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South Florida Official Demands Review Of Consultant Who Said Collapsed Miami Condo Was In ‘Very Good Shape’ In 2018
TOPSHOT-US-COLLAPSE-BUILDING TOPSHOT - Rubble hangs from a partially collapsed building in Surfside north of Miami Beach, on June 24, 2021. - The multi-story apartment block in Florida partially collapsed early June 24, sparking a major emergency response. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told NBCs Today show: My police chief has told me that we transported two people to the hospital this morning at least and one has died. We treated ten people on the site. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images) CHANDAN KHANNA / Contributor via Getty Images
Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images CHANDAN KHANNA / Contributor via Getty Images

The vice mayor of Doral, Florida, is calling for a deeper review of the work completed by Rosendo “Ross” Prieto, a former official in the city, after he was connected to the partial collapse of the condominium building in nearby Surfside. 

As reported by South Florida outlet WPLG Local 10, “Vice Mayor Doral Pete Cabrera is asking for ‘a revision of everything having to do’ with Prieto and he is calling a special council meeting to ask for a review of ‘everything that has passed through the hands’ of CAP Government, Inc., formerly CAP Engineering Consultants.”

“My duty as an elected official is to protect the residents of Doral, and it would be irresponsible of me not to verify any project that has passed through the hands of this ex-employee in our city,” Cabrera said in a press release. “We need to avoid any tragedy that could happen to our residents because of the irresponsibility of any official.”

As the Associated Press reported, C.A.P. Government Inc., “provides building services” for Doral and other governments. Its website described it as a company that “specializes in providing building department services exclusively to government clients.” 

“The CAP team is dedicated to providing services that not only help manage workflow and enhance the user experience but also safeguard community assets,” it added.  

Doral officials reportedly said that Prieto, 54, worked for C.A.P. and used to be the head building official for Surfside. He allegedly did not tell the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association about the dangerous condition of the building even after an engineer said it had massive structural issues. 

According to the minutes of a 2018 meeting of the Champlain Towers South board released last month, Prieto was quoted as saying that the building was in “very good shape.” As reported by the AP, “That was just over a month after engineering firm Morabito Consultants issued a report describing key flaws in the structure.”

A day after the meeting, Prieto reportedly informed the then-town manager of Surfside at the time that he thought the meeting was successful and gave Champlain Towers credit for getting an early start on the recertification procedures.

“The response was very positive from everyone in the room,” Prieto wrote in an email, also released by officials for the town. “All the main concerns over their forty-year recertification process were addressed.”

WPLG reported, “Prieto joined Surfside in 2013 and left in November. He started working in Doral in May as the interim building official. Edie Ousley, a spokeswoman for CAP Government, said Tuesday afternoon, Prieto only worked in Doral for roughly 30 days and was on a leave of absence.”

“He was actually out for a rather lengthy period of time,” Ousley said, noting that Prieto’s work in Doral was limited to him looking over five permit applications. “He did not personally issue any permits.”

Ousley said that the city has already completed a review of work done by Prieto, but Vice Mayor Cabrera wants more to be done and was “awaiting a response from the city manager Tuesday afternoon,” per WPLG.

“It would be irresponsible of me not to verify any project that has passed through the hands of this ex-employee in our city,” Cabrera said in a statement.

On June 24th, the Champlain Towers South condominium building tragically partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida. On Wednesday, officials announced that 10 more victims had been found in the collapsed rubble, which brought the confirmed death toll to 46 people.

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