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Subject: Collapsed Florida Condo: President Sought $15 <illion Special Assessment in April
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AugustinD


Posts:1937


06/29/2021 11:39 AM  
NPR, today:
Before a large portion of Champlain Towers South came smashing down, the building's condo board sent a letter to residents noting significant deterioration and explaining the need for a $15 million special assessment to be paid by members.

The ⎜-page] letter obtained by NPR, and first published in full by The Wall Street Journal, was sent before the condominium association's board meeting in April. It is signed by Jean Wodnicki, president of the board of directors of the condo association.

In the letter, Wodnicki said discussion of construction and the related expenses had stretched for months and years. "As this work has become so all-consuming for us, this summary could perhaps be called a report on the 'State of the Building,' " she wrote.

The memo outlined how engineer Frank Morabito was hired in 2018 to do an inspection of the building and provide an initial estimate in advance of its required 40-year inspection in 2021.

But since then, Wodnicki wrote, the cost of the work had increased as the building's condition had deteriorated significantly and visibly.

"Among other things, that estimate indicated that the concrete damage observed would begin to multiply exponentially over the years, and indeed the observable damage such as in the garage has gotten significantly worse since the initial inspection," Wodnicki wrote. "When you can visually see the concrete spalling (cracking), that means that the rebar holding it together is rusting and deteriorating beneath the surface."

And she warned that the scope of work had expanded since the initial 2018 report: "The concrete deterioration is accelerating. The roof situation got much worse, so extensive roof repairs had to be incorporated."

The cost for such extensive repairs appears to have been a cause for concern for owners of units in the building. Morabito's 2018 estimate for repairs had been $9.1 million, but that figure had risen to $15 million when the letter was written.

"For those who believe we are assessing too much, this shows that we are actually under-assessing a bit according to estimates," Wodnicki wrote. "For everyone, I acknowledge that we are talking about a huge project and a very large assessment. Your Board of Directors is working very hard to bring this project to fruition."

Wodnicki wrote that everything in her letter had already been presented, discussed and voted on.

"We have discussed, debated, and argued for years now, and will continue to do so for years to come as different items come into play." Read the full letter here:

[Go to https://www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-miami-area-condo-collapse/2021/06/29/1011280545/letter-from-condo-board-warned-buildings-damage-has-gotten-significantly-worse]
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1614


06/29/2021 11:51 AM  
I think it would be best that all the people lost in this tragedy be recovered, mourned and properly buried before this forum questions the legitimacy of any lawsuit that might be forthcoming.
AugustinD


Posts:1937


06/29/2021 11:52 AM  
From the 16-page letter the Champlain Towers Board President wrote to Owners in April:

Reserves as of the January 2021 balance sheet are $777,435.22. Some of this money ($221,335.66) is segregated as an elective Reserve fund for our insurance deductible. This leaves $556,099.56 in statutory (required by law) Reserves. As it will be difficult or impossible to get another loan for some years after this bank loan closes, this Board feels it would be inappropriate to spend our Reserves for these projects [detailed earlier in the letter]. We need to conserve some cash in the event of an emergency. So, the total cash on hand for our projects is:

SA2020 $247,724.74

SA2019 $459,279.22

TOTAL CASH ON HAND $707,003.96



AugustinD comment:
I hope Ms. Wodnicki has the support of a shrink, rabbi or priest, and family.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:844


06/29/2021 11:58 AM  
Augustin,
I am glad that this COA president wrote this note. It should give the board a little solace even though the pain will probably never go away. Can you imagine the push back the owners gave them with a possible assessment on nearly 100k each?

I am truly glad that I live in a SFH HOA. This scares me to pieces. When I looked at the property on Google Earth it appears that they have a cluster of buildings all named Champlain Towers and the one that fell was the South Tower. I wonder if the Associations are separated by Towers or if they are 1 large COA? That may have made the Special a little easier if it was for the whole property. I still imagine that they would have had tremendous trouble selling this to everyone.

My heart bleeds for them all.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10595


06/29/2021 12:14 PM  
They are all separate entities from each other. Not all built at same time. The North tower HOA has already been on top of things. Just read an article about those people deciding to stay. It appears the other tower had long standing issues. If read other articles correctly they were sued over this not long ago. The member won I believe. They were to start doing repairs on roof.

It is not too soon to discuss as well need to know how would our HOA react? Are we prepared? If not, then strike when it matters on people's minds

Former HOA President
AugustinD


Posts:1937


06/29/2021 12:16 PM  
Posted By MarkM19 on 06/29/2021 11:58 AM
Augustin,
I am glad that this COA president wrote this note. It should give the board a little solace even though the pain will probably never go away. Can you imagine the push back the owners gave them with a possible assessment on nearly 100k each?
Yes. I am trying to get a handle on the scale here. These units were selling for around $600,000 to a million. So around 10% to 15% of a unit's value was about to be assessed. From my reading of FS 718, the Board could impose an emergency special assessment of any size without a vote of the owners.

The Board may not have seen the situation as an emergency in April and in the last few years. I doubt I would have known enough to say these repairs must be done now; everyone evacuate for a year(?). Plus no one knows if the delay in repairing caused the collapse. Though the board President's letter does talk about safety of life.

It looks like Special Assessments had been imposed the previous couple of years, but not nearly as large as the one being considered.

I am trying not to armchair quarterback. I doubt I could have done any better than this Board. The letter the Board president wrote shows expertise in condo law, engineering management and professionalism in general.

I hope that maybe this thread and the other thread help boards, at least a bit, when the boards need to persuade membership that either an annual assessment increase or special assessment is needed.

I am truly glad that I live in a SFH HOA. This scares me to pieces. When I looked at the property on Google Earth it appears that they have a cluster of buildings all named Champlain Towers and the one that fell was the South Tower. I wonder if the Associations are separated by Towers or if they are 1 large COA? That may have made the Special a little easier if it was for the whole property. I still imagine that they would have had tremendous trouble selling this to everyone.

My heart bleeds for them all.
Good questions.

Godspeed to all.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1689


06/29/2021 12:53 PM  
Posted By MarkM19 on 06/29/2021 11:58 AM
Augustin,
I am glad that this COA president wrote this note. It should give the board a little solace even though the pain will probably never go away. Can you imagine the push back the owners gave them with a possible assessment on nearly 100k each?

