The town declared condo buildings in good shape despite warnings

A town official stated to board members that their Florida condominium high-rise was in "very good condition" three years prior to it collapsing, according the minutes of that meeting.

The town declared condo buildings in good shape despite warnings

According to reports, Rosendo "Ross" Prieto, a Surfside official was quoted as saying those remarks at a Champlain Towers South board meeting on Nov. 15, 2018. This was less than a month after Morabito Consultants had published a report detailing key flaws within the structure.

Champlain Towers was just beginning to look at what was required under city and county ordinances to allow the building to meet a 40 year recertification, which was due to arrive in 2021.

According to the minutes of the board meeting, Prieto stated that in 2018, the Morabito engineering report had collected all the information necessary and that "it appears that the building is in very great shape."

The next day, Prieto informed Surfside's then-town manager that he considered the meeting a success. He also credited Champlain Towers for getting him started on the recertification process early.

"The response from everyone in this room was very positive," Prieto wrote in an email that was also released by the town officials. "All of their concerns regarding the forty-year process of recertification were addressed."

The documents reveal that there is no evidence that any concrete structure work was ever completed. The owners of the 136 units were informed earlier this year that they would be responsible for paying their $15 million assessment. This $9.1million was major work. The assessment was between $80,000 and $330,000 for a one-bedroom unit.

Prieto is no longer employed at Surfside. Attempts to locate him Monday for comment were unsuccessful. Prieto had previously stated to the Miami Herald that he doesn't recall receiving the Morabito report. He declined to comment on November 2018's board meeting.

According to the town, an attorney for Surfside sent the minutes to Surfside officials Sunday.

The pool deck was the focus of the Morabito report. It had waterproofing that had failed underneath and had been laid flat to drain water off. This not only threatened the concrete slab underneath the pool, but also other structural areas.

"Failure in the near future to replace the waterproofing will cause concrete deterioration's extent to grow exponentially," stated the report. It also mentioned "abundant cracking” in concrete beams and columns.

Updated Date: 28 June 2021, 17:11

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