Judge: Condo Collapse Survivors Won't Be Asked to Donate Property

Surviving owners are split on future of Surfside site
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2021 9:08 AM CDT
Judge: Condo Collapse Survivors Won't Be Asked to Donate Property
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman listens as tenants share their thoughts regarding the future of the site of the Champlain Towers South building that collapsed in Surfside, Fla., during a hearing, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Miami.   (Carl Juste/Miami Herald via AP, Pool)

There have been calls to turn the site of one of the deadliest building collapses in US history into a memorial, but the judge overseeing lawsuits in the Surfside condo collapse says survivors and the families of victims will not be asked to donate their property. "These victims who have lost their homes, their personal belongings, and in many cases their lives are not going to be sacrificing the value of their real estate for the public good," Judge Michael Hanzman said at a hearing Wednesday, per CNN. He said survivors and families would get a minimum of $150 million in compensation, including $50 million in insurance and at least $100 million from the sale of the site of the Champlain Towers South building, CBS Miami reports. The figure does not include proceeds from the numerous lawsuits that have been filed.

Champlain promised that the rights of victims—including renters and visitors as well as condo owners—would be protected. The judge, who approved the sale of the site last week, told attorneys their task was to ensure victims were compensated in a timely manner so they could start rebuilding their lives. "This is not a case where we have time to let the grass grow underneath it." At least 97 people were killed in the June 24 collapse and surviving owners are split on whether the building should be rebuilt, or left as a memorial site, the AP reports. Others have suggested combining the two options. Condo owner Raysa Rodriguez said she would never live in another building at the site. "That's a gravesite," she told the judge. "I wake up in the middle of the night thinking of everyone who perished." (Read more Florida condo collapse stories.)

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