Florida Condo Collapse Victims to Receive $150 Million In Initial Compensation: Judge

July 22, 2021 Updated: July 22, 2021

A Florida judge said Wednesday that victims and families who suffered losses in last month’s collapse of a 12-story condominium in Surfside would get at least $150 million in compensation initially.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman said at a hearing that around $50 million would come from insurance on the Champlain Towers South building, whose collapse on June 24 left at least 97 people dead.

The judge said that another $100 million at least would come from the sale of the oceanfront property where the condo once stood.

“The court’s concern has always been the victims here,” Hanzman said, adding that the group includes visitors and renters, not just condo owners. “Their rights will be protected.”

Rescue personnel work in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo, in Surfside, Fla., on June 25, 2021. (Gerald Herbert/AP Photo)

Hanzman said the $150 million does not include any proceeds from the numerous lawsuits filed since the collapse, which are being consolidated into a single class action.

“I have no doubt, no stone will be left unturned,” the judge said of the lawsuits.

Around three dozen families have already received around $2 million in compensation, CBS Miami reported.

collapsed condo
Debris is seen after the managed demolition of the remaining part of Champlain Towers South complex in Surfside, Fla., on July 6, 2021. (Marco Bello/Reuters)

Investigators have not determined what caused the 40-year-old building to fall apart without warning. Attention has been focused on an engineering report that in 2018 warned of structural deficiencies, with the collapse occurring as the building was undergoing its 40-year recertification process.

The receiver handling finances on behalf of the condominium board, attorney Michael Goldberg, said that the rubble from the collapsed structure would be preserved as possible evidence in the lawsuits and for expert review.

Goldberg said that the National Institute of Standards and Technology is conducting a federal probe into the collapse, though he said it could “take years” before their report becomes public.

Condo owners are divided about what to do with the site, with some wanting the property to be a memorial site, others wanting it rebuilt so they can move back, and some comfortable with a hybrid solution.

The judge said there will be a condo owner’s committee to provide input on the fate of the property.

Oren Cytrynbaum, who lived in the condo and lost two units, was appointed head of the committee, according to CBS Miami.

“All options are being considered. If a memorial makes the most sense, that gets the highest value for the owners and the victims, great. If it’s an opportunity where people who want to stay in the building can still stay in the building and have their home back, great. If there’s another method that we’re not considering, great. The important thing is to really get creative here and to not look at this as just a traditional land sale,” he said, according to the outlet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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