Majority of Florida condo board QUIT in 2019 amid bickering over repairs

Most of the board members of the condominium that collapsed last week resigned in 2019, with the president of the board slamming inaction and bickering over an engineer’s report calling for urgent repairs.

Board president Anette Goldstein was among five members of the seven-person board who resigned in a two-week period in the fall of 2019, according to meeting minutes reported by the Washington Post.

Goldstein’s resignation letter shows that the board of the condo in Surfside was consumed with infighting over an October 2018 report by engineering firm Morabito Consultants, which identified key issues with weakening concrete and called for drastic renovations costing some $15 million.

‘We work for months to go in one direction and at the very last minute objections are raised that should have been discussed and resolved right in the beginning,’ Goldstein wrote in a September 2019 resignation letter obtained by the Post.

‘This pattern has repeated itself over and over, ego battles, undermining the roles of fellow board members, circulation of gossip and mistruths,’ the letter said.

‘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 out to accomplish,’ Goldstein continued.

Goldstein, who is not among those listed missing or dead in the collapse, has lived on the 11th floor of the building since 1990, property records show. 

Most of the board members of the condominium that collapsed last week resigned in 2019, with the president of the board slamming inaction and bickering over an engineers report calling for urgent repairs

Most of the board members of the condominium that collapsed last week resigned in 2019, with the president of the board slamming inaction and bickering over an engineers report calling for urgent repairs

Most of the board members of the condominium that collapsed last week resigned in 2019, with the president of the board slamming inaction and bickering over an engineers report calling for urgent repairs

Coast guard boats patrol in front of the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building, ahead of a planned visit to the site by President Joe Biden, on Thursday, as the search was suspended due to safety concerns

Coast guard boats patrol in front of the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building, ahead of a planned visit to the site by President Joe Biden, on Thursday, as the search was suspended due to safety concerns

Coast guard boats patrol in front of the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building, ahead of a planned visit to the site by President Joe Biden, on Thursday, as the search was suspended due to safety concerns

A view of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building is seen on Wednesday

A view of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building is seen on Wednesday

A view of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building is seen on Wednesday

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at Miami International Airport on Thursday to visit the disaster scene

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at Miami International Airport on Thursday to visit the disaster scene

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at Miami International Airport on Thursday to visit the disaster scene

Goldstein and several other board members who quit later returned to the board, according to the Post. 

The Morabito report focused attention on the pool deck, which was found to have waterproofing underneath that had failed and had been laid flat instead of sloping to drain off water. This threatened not only the concrete slab under the pool but also other concrete structural areas.

The inspection was an early part of a process mandated by Miami-Dade County that all buildings undergo recertification – which would include any necessary repairs – once they reach 40 years of age. Champlain Towers South was completed in 1981.

Just a month after the Morabito report, a Surfside building official assured board members that the building was ‘in very good shape,’ according to minutes from that meeting.

The cause of the collapse remains under investigation, and it is not yet certain whether the issued identified in the Morabito report played a role in the disaster.

Eighteen people are confirmed dead in the building collapse, and at least 145 remain missing. 

Condo board president’s full resignation letter 

September 14, 2019

Dear Board Members and Fellow Residents,

It is with deep sadness and regret that I must announce my resignation from the board of directors of Champlain South. While I believe that we started with a shared set of goal.. to benefit the building…putting competent and professional management into place, working on badly needed repairs and complying with our 40 year inspection, beginning to work on the corridor renovation for which we already have a lovely design an a substantial amount of money in place. As I have said many times before, this renovation, even if reduced in scope as we anticipate being necessary, would have undoubtedly increased the values of units in our building. The last item was proposed by our previous president who worked hard on it but was undermined repeatedly and typically nothing got done.

I am very sad to say that this seems to be a pattern in our building. We work hard on a project, eg. moving from self management, exploring it for months, doing our due diligence and suddenly the mood is changed, egos assert themselves and we suddenly get nothing or little done because the board members are plugging management roles without being able to do the job the board is supposed to do, which is to make important decisions. We work for months to go in one directions and at the very last minute objections are raised that should have been discussed and resolved right in the beginning.  

