Victims of the June 24 Champlain Towers South building collapse should expect to share at least $150 million in initial compensation, a judge said on July 21.
“The court’s concern has always been the victims here,” Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman said during a hearing. The victims include visitors and renters as well as condo owners, he said. “Their rights will be preserved.”
The $150 million includes about $50 million in insurance, and at least $100 million in proceeds from the sale of the Surfside property. This sum does not include possible additional compensation through further litigation as the cause of the collapse is researched.
So far, 96 victims have been identified in what is considered to be the largest structural failure collapse in the US. Friends and loved ones are still awaiting word on three missing people, and one victim has been found who has not been identified, so the total death toll could end up as much as 98.
The site has been completely cleared of debris under supervision of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Associated Press has reported. Rubble considered key evidence is being stored in a Miami-area warehouse, with the rest in nearby vacant lots, said attorney Michael Goldberg, the receiver handling finances on behalf of the condominium board. The evidence will be preserved for lawsuits and for other experts to review, he said.
“Goldberg said the NIST probe review “may take years” to become public.
Condo owners have differing opinions of what to do with the site. Some want the entire structure rebuilt so they can return. Others say the site should be left as a memorial. A third option would be to combine the other two choices.
The judge said “all options will be considered, noting that any memorial must be paid for with public dollars. “It’s going to have to be funded by the general public, not these particular victims.”