With time running out for those still unaccounted for, and the death toll climbing, people are looking for someone to blame… and may have found it.
It was a question on everyone’s mind from the beginning. With building codes being what they are, why would a 12-story condo in a major, modern, metropolitan city suddenly pancake without warning?
In our first story on the collapse, there was mention of the building shifting or sinking by just a few millimeters, which is to say, just a few widths of a dime.
To most of us, that wouldn’t even be noticeable, but to the experts, that meant serious red flags.
In 2018, the building that Reiber and his team built had been flagged for ‘major structural damage’ to the pool deck area and underground parking garage in a damning report.
The tower was about to undergo a $15million renovation project to pass a required 40-year certification before it collapsed early Thursday, killing at least nine and leaving 152 still missing, as of Sunday night.
A consultant engineer warned back in October 2018 that the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, Miami Beach, was in need of numerous repairs around the base of the structure ‘in a timely fashion.’
The structural field survey report specifically raised concerns about the pool deck area, in which the waterproofing was failing, and the underground parking garage which was riddled with ‘abundant’ cracking.
Two days after receiving the report, a Surfside official assured residents that Champlain Towers South building was in ‘very good shape’, CNN reported.
Despite the apparent urgency of some of the recommendations, an attorney for the resident-led condo association told the New York Times this week that repairs were only about to begin – more than two and a half years after the inspection. —DailyMail
That would be bad enough on its own, had it merely been a case of the building aging poorly and needing major repairs. After all, it’s right near the shore in a hurricane-prone city.
But there was more to the story. Warnings were ignored, and local councilors had their hands greased.
One of the main people who was allegedly involved was developer Nathan Reiber, who faced legal troubles in the 1970s in Canada, before turning his attention to south Florida.
According to the Washington Post report, Reiber and his partners couldn’t start construction of the now-collapsed tower because of 1979 moratorium, which was put in place because of faulty sewers in the area.
But they skirted around the moratorium and got their project approved by agreeing to pay half of the $400,000 tab for sewer repairs on the property.
This angered other developers whose projects were stalled by the moratorium and led to accusations that Reiber and his team received preferential treatment, the Washington Post report reported.
Reiber, who died of cancer in 2014, demanded that the campaign donations be returned when allegations of their pay-to-play scheme surfaced. —DailyMail
We’re supposed to ‘trust the experts’ just like we are supposed to ‘trust the science’. The only problem is those experts and the science both have one fatal flaw — they are every bit as fallible and corruptible as the rest of us, only they have greater authority with fewer checks and balances.
Not surprisingly, the mayor is calling for an audit of all buildings 40 years old or older within 30 days, and the ‘sister’ building to the one that collapsed — about a block away — has been evacuated.