A Florida judge ruled that victims and families who suffered losses in the Surfside condominium collapse will receive at least $150 million.
The sum includes the insurance on the Champlain Towers South, along with the proceeds expected from selling the property where the building once stood. The 12-story building collapsed on June 24, killing at least 97 people.
“The court’s concern has always been the victims here,” said Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman. “Their rights will be protected.”
However, the $150 million figure does not include any money from multiple lawsuits already filed. Hanzman said the lawsuits are being combined into one class-action case.
The judge appointed attorney Michael Goldberg as receiver over the property’s finances while investigating the collapse. Debris from the collapse classified as evidence is stored in a Miami-area warehouse, while the rest sits in vacant lots. More than 22 million pounds of concrete have been removed from the site.
The cause of the collapse is still under investigation, but it is believed the building had significant structural problems. An engineer had warned of serious issues needing immediate attention three years prior.
Residents of the condos remain divided on what they believe is the right way to move forward on the land. Some would like to rebuild and move back in, and others feel it should be rededicated as a memorial to the victims.
“I personally would never set foot in a building,” owner Raysa Rodriguez said during the hearing. “That’s a gravesite.”
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber has offered up a piece of land in his city to erect a memorial. The judge says whatever is decided will have to come out of taxpayer pockets, not from the victims’.