SURFSIDE, Fla. – The former Surfside official who signed off on the conditions of Champlain Towers South is taking leave from his current job.
Ross Prieto is taking a leave of absence as the City of Doral’s temporary Building Official, as of June 28, the city confirmed to Local 10 News.
Records show Prieto was the top Surfside building official when the now-collapsed condo underwent its 40-year recertification inspection in November of 2018.
According to a document from the Town of Surfside, Prieto reviewed the 2018 structural engineer report and told residents that their building was in “very good shape.”
Photos and reports that have surfaced since then, such as images obtained by the Miami Herald snapped days before the collapse, suggest otherwise. That includes “major structural damage” pointed out by an engineer, some of which were highlighted in the Herald’s photos.
Prieto left his post in Surfside last November and was assigned to the City of Doral in May by C.A.P. Government Inc. That’s a firm that provides building department services to government clients.
Prieto was also the assistant director of building and zoning for Miami Shores in 1997 when the Biscayne Kennel Club and its famous greyhound sign collapsed.
The incident occurred as demolition workers were taking apart the 1920s-era dog track.
An Associated Press article from that time stated that inspectors had made several visits and found “everything was going according to plan.″
“From what I hear, this is just a construction accident,″ Prieto said at the time. “Accidents can happen.″
Two workers were killed and three were injured in the Miami Shores collapse.