I saw an article that assessments varied by unit size, from $80k for a 1 bedroom to $300k for the penthouse. It's no surprise that with numbers like these there was probably tremendous pushback. It's unfortunate that none of the inspecting engineers recognized just how bad things were and how urgent the situation was.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11667


06/29/2021 2:56 PM  
Were I on the BOD, I would be ducking and running away with my lawyer in toe.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10595


06/29/2021 3:28 PM  
The engineers DID recognize and DID write it up. They just did not put a "timeline" or "urgency" directly on it. That would be nearly impossible to discern. So it's not like this was something that "slipped through" the system without any warnings or notice. There was even a study made on this building! An inspector even noticed 36 hours BEFORE the collapse puddles of water in the garage and bad supports.

This is a good example of what happens when members/owners don't want to accept the truth and reality of action by raising assessments. We see it here ALL the time from certain posters. They want to "ankle bite" their management into basically inaction.

Building codes, inspections, permits, restrictions of use, and fines to correct are ALL part of the system to prevent such things from happening. It shows that sometimes even with the right tools in place, signs, and warnings a HOA can decision itself into inaction or late actions.

It sound like the other buildings in the complex are not managed by the same group. Atleast they sound like their HOA/COA was a bit more active than reactive. It's a change your culture situation which is the hardest to change.

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2607


06/30/2021 7:57 AM  
The first hour of today's 1A program is devoted to the collapse. Audio should be available on the website (the1a.org) later today.

Unfortunately some of the guests have some mistaken notions about the nature of condo associations, but much of the info seems pretty solid.
AugustinD


Posts:1937


06/30/2021 9:19 AM  
I wish I could find the broadcast of the discussion CathyA3 cited. So far, no joy.

The web site the1a.org appears to be affiliated with NPR.

Chatter about the Board's dynamics in the last several years:

Myriam Caspi Notkin, 81, was a former treasurer of the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association. A Champlain Towers South survivor said she felt powerless towards the end of her tenure as treasurer from 2014 to 2019.

“She said, ‘I am finished. I cannot fight. They don’t hear me. They don’t listen to me. Enough is enough! This is the end of it!’ They made her life miserable,” said the resident, who did not want to be identified over a fear of reprisal. “There was fighting constantly.”

Notkin, 81, was worried about the effects of the dysfunctional dynamic. A troublesome 2018 report shows an engineer warned the board there was major structural damage. She sent an e-mail to the board in 2019 calling them to action: “Doesn’t it bother you to see this building what it has become?”

Notkin was not alone. There was instability in Champlain Towers South Condominium Association’s leadership. In the past five years, the condominium association had five presidents and vice presidents, state records show.

John Pistorino, an engineer with Pistorino & Alam Consulting in South Miami, helped to write the recertification requirement in 1974. The veteran structural engineer said the maintenance should have been ongoing since 1981 when the building was built.

“You don’t wait 40 years to do your building. The code requires you to maintain the building as you go. Every year, you need to scrutinize the building, anything that is coming up needs to be done,” Pistorino said. “You don’t wait for 40 years.”

Notkin, 81, and her husband, Arnold “Arnie” Notkin, 87, are among the more than 150 people who remained unaccounted for...

More at https://www.local10.com/news/local/2021/06/29/woman-worried-about-condo-associations-dysfunctional-dynamic-remains-missing-after-collapse-in-surfside/


From https://www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-miami-area-condo-collapse:
At least three lawsuits have been filed. One of the attorneys is seeking consolidation of all the lawsuits, with him as lead attorney. "At the heart of these recent complaints is the assertion that the condo association should've known about the structural issues with the building and didn't act quickly to ensure those problems were fixed."

AugustinD comment:
Will there be some financial "justice" awarded to the victims' estates and the victims' families? On all the levels that might count, I expect not.

Could the condo corporation assess all the membership to pay --- what, all the membership, for all their losses? Mathematically I see no logic here.

The COA may bankrupt. The insurance coverage may not be nearly enough. The deepest pockets by far are the insurers'. The attorneys will take their guaranteed cut, and it will be huge. The hearts of families are torn apart. The families are signing up as plaintiffs, in I know immeasurable pain from their losses.

But on the practical side of re-compense, the math looks very much against all the owners and tenants at Champlain Towers South. To me, the pursuit of money via lawsuits here, where the lawsuits blame the COA and so the Board, is almost entirely about attorneys' greed.

I expect no one is surprised. It's always been this way. We buy insurance to support the attorney-industrial complex (a cousin of the military-industrial complex).

As MelissaP1 and others have pointed out, the lessons here to other condo boards seem clear enough: Year after year, the Board must listen to the professionals.

And yet: How do the directors insure they are re-elected so that they can get the job done, especially when they just imposed a massive assessment on owners who simply do not understand that the building is in disrepair and the assessment is desperately needed? No way will a board ever be effective at persuading all members of the need to increase the assessment or impose a large special assessment.

I am back to BillH10's suggestion about legislatures stepping in. How about statutory requirements for reserve funding? How about statutes giving reserve study companies more power to, say, report boards to some government agency when the boards are clearly blowing off infrastructure needs? Re the government agencies: Ugh. But I have no better ideas right now.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2607


06/30/2021 12:09 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 06/30/2021 9:19 AM
I wish I could find the broadcast of the discussion CathyA3 cited. So far, no joy.

The web site the1a.org appears to be affiliated with NPR.

... snip ...



Ask and you shall receive:

https://the1a.org/segments/surside-condo-collapse/

SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4297


06/30/2021 12:21 PM  
I agree - in the end, I don't see anyone getting any money beyond what their individual policies may cover- and then I can see those companies doing everything to weasel out of THAT.

Legislation may help somewhat, but you can't legislate common sense and fiscal prudence. Sadly, there are people living in HOA communities who look at this and think it'll NEVER happen to them - until it does. Then we see the posts on this website about the board not doing X, the property manager not doing Y, and the attorneys all getting paid as everyone shes whoever has the deep pockets.

