A Florida judge said survivors of the condo building collapse and the families of the victims will initially receive at least $150 million in compensation — including insurance on the tower and expected proceeds from the sale of vacant property.
“The concern of the court has always been a victim here,” Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Heinzman said in a hearing Wednesday, adding that the group includes not only condo owners, but visitors and renters as well. Will.”
The $150 million figure includes approximately $50 million in insurance on the Champlain Towers South building and at least $100 million in proceeds from the sale of the property where the tower once stood.
That compensation doesn’t count for any income from a bevy of lawsuits already filed since the fall of June 24, which killed at least 97 people. Those lawsuits are being consolidated into a single class action that will cover all victims and family members if they choose to, Hanzman said.
“I have no doubts, no stone will be left unturned,” the judge said of the lawsuits the day the debris left over from the collapse of the 12-storey building was removed.
Officials have yet to announce the end of the recovery effort. Police said on Wednesday that 24-year-old Anastasia Gromova and 58-year-old Linda March had been identified.
Gromova, from Montreal, Canada, was accepted to an English-teaching program in Japan and was visiting the condo with friend Michele Pazos. Her body was recovered three days ago and was one of the last corpses to be identified.
“It just makes it real and difficult but on a different level. At least we can move on now,” his sister Anna Gromova told The Associated Press, describing her sister as a bright star who fell fast. “We will always remember him.”
She continued: “It’s hard because you knew the damage could have been prevented and yet nothing was prevented.”
March, whose body was recovered on July 5, a successful lawyer who rented the furnished penthouse, where photographs of white bunk beds hung close to the shattered building, made national headlines.
March had lost both her parents and sister over the past decade, had divorced and was looking for a fresh start in Miami, her friends said.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniela Levin Cava said Wednesday that the wreckage has been transferred to an evidence collection site near the airport, where a thorough search will continue “with great care and diligence.”
The receiver, Attorney Michael Goldberg, said the wreckage is being kept in a Miami-area warehouse, with the rest in a nearby vacant lot.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is leading a federal investigation into the catastrophe, according to a receiver handling finances on behalf of the condo board.
“It could take years for their report to become public,” Goldberg said of the NIST investigation.
The tower was only going through a 40-year recertification process when it collapsed – three years after an engineer warned of serious structural issues with immediate attention.
Some want the entire structure to be rebuilt so that they can come back inside. Others say that it should be left as a memorial in honor of those who died. The third suggestion is to combine the two.
Raisa Rodriguez, owner of the ninth-floor unit, said she couldn’t imagine going back to a building in a place where so many friends died.
“I personally never set foot in a building. It’s a graveyard,” Rodriguez told the judge. “I wake up in the middle of the night thinking of everyone who died.”
post with wires