s mission to Mars is ruining our town! Residents of a small Texas village beside the billionaire’s Starship space program say they are being bullied out of their homes to make way for his army of workers

  • Residents of Boca Chica, Texas, have accused Elon Musk and SpaceX of trying to bully them out of their homes by using threats and aggressive tactics, DailyMail.com can reveal
  • Musk has been buying up homes and land in the area since 2015 to expand his SpaceX empire and build a test site for his Starship program 
  • SpaceX now owns most of the town but the remaining 12 residents told DailyMail.com that they aren’t going anywhere, despite being threatened with compulsory purchase under Texas’ Eminent Domain laws
  • One resident said the first time a ship exploded it broke here window and SpaceX replaced it the next day, but the second time the explosion left her ‘semi-deaf’ 
  • Residents said they are concerned for the future of the area’s wildlife and said the arrival of SpaceX has seen once abundant birds and coyotes disappear 

The residents of a Texas hamlet have accused Elon Musk and SpaceX of trying to bully them out of their homes using threats and aggressive tactics, DailyMail.com can reveal.

Tiny Boca Chica is at the center of an unlikely dispute that began when Tesla billionaire Musk began buying up homes and land in the area in 2015 to expand his SpaceX empire and build a test site for his Starship program.

When complete, the Starship will be a reusable heavy launch vehicle capable of carrying up to 100 people to the Moon and Mars – a ‘priority’ for Musk according to an email leaked over the weekend.

Musk, who has long dreamed of creating a home for humans on Mars, also called for progress on the project to accelerate ‘dramatically and immediately’ and said in a follow-up tweet that ‘Starship is key to making life multiplanetary and protecting the light of consciousness.’

Residents of Boca Chica, Texas, have accused Elon Musk and SpaceX of trying to bully them out of their homes, DailyMail.com can reveal 

When complete, the Starship will be a reusable heavy launch vehicle capable of carrying up to 100 people to the Moon and Mars 

Musk has been buying up homes and land in the area since 2015 to expand his SpaceX empire and build a test site for his Starship program

Until 2015, Boca Chica was a quiet hamlet of just 35 houses and a tiny chapel, spread out along a dusty street

SpaceX now owns most of the town but the remaining 12 residents told DailyMail.com that they aren’t going anywhere, despite being threatened with compulsory purchase under Texas’ Eminent Domain laws

But for Boca Chica’s community of retirees, Musk’s mission to Mars comes at a heavy cost for their once tranquil life on Earth.

SpaceX now owns most of the village but the remaining 12 residents told DailyMail.com that they aren’t going anywhere – despite being threatened with compulsory purchase under Texas’ Eminent Domain laws.

They say they have been made repeated offers well below the market value of their properties and have been subjected to multiple visits from David Finlay – SpaceX’s Senior Director of Finance – who they say puts pressure on them to sell up.

And they say the company lied about the danger posed to them by Starship launches and is instead turning the village into a place for workers to live – a claim borne out by the extensive renovation activity photographed by DailyMail.com.

One resident even compared the company’s behavior to that of the South African apartheid regime which used threats, intimidation and segregation to exploit the poor black majority for the benefit of the wealthy white minority.

Retired social worker Celia Johnson, 76, has lived in the village since 1992 and has rejected every offer SpaceX has made for her two properties so far.

She said: ‘Elon Musk was born and raised in South Africa and that’s where they had apartheid. That’s where they had the rich white folks use the minorities to make the money and he’s never changed his thinking. He’s here simply for the money.’

SpaceX has previously said it will pay owners three times the value of their homes if they decide to sell up.

Most of the modest properties have a market value of between $40,000 and $60,000 according to county records but residents said they have been offered much less and that SpaceX bases its valuations on similar but abandoned homes.

Gloria Teel, a 54-year-old drugs and alcohol counselor, says the price she was offered won’t even cover her mortgage but has decided to sell ‘because he was going to take it anyway’

Cheryl Stevens, 59, said: ‘There’s nothing really like this anywhere else in the US and there’s definitely nothing like this in Texas’

Residents say they have been offered much less than the value of their homes and that SpaceX bases its valuations on similar but abandoned homes

One resident said the first time a ship exploded it broke here window and SpaceX replaced it the next day

Musk has gradually built his Space X test pad on either side of the Village and has been devaluing the homes and lowballing the resident

At the end of the residential street you can see a large gray building belonging to SpaceX that surrounds the village 

Gloria Teel, a 54-year-old drugs and alcohol counselor, says the price she was offered won’t even cover her mortgage but has decided to sell ‘because he was going to take it anyway’.

Through tears, Teel told DailyMail.com that the repeated offers and threatening letters had put a strain on her family relationships, culminating in the decision to leave.

‘We turned it down four or five times,’ Teel said. ‘Me and my husband are having so many issues with that and it caused a whole lot of family stuff.

‘But we’ve agreed to sell now because he’s going to take it. We’re going to lose everything – the money is already invested.

‘For him [Musk], it’s nothing – just a check, that’s it. But it’s a lot of hard-earned money for someone who’s under that pay grade.’

