A contractor for the doomed Champlain Towers South building in Surfside had a rather dubious post-project reputation, The Miami Herald reports.
The newspaper in a Sept. 9 investigative story also discovered that the project managed to run through three general contractors, an exceptional level of turmoil.
These issues were only part of the project’s failings, including a developer charged with tax evasion in Canada, an engineer who oversaw a bungled municipal garage in Coral Gables, and an architect who temporarily lost his license for poor designs, The Herald reported.
Alfred Weisbrod worked on the project for just three months, but these involved some of the critical errors that could have led to the disaster. The Herald described the late Weisbrod as a general contractor “whose 20-year career in South Florida was pockmarked with complaints of ‘negligence,’ ‘incompetency or misconduct,’ and who had a propensity for abandoning projects midway through, according to court records and newly released documents from the state licensing agency.”
“It’s just surprising that a contractor of that caliber would have been working on Champlain Towers South,” the newspaper quoted Abieyuwa Aghayere, professor of structural engineering at Drexel University, as saying.
The newspaper says Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation records show Weisbrod was fined three times and threatened with suspension for various offenses throughout the 1980s and early 90s.
“He ultimately surrendered his license in 1998 in order ‘to avoid the necessity of further administrative proceedings’ after the licensing agency filed three administrative claims accusing him of doing specialized work without the proper permits, licenses, and inspections, and of failing to complete the contracted work, mismanagement, incompetence and fraud,” The Herald reported.
“While the root cause of the catastrophic collapse of Champlain Towers South that left 98 dead on June 24 is still unknown, engineers who reviewed building plans and photos of the debris as part of a Herald investigation agreed that faulty design and poor construction likely contributed to a worst-case scenario.”