Its probably too soon but i have to wonder about the domino effect. Will we see insurance companies cancel master HOA policies by the dozens after this. Perhaps they can make reserve studies a requirement for buying and keeping the policy, but what if you're having a devil of a time paying for anything because of delinquencies? Will reserve specialists tell people the truth or speak in tongues - not because of the Holy Ghost, but because they want to scare people into paying for lots and lots of things the community really doesn't need, but the board is too frightened to do something else because the homeowners will whine about that.

Will anyone want to serve on a HOA iard after this? It doesn't have to be a high rise in Florida- it could happen to a townhouse community in California that's hit by an earthquake or one in the Midwest hit by a bad tornado.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11667


06/30/2021 12:51 PM  
The legal battles will be going on for years and years. Everybody and anybody will be named in the suits.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1114


06/30/2021 7:16 PM  
I don't think presenting a proposal for a $100K special assessment gets anyone off the hook (not that I'm placing blame on anyone).

Obviously there can be unforeseen circumstances but, generally speaking, special assessments are a sign of mismanagement.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10595


06/30/2021 9:49 PM  
I don't agree that special assessments are a sign of bad management. It is a sign that a project is going to cost more than the HOA has money for. Emergencies happen. Roofs fail before a proper funding of capital can happen.

Special assessments mean just that special. A HOA is ONLY funded by it's members for it's members. It can't always be foreseen every situation. Would you have seen this situation? Most likely not or would balked at the large assessment to. It's human nature. Just hope other HOA's out there now learn from this.

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2607


07/01/2021 5:35 AM  
I also it's too simplistic to say special assessment = mismanagement. There can be many reasons for them:

* incompetent management of finances, which can include failure to set aside enough money for reserves or emergency spending

* a board that's unwilling to deal with pushback from owners

* a board that's willing to deal with pushback but gets replaced by a more docile board the minute they try

* a board that must get homeowner approval for annual budgets and/or assessment levels over a certain amount (a.k.a. Cathy's License to Commit Financial Suicide) - and the proposed budgets/assessment increases get voted down regularly

* unforeseen circumstances, which can include accelerated wear-and-tear due to increasing numbers of extreme weather events or the discovery of construction defects (sounds like both of these may be involved in the condo collapse)

* changes in laws that can result in increased spending for administrative and similar expenses (since Florida is one of the more heavily regulated states, I'd expect more of this sort of thing than I see elsewhere)

* changes in economic circumstances that can drive costs up - eg. inflation in the cost of building materials due to hot real estate markets in other parts of the country, tariffs on lumber, etc. etc.

As with the physical causes of the collapse, I expect we'll find several of the above contributing to the need for a special assessment needed at Surfside.


BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1114


07/01/2021 7:40 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 06/30/2021 9:49 PM
I don't agree that special assessments are a sign of bad management. It is a sign that a project is going to cost more than the HOA has money for. Emergencies happen. Roofs fail before a proper funding of capital can happen.

Special assessments mean just that special. A HOA is ONLY funded by it's members for it's members. It can't always be foreseen every situation. Would you have seen this situation? Most likely not or would balked at the large assessment to. It's human nature. Just hope other HOA's out there now learn from this.



As I said, there can be unforeseen circumstances but that is the exception, not the rule. Buildings deteriorate. When the building was built 40 years ago, everyone knew that it would eventually need major repairs and/or replacement of the entire building at some point. All I'm saying is that not planning for that and waiting 40 years to try to raise money for repairs is mismanagement. I'm speaking in general terms because we don't know what previous boards tried to do with this building.

As far as this particular building collapsing, none of us have enough information to judge anyone.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1689


07/01/2021 7:56 AM  
According to this article the association had 5 presidents and 5 vps in the last 5 years, it is not clear if the director turnover is that high or just officers switching around.
https://www.local10.com/news/local/2021/06/29/woman-worried-about-condo-associations-dysfunctional-dynamic-remains-missing-after-collapse-in-surfside/

This article also suggests that a woman who served as treasurer for several years tried to get the board to take action on maintenance.

I also found their corp page at sunbiz, I don't have time right now to compare this year and past years reports to see how much board turnover there was but a quick glance shows some at least:
http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=CHAMPLAINTOWERSSOUTHCONDOMINIU%207580340&aggregateId=domnp-758034-03e5d51f-275a-43af-a19f-d1404db04ece&searchTerm=champlain%20tower&listNameOrder=CHAMPLAINTOWERSEASTCONDOMINIUM%20N940000047320

I haven't found anything yet that suggests that board or officer turnover was related to proposed large assessments, but it's possible members were voting out directors who wanted to impose them.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:297


07/01/2021 8:22 AM  
Posted By DouglasK1 on 07/01/2021 7:56 AM
According to this article the association had 5 presidents and 5 vps in the last 5 years, it is not clear if the director turnover is that high or just officers switching around.
https://www.local10.com/news/local/2021/06/29/woman-worried-about-condo-associations-dysfunctional-dynamic-remains-missing-after-collapse-in-surfside/

This article also suggests that a woman who served as treasurer for several years tried to get the board to take action on maintenance.

I also found their corp page at sunbiz, I don't have time right now to compare this year and past years reports to see how much board turnover there was but a quick glance shows some at least:
http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=CHAMPLAINTOWERSSOUTHCONDOMINIU%207580340&aggregateId=domnp-758034-03e5d51f-275a-43af-a19f-d1404db04ece&searchTerm=champlain%20tower&listNameOrder=CHAMPLAINTOWERSEASTCONDOMINIUM%20N940000047320

I haven't found anything yet that suggests that board or officer turnover was related to proposed large assessments, but it's possible members were voting out directors who wanted to impose them.




As a board member who recognized the severity of the issue, if the other members didn't support going ahead, I wouldn't blame anyone for resigning. If the member's voted them out, then it would have taken time for the new member's to review the reports.

My experience with being on an HOA Board is it's like herding feral cats. I'm referring to the Board members, not the membership. Membership may always think that a newly elected Board is better when the previous Board because they saying things the member's didn't want to hear.

Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:297


07/01/2021 8:28 AM  
Posted By DouglasK1 on 07/01/2021 7:56 AM
According to this article the association had 5 presidents and 5 vps in the last 5 years, it is not clear if the director turnover is that high or just officers switching around.
https://www.local10.com/news/local/2021/06/29/woman-worried-about-condo-associations-dysfunctional-dynamic-remains-missing-after-collapse-in-surfside/

This article also suggests that a woman who served as treasurer for several years tried to get the board to take action on maintenance.

