US Judge approves sale of site of deadly Florida condo collapse
Surfside Mayor Says Rescue Still On, Notes Woman in Bangladesh Survived 17 Days After Collapse
"This rescue effortwill go on until everybody's pulled out of that debris," mayor Charles Burkett said Sunday.Speaking on CBS' Face the Nation Sunday, mayor Charles Burkett remained optimistic about search and rescue efforts to find missing residents of Champlain Towers South, a 12-story oceanfront condo that came crashing down on June 24. As of Sunday, at least two dozen people have been confirmed dead from the incident, while an additional 121 people remain unaccounted for.
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A Florida judge on Wednesday approved the sale of the oceanfront property where a collapsed Florida condominium building once stood, with proceeds intended to benefit victims of the deadly disaster.
At a hearing, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman ordered that the process begin to sell the site of Champlain Towers South, which could fetch $100 million to $110 million according to court records.
Death toll up to 32 in Miami Beach-area condo building collapse
Search efforts were paused briefly overnight due to lightning. Officials continue to monitor Tropical Storm Elsa. "We do continue to expect gusts and strong showers today," Levine Cava said.Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said the wind was already affecting large cranes hauling heavy debris.While the wind is a "challenge they’re attempting to work around right now," Burkett said for the most part, crews "are working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, nonstop" in an effort to pull every victim out of the pile that was once a 12-story building.
The court-appointed receiver handling finances related to the condo, attorney Michael Goldberg, said the judge wants the sale to move quickly.
“He want us to start exploring a potential sale,” Goldberg said of the judge in an email. “He did say he wants the land to be sold and the proceeds to go directly to the victims as soon as possible.”
Goldberg said the decision did not necessarily preclude a buyer from turning at least a portion of the site into a memorial, as some people have advocated. Other survivors want the structure rebuilt so they can move back in.
Hanzman's ruling came as part of a series of lawsuits filed in the wake of the June 24 collapse, which leftand others still missing. A cause has not yet been pinpointed, although there were several previous warnings of major structural damage at the 40-year-old building.
Report found Surfside condo association was deeply underfunded as repair bills piled up
An independent budget review warned the Champlain Towers South condo association that its financial reserves were critically underfunded in the face of urgently needed structural repairs a little over a year before the building collapsed, a document obtained by CNN shows. The condo association only had 6.9% of the recommended level of money to complete repair and replacement projects and stay financially secure, according to a March 2020 report from Association Reserves, a company that analyzes housing association finances.
The judge put the lawsuits on a fast track and authorized Goldberg to begin disbursing Champlain Towers insurance money to the victims and families.
The judge also approved returning $2.4 million in deposits that some Champlain condo owners had already made toward an assessment to pay for $15 million in planned major repairs.
In nearby Miami Beach, residents of an 82-year-old, two-story apartment building were ordered to evacuate because of concrete deterioration. The city ordered the evacuation of Devon Apartments on Monday and is giving residents until next Monday to leave the building, city spokeswoman Melissa Berthier said in an email Wednesday.
Death toll following Surfside condo collapse reaches 64
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava (D) said Thursday evening that the number of people confirmed dead following the Surfside condo collapse stands at 64 after four additional victims were found.Earlier on Thursday, Cava had said the number of confirmed deaths stood at 60 people.The number of people unaccounted for now stands at 76, down from more than 150 last week.Cava said some of the families who had lost members in the collapse were able to visit the site Thursday at their request. Video: Death toll in Surfside condo building collapse rises to 64 (CBS News) Your browser does not support this video "We held a moment of silence with our first responders.
The apartment building is about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from Champlain Towers South.
After the collapse, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava ordered an audit of all buildings over 40 years old. A condominium in nearbyalso was ordered evacuated over safety concerns shortly after that audit started.
During a news conference Tuesday, Levine Cava said the number of people considered missing in the collapse has dwindled as authorities work to identify everyone connected to the building. The mayor said 14 people remain unaccounted for, which includes 10 victims whose bodies have been recovered but not yet identified — leaving potentially four more victims to be found.
Searching for clues in the rubble at Surfside
Allyn Kilsheimer, Surfside city's hired investigator, has been collecting evidence about the fallen condo and its design and maintenance in search of clues that could identify who, if anyone, should be held accountable for its collapse. The overlapping probes -- involving homicide detectives, local prosecutors and government engineers -- could take years to complete; and, any desire by survivors of the collapse or victims' families for a criminal resolution will run up against a legal standard that makes charges in a case like this difficult to bring.The evidence at the investigators' disposal is growing by the day.
“It’s a scientific, methodical process to identify human remains. As we’ve said, this work is becoming more difficult with the passage of time,” Levine Cava said, adding that it is “truly a fluid situation.”
The collapse left officials around the county grappling with concerns about older residential buildings.
Manny J. Vadillo, an attorney who represents the owners of the Devon Apartments, toldthat they have worked “diligently” with the city since deciding in May to demolish the building by December.
He said they have started to “vacate the building in an orderly fashion,” adding that 14 people remained inside. He said the owners are helping residents move.
“My clients are extremely sensitive to safety and, in fact, visited the property several times since last week to speak with tenants when communications started with the city to ensure tenants were not caught by surprise,” Vadillo said. “Some tenants have been there many years.”
Resident Esmart Romero toldthat he was not surprised the city deemed the building unsafe.
“If you look at the condition of this apartment, it’s not good,” Romero said. “You get what you pay for.”
Anderson reported from St. Petersburg and Frisaro from Fort Lauderdale.
After Surfside tower collapse, condo residents beyond Florida wonder if they need to worry .
Residents of the tens of millions condo buildings in the US -- particularly on the coast -- have been feeling anxious and unnerved since the deadly Champlain Towers North collapse last month.Salomon Gold expects to celebrate his 90th birthday next month in his Champlain Towers North condo in Florida, where for decades he has enjoyed views of the turquoise blue waves of the Atlantic lapping on Surfside Beach.