News and Commentary

Judge Approves Sale Of Surfside Condo Area For Potential Victim Benefit
Search Shifts To Recovery Operation At Surfside Condo Collapse SURFSIDE, FLORIDA - JULY 11: Notes are written on a makeshift headstone for Francis Fernandez, a victim of the collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on July 11, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. The death toll from the collapse his risen to 90 people, with 31 unaccounted for as the rescue and recovery operation enters its 18th day. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) Anna Moneymaker / Staff via Getty Images
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A judge has approved the sale of the site where a condo building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida, last month with the funds intended to help the victims of the tragedy.

As reported by The Guardian, “At a hearing, Miami-Dade circuit judge Michael Hanzman ordered that the process begin to sell the site of the Champlain Towers South, which could fetch $100m to $110m, according to court records.”

The ruling comes at the same time as the first lawsuits stemming from the collapse, filed largely by families of the missing and deceased. No cause has been determined for what led to the building collapsing, but there may have been prior indications and warnings that the building was unstable. 

Hanzman said, “This is obviously a case where there’s no amount of money that could possibly be available to compensate these families from their suffering and loss,” adding, “While there’s no money in the world that can do that, the law places value on claims, and these claims are going to have to be valued. The court has no doubt the aggregate value of the claims that the law will place on them is going to far exceed all amounts available for recovery, both by way of insurance proceeds, assets and third-party claims.”

“The court-appointed receiver handling finances related to the condo, attorney Michael Goldberg, said the judge wanted the sale to move quickly,” The Guardian noted.

“He wants us to start exploring a potential sale,” Goldberg said of the judge in an email to the outlet. “He did say he wants the land to be sold and the proceeds to go directly to the victims as soon as possible.”

Goldberg reportedly added that the action did not necessarily prevent someone who buys the property from transforming the area into a site for a memorial. 

“The judge put the lawsuits on a fast track and authorized Goldberg to begin disbursing insurance money to victims and families,” The Guardian added.

As The Daily Wire reported earlier this week, the community of South Florida was beginning to weigh how best to honor the lives that were lost in the collapse. 

“There’s a lot of emotion. People talk about it as a holy site,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez. “People want some sort of connection with their family member.” 

According to NBC Miami, the mayor of Surfside, Charles Burkett, made a suggestion on Monday that it’s too early to specify any plans since many people are still in the grieving process, but he noted that the event obliges something to be put at the location to honor the people who died. 

“I think the first thing we need to do is get the families situated, so they have a semblance of their life back — get them to the point where they aren’t burdened by the grief and emotion that they’re going through right now,” said Burkett.  

“It’s obvious that this has become much more than a collapsed building site,” Burkett said. “It has become a holy site.” 

Wednesday evening, the death toll was raised to 97 people. Out of the 97 people who died, 90 have been identified and 88 families have been informed. Eight people are left potentially unaccounted for as of now. 

As The Daily Wire reported last week, the search and rescue mission was changed to a search and recovery effort in order to recover the remains of any people who died in the tragedy.  

“According to The Associated Press, Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah informed families Wednesday afternoon that they would no longer use dogs and listening devices, both of which were deployed when rescue teams were looking for survivors. ‘Our sole responsibility at this point is to bring closure,’ said Jadallah,” The Daily Wire noted.

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