I also found their corp page at sunbiz, I don't have time right now to compare this year and past years reports to see how much board turnover there was but a quick glance shows some at least:
http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=CHAMPLAINTOWERSSOUTHCONDOMINIU%207580340&aggregateId=domnp-758034-03e5d51f-275a-43af-a19f-d1404db04ece&searchTerm=champlain%20tower&listNameOrder=CHAMPLAINTOWERSEASTCONDOMINIUM%20N940000047320

I haven't found anything yet that suggests that board or officer turnover was related to proposed large assessments, but it's possible members were voting out directors who wanted to impose them.




As a board member who recognized the severity of the issue, if the other members didn't support going ahead, I wouldn't blame anyone for resigning. If the member's voted them out, then it would have taken time for the new member's to review the reports.

My experience with being on an HOA Board is it's like herding feral cats. I'm referring to the Board members, not the membership. Membership may always think that a newly elected Board is better when the previous Board because they were saying things the member's didn't want to hear.

Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1689


07/01/2021 8:50 AM  
I just saw this article: Majority of Florida condo board quit in 2019 as squabbling residents dragged out plans for repairs

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/majority-of-florida-condo-board-quit-in-2019-as-squabbling-residents-dragged-out-plans-for-repairs/2021/06/30/43592282-d98e-11eb-ae62-2d07d7df83bd_story.html

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2607


07/01/2021 9:36 AM  
This morning rescue operations were paused due to fears that the remainder of the building will also collapse.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/07/01/florida-condo-building-collapse-live-updates/
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1614


07/01/2021 3:49 PM  
So enough Monday Morning Quarterbacking. To those that responded here, if you were in the Board shoes, what actions would you have taken to ensure this tragedy didn't occur.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1689


07/01/2021 5:16 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 07/01/2021 3:49 PM
So enough Monday Morning Quarterbacking. To those that responded here, if you were in the Board shoes, what actions would you have taken to ensure this tragedy didn't occur.

I certainly wouldn't blame most recent board members for the situation. I have read that most of the board in place at the time of the 2018 inspection tried to do what needed to be done but there was so much pushback from members and some directors that many of them just gave up and quit. Depending on what is found after everything is dug out, it might turn out that doing major work even three years ago was too late to save the building.

I think the more important thing is to learn from this.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4297


07/02/2021 6:42 AM  
Yup.

Actions have consequences, and sometimes all you can do is to tell people the truth and what the options are. These are adults and if they can't or refuse to face reality, stuff like this can happen.

I don't know if previous boards were aware of the problem before 2018, but if they ignored it or tried to tell the homeowners what was up, and got pushback, what else can you do?If

Like Douglas said, the best other HOAs in that area (not to mention the rest of the country) should watch and learn. You don't want to scare peopke, but for those who are going through a reserve study right now, this is a perfect time to hold a special homeowners meeting to discuss the findings, field questions and perhaps come up with a long term budgeting plan to ensure the common areas are being maintained and the fund properly funded according to the recommendations.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1469


07/02/2021 7:20 AM  
Just my observation. one would have to go back 10-30 years ago to those board members that ignored or blew off any needed repairs. I honestly don't know what the inspection schedule is for condos of if there is one, but I'm willing to bet that the powers that be are scrambling to make sure this don't happen again.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1469


07/02/2021 7:27 AM  
On a side note, I saw some pictures that looked like pool pump equipment in view. Above the pool pumps was concrete with obvious rebar exposed. I did see an google maps view of the property, it appears that the pool is a significant distance from the building. I don't know of, nor have I seen any pool pumps and equipment that far apart from the pool, I'm guessing 30 feet or so.

Makes me not believe the pictures were taken inside the building. They are perhaps pictures of the pool equipment room and not those from the building that collapsed.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4297


07/02/2021 7:55 AM  
Here's a link to a story on NPR that lists ways people can help the survivors, with links - if folks are getting impatient with "Monday Morning Quarterbacking," this is a real and practical way to do something useful in the meantime:

https://www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-miami-area-condo-collapse/2021/06/26/1010457993/after-florida-condo-disaster-state-lists-ways-to-help-victims

JackJ9


Posts:0


07/02/2021 9:35 AM  
I think that while the current board members may not be responsible for the condition of the building, they could have made the decision to evacuate the building. Also they could have hired additional engineering inspections. The fact that they did not falls on their shoulders.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:844


07/02/2021 9:49 AM  
Jack,
I think your comment is based on many misconceptions.

1) If someone told you to evacuate your high rise Condo would you do it?
2) They may have know the building had issues but no one knew what would happen.
3) These problems go back years. I doubt anyone who have given them data saying the building would fall the last week in June.
4) Knowing they have a problem and having the money to fix it are 2 completely different things.
5) If your HOA told you they were going to assess you nearly 100k are you ready to wright that check? If your answer is good congrats but most people can't.

I am sure that the surviving board members and also every owner in the building wishes they could turn the clock back. They will live with those issues for the rest of their lives. The last thing we need to do is blame them.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11667


07/02/2021 10:49 AM  
Posted By MarkM19 on 07/02/2021 9:49 AM
Jack,
I think your comment is based on many misconceptions.

1) If someone told you to evacuate your high rise Condo would you do it?
2) They may have know the building had issues but no one knew what would happen.
3) These problems go back years. I doubt anyone who have given them data saying the building would fall the last week in June.
4) Knowing they have a problem and having the money to fix it are 2 completely different things.
5) If your HOA told you they were going to assess you nearly 100k are you ready to wright that check? If your answer is good congrats but most people can't.

I am sure that the surviving board members and also every owner in the building wishes they could turn the clock back. They will live with those issues for the rest of their lives. The last thing we need to do is blame them.



Well said.
JackJ9


Posts:0


07/02/2021 10:58 AM  
Posted By MarkM19 on 07/02/2021 9:49 AM
Jack,
I think your comment is based on many misconceptions.

