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Florida condo collapse victims will receive $ 150 million to start, judge says

A Florida judge said on Wednesday that victims and families of the Florida condo collapse that killed nearly 100 people on June 24 would receive $ 150 million to begin with.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman said in a hearing the amount would include $ 50 million in insurance and at least $ 100 million from the sale of the Champlain Towers South site, which has been ordained this month.

“The concern of the court has always been the victims here,” Hanzman said. “Their rights will be protected.”

Hanzman noted that the victims of the collapse include tenants and visitors to the property, not just condominium owners.

The collapse of the building, which left at least 97 dead and others missing, prompted several lawsuits from victims and families. Hanzman authorized the dispatch of these lawsuits and ordered the payments to be expedited.

On Wednesday, the judge said the lawsuits would be consolidated into a class action suit and the $ 150 million in compensation would not be drawn from those lawsuits.

“There are people in the rubble screaming”: 911 calls reveal panic and angst in Surfside, Florida, condo collapse

Obituary : Remembering those who died in the Champlain Towers condo collapse in Surfside, Florida

The site of the building collapse was nearly cleared of rubble on Wednesday. The debris is stored in a warehouse and vacant lots, to be kept for prosecution and investigation.

Although authorities have not determined the cause of the collapse, there were concerns about possible structural damage to the 40-year-old condominium. Hanzman heard arguments about the site’s future.

While some unit owners have argued for a memorial, others want the site to be rebuilt and others prefer a hybrid of the two options. If a memorial site is chosen, Hanzman said, residents and owners will not be required to donate the land for the memorial; rather, they should be remunerated at their fair market value.

The judge’s main concern was prompt compensation: “This is not a case where we have time to grow grass underneath.”

Contribution: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Florida condo collapse victims to receive at least $ 150 million, judge says

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