Until 2015, Boca Chica was a quiet hamlet of just 35 houses and a tiny chapel, spread out along a dusty street.

Located inside the Boca Chica State Park and two miles from a beach famous for being a nesting site for the endangered Kemp Ridley sea turtle, residents told DailyMail.com that it used to be an isolated paradise teeming with wildlife such as blue buntings and coyotes.

The shoreline of Boca Chica beach is now overshadowed by the tall buildings at the SpaceX test pad 

Residents tell DailyMail.com that SpaceX has been using threats and aggressive tactics to acquire their homes

A launchpad for the Starship has been built just behind the beach and is the scene of two failed launches – one in March and one in May. On both occasions, the test rockets exploded

Residence say the company lied about the danger posed to them by Starship launches and is instead turning the village into a place for workers to live 

Retired social worker Celia Johnson, 76, has lived in the village since 1992 and has rejected every offer SpaceX has made for her two properties so far

Cheryl Stevens, 59, said: ‘There’s nothing really like this anywhere else in the US and there’s definitely nothing like this in Texas.

‘It’s just amazing. It used to be so quiet. It was so quiet, one car going by was a big noise. Now, it’s just like a big city. It’s almost more than I can comprehend.’

The SpaceX South Texas Launch Site, which includes a rocket production facility, now sits just a few yards from her home.

SpaceX security driving black Tesla cars patrol Boca Chica’s single street, while the quiet has been shattered by the activities of workmen renovating the village homes.

Meanwhile, a launchpad for the Starship has been built just behind the beach and is the scene of two failed launches – one in March and one in May. On both occasions, the test rockets exploded.

As a result, Johnson said she has had to turn one of her two bedrooms into a ‘bunker room’ with boarded up windows.

She said: ‘The first time, the ship exploded, it broke my window. SpaceX did replace it the next day.

‘The second time, I didn’t even know they were going to test but I heard the siren and saw the Sheriff’s Department so I grabbed my dog, my pillows and my phone and went to my bunker room.

‘I heard this loud boom and all of my windows rattled. Then it left me semi-deaf and a little bit stressed out because I didn’t know what was happening with it.’

Stevens added: ‘It was like an earthquake. It was actually quite terrifying because they had been testing, testing, testing and that day there was a little kaboom and I thought that was it.

‘We were headed outside when it happened, and it was like ‘oh God’. It was terrifying.’

Despite explosions at the site, one resident insists she will cling on and has rejected yet another offer from SpaceX 

What was once a quiet town has now become an industrial testing site thanks to Musk and  his team of scientists 

Residents said they are concerned for the future of the area’s wildlife and said the arrival of SpaceX has seen once abundant birds and coyotes disappear

Despite the explosions, Johnson insists she will cling on and rejected yet another offer from SpaceX earlier this week.

She said: ‘Last week, we got another letter saying this time, it’s two times the value of the abandoned home value that they give and this time, you have until June 8.

‘So, I don’t know what’s going to happen after that. But I’m going to say no. If we didn’t take three times, why would we take two times?’

All the residents said they are concerned for the future of the area’s wildlife and said the arrival of SpaceX has seen once abundant birds and coyotes disappear.

Local sea turtle charity, Sea Turtle Inc, says it has struck a deal with SpaceX to relocate nests away from Boca Chica Beach and the nearby launch site.

Executive Director Jeff George said: ‘We now believe any potential disturbance with launches would only be in two events: a catastrophic explosion or ground vibrations if a nest is accidentally left in-situ near the launch site.

‘Nests and stranded turtles are already being removed from the beach so the likelihood of a nest being impacted is small.’

Local sea turtle charity, Sea Turtle Inc, says it has struck a deal with SpaceX to relocate nests away from Boca Chica Beach and the nearby launch site

A nesting site famous for the endangered Kemp Ridley sea turtle is located inside the Boca Chica State Park

The town used be an isolated paradise teeming with wildlife such as blue buntings and coyotes until recently 

Johnson says she has seen a marked decline in wildlife since SpaceX arrived. ‘There were all kinds of birds, you have no idea,’ she told DailyMail.com

One resident just wishes Musk had chosen somewhere else, telling DailyMail.com: ‘I wish he’d chosen another village.’

Johnson says she has seen a marked decline in wildlife since SpaceX arrived. ‘There were all kinds of birds, you have no idea,’ she told DailyMail.com.

‘One time, I was driving on this street and all of a sudden a thousand of those iridescent blue buntings came and perched on the tree and it looked like a Christmas tree decorated with blue buntings. It was just so beautiful.

‘Then I’d see them on the sidewalk. Orioles. Coyotes. We would see coyotes all the time just walking down the street. I haven’t seen any since SpaceX came.’

Teel just wishes Musk had chosen somewhere else. She told DailyMail.com: ‘I wish he’d chosen another village.

‘A lot of his workers are from other countries, so go to Scotland, go to England, go somewhere else. Stay in Florida. We don’t care.

‘But what can you do? Apparently money buys the whole of Brownsville. Government and stuff. It’s all about money.’

She added: ‘Sometimes, they announce they’re going to do one of their space explorations. I just pray that thing blows up all in their face.’ 

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