Surfside building collapse: Unit owners, grieving families disagree on $83M distribution

SURFSIDE, Fla. – Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman, who is overseeing the lawsuits related to the Surfside building collapse, has yet to decide how the $83 million — $50 million out of the insurance payout and $33 million from the land sale — will be distributed.

Hanzman held the Final Approval Hearing Tuesday. While attorneys for the survivors who lost property after the Champlain Towers South collapse want the judge to increase the “common fund,” attorneys for the relatives of the 98 killed argue the settlement should only apply to wrongful death claims.

Hanzman decided there will be a $750,000 deduction for attorneys’ fees and maintenance. Oren Cytrynbaum, a real estate investor and lawyer, is among the surviving property owners of the former 136-unit building. He walked out of his unit 905 about three hours before the collapse. Unit 906, he said, belongs to his family.

“We are not asking for anything more than some form of compensation to be able to get our lives on,” Cytrynbaum said adding, “What’s going to be right? What’s going to be fair? I don’t think we will ever get to that answer.”

He and other property owners believe their portion of the settlement stands to be lower than the fair market value and will not be enough cover other items lost. Unit owners and wrongful death complainants have 10 days to opt out of the settlement.

“Unfortunately, we are being put between a rock and a hard place because, yes we are given the options to opt-out, but it is not really economically feasible,” Cytrynbaum said.


Surfside sets up 2 committees to pay tribute to condo collapse victims

Surfside commissioners created two new committees on Tuesday night that will make recommendations about the way the town will pay tribute to the 98 victims of the Champlain Towers South collapse.

One of the committees will focus on memorials and the other on the June 24 anniversary event. Mayor Shlomo Danzinger said it was important that the relatives of the victims be the members of the committees.

The commission discussed hanging a banner with the names of the victims on the fence surrounding the site along Collins Avenue, between 88th and 87th streets.

After the special meeting, commissioners plan to focus on the memorial again on April 12 and the anniversary event on May 10.

FILE - In this Friday, June 25, 2021, file photo, rescue workers work in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

About the Authors:

Roy Ramos joined the Local 10 News team in 2018. Roy is a South Florida native who grew up in Florida City. He attended Christopher Columbus High School, Homestead Senior High School and graduated from St. Thomas University.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.