1) If someone told you to evacuate your high rise Condo would you do it?
2) They may have know the building had issues but no one knew what would happen.
3) These problems go back years. I doubt anyone who have given them data saying the building would fall the last week in June.
4) Knowing they have a problem and having the money to fix it are 2 completely different things.
5) If your HOA told you they were going to assess you nearly 100k are you ready to wright that check? If your answer is good congrats but most people can't.

I am sure that the surviving board members and also every owner in the building wishes they could turn the clock back. They will live with those issues for the rest of their lives. The last thing we need to do is blame them.




Someone holds the responsibility for either knowingly allowing the building to be occupied in a state of decay, or not asking professionals to inspect the building to tell the board what the state of the building was. That someone is the board of directors of the condo owners association. Perhaps it is the management company depending on how they structure their work. (In our HOA it would be the the board, but maybe their condo association has given the property manager a lot of responsibility.)

The arguments about the owners not wanting to pay 100k+ is a red herring. It would cost the owners nothing to evacuate the building, which is the decision that should have been made. The cost to hire engineers to ascertain the structural integrity is relatively cheap and could be done without special assessments.
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:297


07/02/2021 11:03 AM  
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/02/2021 10:58 AM
Posted By MarkM19 on 07/02/2021 9:49 AM
Jack,
I think your comment is based on many misconceptions.

1) If someone told you to evacuate your high rise Condo would you do it?
2) They may have know the building had issues but no one knew what would happen.
3) These problems go back years. I doubt anyone who have given them data saying the building would fall the last week in June.
4) Knowing they have a problem and having the money to fix it are 2 completely different things.
5) If your HOA told you they were going to assess you nearly 100k are you ready to wright that check? If your answer is good congrats but most people can't.

I am sure that the surviving board members and also every owner in the building wishes they could turn the clock back. They will live with those issues for the rest of their lives. The last thing we need to do is blame them.




Someone holds the responsibility for either knowingly allowing the building to be occupied in a state of decay, or not asking professionals to inspect the building to tell the board what the state of the building was. That someone is the board of directors of the condo owners association. Perhaps it is the management company depending on how they structure their work. (In our HOA it would be the the board, but maybe their condo association has given the property manager a lot of responsibility.)

The arguments about the owners not wanting to pay 100k+ is a red herring. It would cost the owners nothing to evacuate the building, which is the decision that should have been made. The cost to hire engineers to ascertain the structural integrity is relatively cheap and could be done without special assessments.




How is the Board supposed to enforce a Board called evacuation of the building?

Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
JackJ9


Posts:0


07/02/2021 11:08 AM  
Posted By PatJ1 on 07/02/2021 11:03 AM
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/02/2021 10:58 AM
Posted By MarkM19 on 07/02/2021 9:49 AM
Jack,
I think your comment is based on many misconceptions.

1) If someone told you to evacuate your high rise Condo would you do it?
2) They may have know the building had issues but no one knew what would happen.
3) These problems go back years. I doubt anyone who have given them data saying the building would fall the last week in June.
4) Knowing they have a problem and having the money to fix it are 2 completely different things.
5) If your HOA told you they were going to assess you nearly 100k are you ready to wright that check? If your answer is good congrats but most people can't.

I am sure that the surviving board members and also every owner in the building wishes they could turn the clock back. They will live with those issues for the rest of their lives. The last thing we need to do is blame them.




Someone holds the responsibility for either knowingly allowing the building to be occupied in a state of decay, or not asking professionals to inspect the building to tell the board what the state of the building was. That someone is the board of directors of the condo owners association. Perhaps it is the management company depending on how they structure their work. (In our HOA it would be the the board, but maybe their condo association has given the property manager a lot of responsibility.)

The arguments about the owners not wanting to pay 100k+ is a red herring. It would cost the owners nothing to evacuate the building, which is the decision that should have been made. The cost to hire engineers to ascertain the structural integrity is relatively cheap and could be done without special assessments.




How is the Board supposed to enforce a Board called evacuation of the building?




I would suppose that the Board would coordinate with the code enforcement entity of the city/county where it is located, and the two entities would work together to revoke the certificate of occupancy. Then the police/fire/code enforcement professionals would remove anyone not voluntarily leaving on their own.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11667


07/02/2021 11:14 AM  
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/02/2021 11:08 AM
Posted By PatJ1 on 07/02/2021 11:03 AM
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/02/2021 10:58 AM
Posted By MarkM19 on 07/02/2021 9:49 AM
Jack,
I think your comment is based on many misconceptions.

1) If someone told you to evacuate your high rise Condo would you do it?
2) They may have know the building had issues but no one knew what would happen.
3) These problems go back years. I doubt anyone who have given them data saying the building would fall the last week in June.
4) Knowing they have a problem and having the money to fix it are 2 completely different things.
5) If your HOA told you they were going to assess you nearly 100k are you ready to wright that check? If your answer is good congrats but most people can't.

I am sure that the surviving board members and also every owner in the building wishes they could turn the clock back. They will live with those issues for the rest of their lives. The last thing we need to do is blame them.




Someone holds the responsibility for either knowingly allowing the building to be occupied in a state of decay, or not asking professionals to inspect the building to tell the board what the state of the building was. That someone is the board of directors of the condo owners association. Perhaps it is the management company depending on how they structure their work. (In our HOA it would be the the board, but maybe their condo association has given the property manager a lot of responsibility.)

The arguments about the owners not wanting to pay 100k+ is a red herring. It would cost the owners nothing to evacuate the building, which is the decision that should have been made. The cost to hire engineers to ascertain the structural integrity is relatively cheap and could be done without special assessments.




How is the Board supposed to enforce a Board called evacuation of the building?




I would suppose that the Board would coordinate with the code enforcement entity of the city/county where it is located, and the two entities would work together to revoke the certificate of occupancy. Then the police/fire/code enforcement professionals would remove anyone not voluntarily leaving on their own.




I can only assume if this was to happen, some owners would ban together and get a Restraining Order. The legal foot work would have been on going while the building was collapsing.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:844


07/02/2021 11:28 AM  
Glad to see I am not alone on this last few suggestions. Not sure how many Condo COAs they have along the coast in Florida that are this age or older. They will all get looked at much closer now and many will pay for this extra measures.

