Surfside condo collapse

Judge OKs $83M for Property Loss in Surfside Condo Collapse

The compensation for families over the 98 deaths is still to be determined

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People who lost their homes in the Surfside condominium collapse are a giant step closer to being compensated for their losses.

A judge ruled Wednesday that people who owned units at the Champlain Towers South will divide $83 million for property losses. The compensation for families over the 98 deaths is still to be determined.

“It gives them certainty. These people need certainty and they need to carry on,” Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman said before approving the deal at a hearing. “Maybe it's not 100% of value, but it's pretty close. I think it's an outstanding result.”

The arrangement will see owners compensated based on the size of their units and the value of the contents inside.

“We are not asking for anything more than some form of compensation to be able to get our lives on,” said unit owner Oren Cytrynbaum.

The money for owners of the 136-unit Champlain Towers South building will come from the sale of the now-vacant beachfront land as well as insurance policies, officials said. Unless they opt out, the owners who take the deal will relinquish their rights to sue individually but also could avoid an assessment because of the loss.

Wednesday's hearing saw a difference of opinions, with some arguing to the judge that people who lost relatives should receive more money compared to those who lost property.

“I understand losing a home is significant,” said Eileen Rosenberg, who lost her daughter in the collapse. “But it doesn’t compare to losing a child.”

The judge will finalize the agreement after a few changes are made to the document.

The issue of wrongful death claims is set to be taken up within the next few months.

Champlain Towers South, a 12-story condo, collapsed without warning early on June 24. The settlement is part of a lawsuit arguing work on an adjacent luxury condo building, known as Eighty Seven Park, damaged and destabilized an aging building already in dire need of major structural repair. The defendants associated with Eighty Seven Park deny any negligence or wrongdoing.

The cause of the collapse remains unknown, although the building was in the midst of a 40-year inspection and engineers had pointed out some serious structural flaws previously. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is the main investigative agency in a probe that could take many months.

Associated Press and NBC 6
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