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Inside the Tumultuous Years Before the Florida Condo Collapse | Press "Enter" to skip to content

Inside the Tumultuous Years Before the Florida Condo Collapse

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On Sept. 13, 2019, Graciela M. Escalante, who chaired the committee in charge of the 40-year recertification project, recommended hiring Mr. Morabito’s firm to carry out the work, even though his bid was the most expensive and initially led to what the selection committee admitted was “sticker shock.”

The next day, Anette Goldstein, the board president, and Nancy K. Levin, the vice president, both resigned, saying they were frustrated by last-minute objections that kept derailing progress on repairs.

“This pattern has repeated itself over and over, ego battles, undermining the roles of fellow board members, circulation of gossip and mistruths,” Ms. Goldstein wrote. “I am not presenting a very pretty picture of the functioning of our board and many before us, but it describes a board that works very hard but cannot for the reasons above accomplish the goals we set to accomplish.”

Ms. Levin, who had lived in the building since it opened, said it had gone from being the “jewel” of Surfside to being overtaken by a “political battle of egos and power.”

A third board member, Maggie A. Manrara, the treasurer, resigned six days later, because she disagreed with other members who wanted to accept $400,000 from the developers of Eighty Seven Park to resolve their complaints, against the advice of the board’s lawyers. The board did not ultimately sign it.

In all, six of seven board members resigned, five of them in the two weeks leading up to Oct. 3, 2019. At a board meeting that day, Ms. Escalante and others laid out a slew of concerns. She was elected the new president and, as the building official for the neighboring village of Bal Harbour, she had real expertise for the job.


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