Something else that bugged me a few posts back was that the Reserve Study people should have done more and shut this building down. RS annalists do not do anything close to this type of work. They only wright a report and send glossy pictures and predict when things could fail. It is not a science and is only an opinion. Experts need to be hired by boards and specific opinions given on this type of major failures. I doubt any of the experts would have said this would happen June/2021.
DonnaR5
(Virginia)

Posts:138


07/02/2021 12:54 PM  
Florida law requires Condos to have a reserve fund, but then allows Associations to waive reserves if the members vote to approve that. I think the legislature needs to step up and remove that "You don't have to if you don't want to" provision. In other words, they need a "You must have a reserve study and you must fully fund your reserves." When the money is there for repairs, not requiring a special assessment, you have a much better chance of upkeep and repairs getting done.
AugustinD


Posts:1937


07/02/2021 2:15 PM  
Posted By DouglasK1 on 07/01/2021 5:16 PM
I certainly wouldn't blame most recent board members for the situation. I have read that most of the board in place at the time of the 2018 inspection tried to do what needed to be done but there was so much pushback from members and some directors that many of them just gave up and quit.
The Florida Condo Act places no limit on the size of Special Assessments. I think many of the HOA/COA-director veterans here would have voted for a massive special assessment back in 2018, along with arranging a loan. (I understand the Champlain South Board was in fact arranging for both a loan along with imposing a Special Assessment.)

It appears to me that FS 718.112 (2) (f) 2. b allows members to call a Special Meeting to "waive or reduce" reserves.

I have both stood my ground (and got voted down) on a significant repair that the HOA manager insisted need not be done per code (as described in the Reserve Study) and succumbed to pressure to do a less expensive repair (which within a year, failed, resulting in significant damage to property).

Thank you for the link to the WaPo article (Majority of Florida Condo Board Quit... )
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10595


07/02/2021 2:44 PM  
When I moved into my HOA we had a pool area that had a railroad tie retaining wall. It was put there by the builders over 20 years prior. There was also an extended raised deck area as well. Both were in bad and dangerous condition. The wall at some points was collapsing into the pool area! People were told to not step on or use the deck. The deck was situated that would make removing it take a chunk out of the fenced in area. Leaving it wide open.

I am mentioning this in no means in the scale or scope of what happened in Florida. Just pointing out that a situation that is as obvious a danger can still be "kicked down the line". We had meetings in the clubhouse that faced the retaining wall!!!

It took a "culture" change to make our pool project to happen. This is what is going to have to happen to all those other HOA's/COA's out there to make the right changes for safety.

Former HOA President
AugustinD


Posts:1937


07/02/2021 4:22 PM  
Posted By SheliaH on 06/30/2021 12:21 PM
Its probably too soon but i have to wonder about the domino effect. Will we see insurance companies cancel master HOA policies by the dozens after this.
Your post must have crossed the desks of a number of insurance companies. See, "Insurers are making demands of 40-year-old buildings after Surfside condo collapse,"
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article252528138.html. Excerpt:
"Within days of the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, insurance companies sent letters to owners of condominiums 40 years and older in South Florida, asking for proof that their buildings have passed all inspections, or they will lose their coverage.

The deadly collapse of the 136-unit high rise has spooked an industry that had already considered older condos on the coast — with their hurricane exposure, their common ownership structure and reputation for delaying maintenance — a high risk, experts say.

Now, if a building can’t comply with the insurance requests, the insurer can cancel the policy with a 45-day notice, or choose not to renew the policy, said Isidro “Izzy” Guillama, CEO of ProCom Insurance Underwriters, a Miami-based independent insurance agent who specializes in condo insurance."
AugustinD


Posts:1937


07/02/2021 4:40 PM  
By the numbers, per a hearing in a Miami-Dade Circuit Court in the last day or so:

The condo board voted unanimously to accept receivership.

Available condo association insurance totals $48 million.

The judge declared that the land on which the building stood will also be an asset, valued at $30 million to $50 million.

So at most, there is about $98 million to be doled out from the condo association's and its insurers' pockets.

The judge ordered the receiver to start making payments to owners and families immediately, specifying certain payments in particular.

The judge wants the five lawsuits (and counting) wrapped up within 12 months.

The Miami Dade County Mayor has ordered demolition of what is left of the building at such time as engineers specify.


More at https://www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-miami-area-condo-collapse/2021/07/02/1012513062/florida-judge-orders-surfside-condo-association-board-into-receivership
AugustinD comment:
Will the 2018-2021 engineering firm be sued, for not declaring the situation urgent, and because this is why malpractice insurance exists (namely, to settle claims without spending a fortune in litigation)?

LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1469


07/02/2021 7:41 PM  
Sadly AugustinD, I feel what will eventually happen to Condo COA in regards to insurance is what happened with insurance carriers that stopped offering hurricane coverage in Florida. Now residents need to buy hurricane coverage from the state kinda like homeowners purchase flood insurance from Uncle Sam.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10595


07/02/2021 11:15 PM  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEPyE2h6P4k

Found this an interesting YouTube Video. May make a few people pause and want to take a look around their pool areas.

Former HOA President
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:844


07/03/2021 7:26 AM  
Melissa,
Wow that is a very through video that explains a lot. So sad to see this stuff come out.
AugustinD


Posts:1937


07/03/2021 8:05 AM  
Posted By LetA on 07/02/2021 7:41 PM
Sadly AugustinD, I feel what will eventually happen to Condo COA in regards to insurance is what happened with insurance carriers that stopped offering hurricane coverage in Florida. Now residents need to buy hurricane coverage from the state kinda like homeowners purchase flood insurance from Uncle Sam.
Did you see that the City of North Miami Beach ordered the occupied, 136 unit, 10-story Crestview Towers condo building seven miles north of Champlain Tower South evacuated yesterday? In Januay, 2021 an engineer submitted a report to the association stating the building was 'unsafe for occupancy.' City Rules required the report to be submitted to the city. The report found its way to the city only in the last few days.

MelissaP1, I agree with MarkM19 that the video seems thoughtful and well done. Let's see if it withstands the scrutiny of other engineers. I am still trying to figure out who Jeff Ostroff is. He appears to do a lot of do-it-yourself home repair videos. I think he's done other analyses of structural failures? He called himself an engineer in the video.

CathyA3, thank you for the additional links.

