Official who signed off on condo said 'there's NOTHING to check' after 'constant shaking' from construction next door
THE official who signed off on the Miami condo that collapsed last week said there's "nothing to check" after residents complained of "constant shaking" from construction next door.
The news comes after it was reported that Rosendo Prieto, who allegedly assured residents that the building was in "good shape" after a 2018 engineering report, has been put on leave from his new job.
Champlain Towers South resident Mara Chouela wrote to Prieto, the former top building official for the town of Surfside, in January 2019 to complain about the construction of a new luxury condo building next door
Residents were reportedly concerned that the building, Eighty Seven Park, was being built too close to their homes.
"We are concerned that the construction next to Surfside is too close," Chouela, a board member of the condo association, wrote, according to CNN.
She also noted that workers were "digging too close to our property and we have concerns regarding the structure of our building."
Pietro responded less than a half-hour later, according to CNN's report, saying that "there is nothing for me to check," because the Eighty Seven Park building was just over the border separating Surfside and Miami Beach.
As experts are still trying to figure out what caused the Champlain Towers South to collapse in the early hours of June 24, the construction at Eighty Seven Park has come under fire.
The Champlain South collapse has lead to 12 deaths, and 149 people are still unaccounted for as rescue teams continue to sift through massive piles of rubble.
Magaly Ramsey, the daughter of a resident who is missing, told CNN that her mom had been concerned about the construction of the luxury condos, which took place between 2016 and 2019.
Ramsey said her mom complained of "tremors" and other issues with construction that may be putting her building at risk.
However, the group behind the construction of Eighty Seven Park released a statement saying they are confident the construction "did not cause or contribute to the collapse that took place in Surfside."
Melissa Berthier, the interim director of Miami Beach's Marketing and Communications Department, told The Sun that they did receive noise complaints about the construction, but this is normal with large projects.
"There were noise complaints as there are with most large construction projects," she said.
"Our Code Compliance Department evaluated each of these complaints. We have not been able to locate any record of vibration complaints."
Meanwhile, Prieto was placed on a leave of absence from his new job as a government contractor after the building collapsed last week.
The former building official allegedly reviewed a 2018 report that found several issues with the Champlain Towers South condo, but told residents the building appeared to be "in very good shape."
The City of Doral, where Prieto had been working, released a statement confirming that Prieto would be taking a leave of absence from his position with C.A.P. Government Inc.
"On June 28, 2021, C.A.P. Government, Inc. notified the City of Doral that Mr. Prieto was on a leave of absence and assigned another employee to assist the City of Doral Building Department on a temporary basis," Doral spokeswoman Maggie Santos said.
The City of Doral did not immediately return The Sun's request for comment about the status of Prieto's employment.
The Miami Herald reported that Prieto attended a condo association meeting in 2018, one month after the troubling engineering report warned of "major structural damage" in the building.
Prieto then told the board that he believed the building to be in good shape, according to minutes of the meeting obtained by the outlet.
The 2018 engineer's report has led to much criticism among people who are still waiting to hear news of missing loved ones in the condo collapse.
The condo's board also sent a letter to residents in April, which was obtained by USA Today this week, warning that the damage found in the 2018 report had been "accelerating" over the years.
The April 9 letter, written just 75 days before the condo collapsed, also acknowledges the significant price tag of the needed repairs.
In the letter, the president of the condo association's board of directors Jean Wodnicki provided a summary of the major repairs that were needed.
She wrote about the 2018 engineer's report, noting that it found a "major error" in the design of the building and crumbling concrete columns in the garage area beneath the building.
The letter noted that failing to fix the problems in the "near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially."
Residents of the condos had reportedly voted to pay for the repairs, despite an estimated $16.2million price tag.
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