This pattern has repeated itself over and over, ego battles, undermining the roles of fellow board members, circulation of gossip and mistruths. 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 out to accomplish. I have thought about all of this for quite some time and discussed the stress of managing the interpersonal relationships that have hindered us with my family who have insisted that the time as come for me to resign. I have also spoken with the other preview board members whose families are worried about the emotional impact of membership on the Champlain Board. This is not productive for the building and again impedes the ability to accomplish our goals.

When I ran for the board last year I stated that I wanted to take on this position for the sole purpose of getting things done. I am no longer confident that that is possible for me in this environment and I therefore submit my resignation effective immediately.

Thank you to those who put in so many hours of work to try to achieve our goals.

Regretfully,

Anette Goldstein 

Source: Washington Post 

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Search and Rescue teams look for possible survivors in the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South condo on Tuesday

Search and Rescue teams look for possible survivors in the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South condo on Tuesday

Search and Rescue teams look for possible survivors in the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South condo on Tuesday

The collapse began at 1.30am and was over in less than ten seconds. It started in the center front portion, next to the pool, in the basement or the parking garage where an engineer had identified spalled concrete columns. Next, the hind portion of that middle section fell, before the east section collapsed

The collapse began at 1.30am and was over in less than ten seconds. It started in the center front portion, next to the pool, in the basement or the parking garage where an engineer had identified spalled concrete columns. Next, the hind portion of that middle section fell, before the east section collapsed

The collapse began at 1.30am and was over in less than ten seconds. It started in the center front portion, next to the pool, in the basement or the parking garage where an engineer had identified spalled concrete columns. Next, the hind portion of that middle section fell, before the east section collapsed 

The condo board’s infighting in 2019 came amid tensions over the cost of the radical repairs.

In April of this year, the condo board – which had been deliberating the repairs for two years, tried to come up with the money for them and organizing a committee to oversee them –  sent a letter to residents telling them the damage was ‘significantly worse’ and ‘accelerating’.  

CONDO BOARD SAYS ‘PERFECT STORM’ LED TO REPAIR DELAYS

Nancy Kress Levin is still missing. She is one of the seven volunteers who serves on the condo association board. Nancy's 50-year-old son Frank Kleiman is among the dead. He lived in the building with his wife, Ana, and Ana's 26-year-old disabled son, both of whom are also dead. Her other son Jay was visiting for a funeral. He is missing

Nancy Kress Levin is still missing. She is one of the seven volunteers who serves on the condo association board. Nancy's 50-year-old son Frank Kleiman is among the dead. He lived in the building with his wife, Ana, and Ana's 26-year-old disabled son, both of whom are also dead. Her other son Jay was visiting for a funeral. He is missing

Nancy Kress Levin is still missing. She is one of the seven volunteers who serves on the condo association board. Nancy’s 50-year-old son Frank Kleiman is among the dead. He lived in the building with his wife, Ana, and Ana’s 26-year-old disabled son, both of whom are also dead. Her other son Jay was visiting for a funeral. He is missing

The condo board at Champlain Towers South that was tasked with organizing repairs was made up of just seven volunteer residents, one of whom is a Cuban immigrant grandmother who remains missing. 

The board were all volunteers who agreed to serve before the building collapsed on Thursday at 1.30am. It’s unclear if they got any form of payment for it. 

They were in charge of recertifying the building, handling maintenance, and all other repairs. In 2018, they hired the engineer who produced a report detailing the repairs and they were in the process of trying to get loans to pay for the work and hire teams to actually do it when the building collapsed. 

Nancy Kress Levin was one of the board members. She is among the people who remain missing in the rubble. 

The other six made it out alive and are in a house together. Their lawyer Donna DiMaggio Berger told DailyMail.com they are ‘just as devastated’ as anyone else. 

‘They are devastated. The tears have not stopped. There’s shock, disbelief, grief. This was a close knit community,’ Berger said. 

She also revealed that they hadn’t secured a condo board hadn’t yet secured a team to do the concrete repairs on the building that were required because there was a shortage in the number of available contractors thanks to other Miami buildings racing to update their sprinkler systems, a lawyer said. 

Donna DiMaggio Berger, a lawyer for the board, told DailyMail.com that they were also racing against hurricane season which would hinder any work.

‘I know there were concrete repairs that needed to take place which is very typical for a coastal property. The concrete work was out to bid. In Florida, boards are required to get competitive bids.