SheliaH, thank you for the link for helping survivors. The trauma these folks will suffer forever is on my mind this morning.

I keep thinking of how COA boards far from Florida may or may not respond to all this. Perhaps like LetA, at this point I am wondering if insurance companies will be the main force behind change.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10595


07/03/2021 8:06 AM  
I watched a few other videos but were not as good as that one. It was logical and made sense. Plus think the guy must be a local as watched a few of his "live" reports from the direct scene. Which there is a link to them at the end of that video. Very interesting and scary.

It does seem like many of the "Youtube Engineers" are all showing the same failure point at the pool deck area. With everyone here in a tizzy about opening their pools etc... May want to take a moment to view this video. There are signs should be looking for before deciding to open. That pool guy was very lucky who was there only 36 hours from the collapse.

Former HOA President
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1689


07/03/2021 8:10 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/02/2021 4:40 PM
The judge declared that the land on which the building stood will also be an asset, valued at $30 million to $50 million.



I saw that in an article, but wonder if anyone would actually pay that for the property. It might even be decided that the property should become a memorial, ala Pulse.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
AugustinD


Posts:1937


07/03/2021 8:10 AM  
... and what's all this bs in the last several days setting the threshold for cracking down on COAs only when the 40-year point is reached? Clearly forty years is the wrong 'magic number.' As at least one engineer, attorney, planner yada pointed out in recent days, maintenance should be happening every year.

I suppose Florida cities are prioritizing the older buildings right now, as resources are limited.

I think like every board veteran here who read about the bickering on the board of the South Champlain Towers had a flashback to the bickering on their own boards when it came to repairs and reserve funding. I think it certainly makes a case for a receiver-like situation to be imposed on every condo with reserve funding below say 90%.
AugustinD


Posts:1937


07/03/2021 9:06 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 06/30/2021 12:09 PM
https://the1a.org/segments/surside-condo-collapse/

Starting at about 8:20:

Danny Rivero, reporter, states, "These are basically mini-socialist societies... "and goes on to say that the board and residents just could not agree on the repairs that were needed and how to pay for them.

If a HOA/COA corporation is a mini-socialist society, then isn't say PepsiCo Inc. also a mini-socialist society?

Rivero is calling corporate shareholders socialists?

I think Rivero did not do his homework.

Thank you for the link, CathyA3. I keep in mind that the talking heads' views (my paeon views included) evolve hourly.

AugustinD


Posts:1937


07/03/2021 9:51 AM  
Posted By DouglasK1 on 07/03/2021 8:10 AM
Posted By AugustinD on 07/02/2021 4:40 PM
The judge declared that the land on which the building stood will also be an asset, valued at $30 million to $50 million.

I saw that in an article, but wonder if anyone would actually pay that for the property. It might even be decided that the property should become a memorial, ala Pulse.
A biting observation from USA Today in the last day or so:

“Florida will do anything to help developers build and sell units and all responsibility is passed onto the unit owners after the sale,” ⎪-year Florida condo attorney Eric] Glazer said. “There is almost a hands-off approach when it comes to structural integrity.”

I see it was the owner of the Florida nightclub Pulse who is establishing a memorial, though with great support from the city and even the U. S. Congress.

I think a lot about how I have come to understand that the main purpose of city councils is to promote land development. Build, build build. Zoning is fungible. No one should rely on zoning not to change.

Leading the way regarding the practical and well-regulated aspects of construction and development is Drainage. And Drainage. And more Drainage. A large finger is certainly pointing at this as being a leading cause of the Champlain Towers South collapse.

I think a lot about how, back in the day on a certain HOA/COA Board, I was keenly unhappy about the lack of reserve funding. The percent funded value sat (and sits today) at under 30%. But explaining to people why saving up was important was largely impossible. Understanding reserve funding takes a certain amount of math- and financial literacy, accompanied by an understanding that infrastructure does not last forever and will deteriorate with time. The pushback from owners was enormous. The next year's board succumbedto the pushback, blatantly and expressly ignoring the reserve study from the previous year and raising the assessment by not nearly enough.


Correction to my earlier post: The now-evacuated Crestview Towers has 156 units (not 136 units).
AugustinD


Posts:1937


07/03/2021 12:12 PM  
This scares the he-- out of me:

=== Excerpts from https://www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-miami-area-condo-collapse/2021/06/27/1010710735/surfside-official-told-residents-their-building-was-safe-despite-engineers-warni ===

NPR has obtained minutes of a Nov. 2018 meeting that shows a Surfside town inspector met with residents of the building, and assured them the building was "in very good shape." NPR learned of the meeting from a resident who was in attendance and who in an interview with Weekend Edition recalled being told that the building was not in danger.

The inspector's comments directly conflicted with an engineering report from five weeks earlier, which warned that failed waterproofing in a concrete structural slab needed to be replaced "in the near future."
...
The engineering report was dated Oct. 8, 2018. At a Nov. 15 board meeting of the Champlain Tower South Condominium Association, a building official from the town of Surfside, Ross Prieto, appeared to discuss that report. "Structural engineer report was reviewed by Mr. Prieto," the meeting minutes say. "It appears the building is in very good shape."
...
Champlain Towers South resident Susana Alvarez says she was at the Nov. 2018 meeting, and said residents were told the building was safe.

"We sat there with the town of Surfside," Alvarez said. "And the town of Surfside said to us that the building was not in bad shape, that the building was not in bad shape. That is what they said, okay?
===

If I were an attorney for the residents and owners of Champlain Towers South, and their families, I would throw everything I had at the city of Surfside. Given the 2018 engineering report, all the signs are that what city building official Ross Prieto said was ignorant in every way, and an example of the worst of the "profession." For goodness sake, Prieto was speaking to laypeople, pre-disposed not to spend money in the first place. He went against what an engineering firm recommended. Forget about hindsight. It was never his place to deceive the residents into thinking he had the expertise to opine on the building's soundness.

=== From https://www.10tv.com/article/news/nation-world/ex-official-said-surfside-condo-sound-leaves-job/507-8f2b59ae-6725-4b7a-95fd-9d60358491de ===

Rosendo "Ross" Prieto is on a leave of absence from his temporary job with a contracting business that provides building services for the city of Doral, a city spokeswoman said in an email statement Wednesday. Doral is located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Surfside, where the Champlain Towers South is located.

