As the number of confirmed deaths in the Surfside condo collapse is now at 96, a Miami-Dade County judge has given approval for the sale of the oceanfront property where the building once stood. The sale could raise over $100 million for the victims.
A total of 11 people still remain unaccounted for, according to the latest reports from the Miami Herald.
Hundreds of victims of the deadly collapse of a Surfside condo building could expect to see compensation in the near future, as a Miami-Dade Circuit judge Wednesday approved the planned sale of the oceanfront property, valued at more than $100 million, as well as the disbursement of millions more in insurance payments for property and personal damages.
Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman told the courtroom that he wanted to start the process of putting the site of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South up for sale immediately.
The judge also wants the court-appointed receiver for the condo board to begin disbursing millions of dollars in insurance payments to the former owners of the 136-unit building.
Judge Hanzman also dismissed the possibility of converting the entire Champlain Towers property to a memorial site, citing that any potential sale for that purpose would not generate enough money for the victims of the collapse.
According to the Herald, the judge also took steps to accelerate the process of filing lawsuits related to the building collapse:
A class-action case filed against the Champlain condominium association was also placed on a fast track and the judge cautioned lawyers involved in a leadership committee not to expect to receive any contingency fees for their work and that he would consider approving payments for their hourly rate and expenses. Hanzman said he wanted to “monetize that property” as quickly as possibly so that the victims participating in the class-action case or in individual lawsuits can receive immediate compensation for relocation costs, loss of property and personal injury or death. Since the June 24 collapse of about half of the Champlain condo units, at least 95 people have been declared dead while a dozen more are still missing. Miami-Dade County has led the rescue and recovery efforts at 8777 Collins Ave. The Champlain condo board receiver, Michael Goldberg, has been authorized to begin the process of selling the property, which could sell for as much as $110 million. Separately, the Herald reports Goldberg has already received a donation of $1 million from Miami civil attorney John Ruiz and that he has started to distribute some of that money to 20 of the 24 Champlain Towers South survivors who requested relocation benefits.