MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade Judge Michael Hanzman gave his approval on where $2 million to $3 million that was left over in a compensation settlement should go following the collapse of the Champlain Tower South in Surfside.
After families had to decide whether or not to move forward with a memorial honoring the Surfside victims, Hanzman heard from the deceased victim’s families about what they wanted.
“So, what is going to happen with these funds (is) they are going to be distributed to the victims,” he said.
Hanzman left it open to the families to decide if they want to donate their funds to a memorial or another cause.
Neil Handler, the father of Jonah, who suffered 12 broken vertebrae, crushed muscles, bruises and scrapes after the building, spoke with Local 10 News following the judge’s ruling.
“Whether it’s A $2 million dollar memorial or a $1.5 million dollar memorial, $500,000 can help a lot of people with their mental health from this event,” he said.
In collaboration with Jonah, Handler founded the Phoenix Life Project, a non-profit that provides a network of counseling, therapy, and holistic treatments. He said those involved in the Surfside response get priority and several of them have already gotten help.
A Dubai-based developer, who now owns the land, had been in talks with the city of Surfside to incorporate some sort of memorial on the property.
A compensation settlement was approved for victims’ families totaling over $1 billion.
The $2 to 3 million in interest is now in the hands of the victim’s loved ones.