The Doral statement said Prieto works for a firm called C.A.P. Government Inc., which provides building services to governments. That firm notified Doral that Prieto was on a leave of absence, the statement said, with another person taking over on a temporary basis.
===

From the NY Times, July 1, 2021:
Mr. Prieto, 54, who has a master’s degree in construction management, has more than 25 years of experience as a building and roofing inspector in at least six South Florida cities, including Miami, Miami Beach and Hialeah.
...
Mr. Prieto spent five years as a building inspector at nearby Miami Beach, where city officials agreed to pay him $80,000 a year — more than 50 percent above the advertised salary — because he held a variety of important licenses, including one in roofing. City officials who hired him noted that a background check revealed financial problems, including a bankruptcy in 2002, his personnel file shows.

There is no indication that these issues were related to his competence as a building inspector, but they are generally considered potential red flags during pre-employment background checks.

At one point, Mr. Prieto owned his own development company and was involved in several real estate development ventures. Court records show that while employed at Miami Beach, in 2012, Mr. Prieto filed for bankruptcy again, this time telling the court he had accumulated $1.7 million in debt. He said he was losing one of the three properties he owned to foreclosure.

A few years into his tenure in Miami Beach, his bosses complained that he was frequently late, had missed more than 20 days of work one year, and often could not be located, according to emails in his personnel file. The record shows Mr. Prieto said he failed to call in sick on time because he had trouble with his sinuses. His bosses expressed concern that he frequently did not answer his phone when they were trying to reach him.

He was suspended after twice calling in sick several hours after his shift had already begun.

Surfside hired him in 2013, paying him $110,000 a year to be its chief building official.

===

Here we have a building inspector, with multiple credentials and two personal bankruptcies (and afaic, signs of other problems) holding himself out to be more expert than a structural engineering firm. Who on the Board invited this moron (Prieto) to assure owners that all was fine at the building? Who at the city approved this guy speaking to the condo owners thusly?

A commenter at the Times site warned of the low IQ of the mob and mob justice. I guess 20/20 hindsight can be dangerous as well. But in this case, I am not buying it. Influencing the owners and the Board as this high ranking city building official (Prieto) did could only have made it impossible for the South Champlain Towers Board to justify a special assessment to themselves (never mind the owners), at least for the immediate future. My new motto may soon become "Bankrupt Surfside (and let this be a warning to any municipal building inspector who pulls what Prieto pulled)."
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10595


07/03/2021 3:39 PM  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeDlOBj7CHk

Here is a good video about the HOA history and issues. Think we can all relate to this on some level...

Former HOA President
AugustinD


Posts:1937


07/03/2021 3:54 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 07/03/2021 3:39 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeDlOBj7CHk
This short (under three minutes) video from June 29 says the Board did approve the massive Special Assessment and it was to begin in July (this month).
EricN3
(California)

Posts:16


07/05/2021 1:01 AM  
i'll say it's bad management when the president knows how bad the situation is and tells residents there's nothing to worry about. as from what i heard one of the presidents before this one knew how bad it was but told residents everything was fine. he needs to be held accountable!!! most HOA'S don't have the funds for large repairs
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4297


07/05/2021 9:08 AM  
I doubt the president ( the current one and all these before him) have the money to make this right. I hate to say it, but the best these folks might hope for is to get enough money to cover living expenses until the find another place. I heard some of the units went for a million plus, so they may be in a better position than others to rebound.

There's probably plenty of blame to go around and you may not find a specific person or group to highlight. For now, I think the focus should be on revering the bodies (the building was torn down last night) helping the survivors and then you can step back and take a close look at everything g to see what could be done to prevent this in the future
AugustinD


Posts:1937


07/05/2021 9:11 AM  
I thought this was an amazing report about another Florida condo (15 stories, 117 units) that found cracks and walls buckling in 2010; evacuated within days by order of the city; then saw repairs; assessment collection; negotiations with insurers; fire sales of condos; and more; all to come out well in the end around 2015:

https://www.sarasotamagazine.com/home-and-real-estate/an-unlikely-heroine-steps-in-to-save-crumbling-dolphin-tower

It was not easy. Many owners could not pay the assessments while living elsewhere and sold at rock bottom prices.

Much of the success is credited to Board President (and get this:retired New Jersey Psychotherapist) Charlotte Ryan.

It sure shows a path that other condos might want to consider.
DonnaR5
(Virginia)

Posts:138


07/05/2021 10:37 AM  
I haven't seen this question addressed in the news coverage: does anyone know whether the board had to get member approval by vote for a special assessment? Or did they delay in 2018-2019 because people complained about the cost and pointed to the Surfside employee who told them their building was fine?
AugustinD


Posts:1937


07/05/2021 10:49 AM  
Posted By DonnaR5 on 07/05/2021 10:37 AM
I haven't seen this question addressed in the news coverage: does anyone know whether the board had to get member approval by vote for a special assessment?
It's buried in the news reports. (And often mist-stated in blog-type sites.) The Champlain South covenants do not require a member vote for a special assessment. In fact, the Board recently did approve a massive special assessment (and borrowing?) for repairs, at a properly noticed board meeting.

Per the Florida condo statute, notice requirements for a board meeting where a special assessment is going to be discussed are strict. But it's still a board vote, with no membership approval required.

Or did they delay in 2018-2019 because people complained about the cost and pointed to the Surfside employee who told them their building was fine?
I think some directors on the board may very well have been persuaded by Surfside building official (and criminal, afaic) Ross Prieto. Given the board turnover, I also wonder whether Prieto's reckless, ignorant remarks led to the membership voting for directors who were against the assessment.

I see on the net that the city of Surfside has been named as a defendant in at least one of the lawsuits. The Morabito engineering firm and a related, contemporary architectural firm (not the firm from c. 1981) is also a defendant.
DonnaR5
(Virginia)

Posts:138


07/05/2021 10:58 AM  
I just don't get it. How could they put off the work so long? That engineer's report would have lit a fire under me.

BTW, I don't see how the engineering firm has any fault in this. But I think law firms just paint with a broad brush and sue everyone involved, regardless.
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