‘That was still outstanding and those are still coming in they don’t have a sufficient number of bids yet on that work… one of the other problems we have here is one we’re in hurricane season, we have to get competitive bids, we now have a bunch of older high rises that are racing to comply with the deadline to install engineered life safety systems.

‘They’re looking for engineers right now to install sprinklers, the deadline is the end of 2023. We really do have a perfect storm going on right now,’ she said. 

She also suggested it wasn’t fair to blame the condo board – a volunteer group of seven residents – for the collapse. 

‘There’s entirely too much murkiness here. It’s easy to take hands off approach but I don’t think putting those kind of burdens on the shoulder of volunteer board members – people who are just living in the building like everybody else – who have stepped up and said OK I’ll serve on the board…’ she tailed off.  

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‘Please note that the original scope of work in the 2018 report has expanded. The concrete deterioration is accelerating. The roof situation got much worse, so extensive roof repairs had to be incorporated. When you can visually see the concrete spalling (cracking), that means that the rebar holding it together is rusting and deteriorating beneath the surface. 

‘The concrete deterioration is accelerating. The roof situation got much worse, so extensive roof repairs had to be incorporated.  Indeed the observable damage such as in the garage has gotten significantly worse since the initial inspection,’ board president Jean Wodnicki said. 

In that letter, she said they were still trying to finalize a loan from Valley bank to pay for the repairs (they tried to get a loan first from Banco Popular but the deal fell through) and that the total cost was more than $16million and the board had just $707,000 in cash reserves, leaving them with a bill for around $15million. 

In the time between the first recommendation for repairs in 2018 and 2020, the cost of them jumped by around $3million because the damage had worsened. 

The owners of the building’s 136 units would be responsible for repaying it and each was on the hook for a different amount depending on how big their unit was. 

They were given until July 1 to decide if they were going to pay for it all up front or in monthly installments over 15 years.  

A one-bedroom apartment owner, for example, was given a bill for $80,000 but someone in a four-bedroom penthouse was asked to fork out $336,000, residents told CNN. 

Some of the owners were elderly couples who’d bought their property to retire. They said the bill came as a surprise. 

‘A lot of this work could have been done or planned for in years gone by but this is where we are now,’ Wodnicki wrote in her letter. ‘There are many moving parts to this project.’ 

‘We have covered so much ground already to get the project rolling, it’s not surprising everyone is still asking about those items. Everything reviewed in this letter has been publicly presented, discussed, and voted on as necessary,’ Wodnicki said.

‘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,’ she said. 

The condo board has been mostly quiet since the collapse. It is now facing three separate lawsuits from survivors who say they should have known the building was about to collapse. 

One of the board members –  Nancy Kress Levin – is missing. Her son Frank Kleiman, 50, also lived in the building and died along with his wife Ana and his stepson, Luiz, who was disabled. Nancy’s other adult son Jay was visiting for a funeral and he is missing. 

A lawyer for the board, Donna DiMaggio Berger, told DailyMail.com it’s not fair to lay the blame for the collapse with the seven volunteers who served on it, and said they have lost just as much as anyone else involved. 

‘There’s too much murkiness here. It’s easy to take a hands off approach but I don’t think putting those kind of burdens on volunteer board members who are just living in the building like everybody else…’ she said on Friday.   

She added that a ‘perfect storm’ led to the delays. ‘I know there were concrete repairs that needed to take place which is very typical for a coastal property. 

‘The concrete work was out to bid. In Florida, boards are required to get competitive bids.

‘That was still outstanding and those are still coming in they don’t have a sufficient number of bids yet on that work… one of the other problems we have here is one we’re in hurricane season, we have to get competitive bids, we now have a bunch of older high rises that are racing to comply with the deadline to install engineered life safety systems.

‘They’re looking for engineers right now to install sprinklers, the deadline is the end of 2023. 

‘We really do have a perfect storm going on right now,’ she said.

This is a breakdown of the repairs that were needed to Champlain Towers South and how much they were going to cost residents. The  most expensive item was a $4million facade, balcony and railing repair. Residents questioned much of the breakdown

This is a breakdown of the repairs that were needed to Champlain Towers South and how much they were going to cost residents. The  most expensive item was a $4million facade, balcony and railing repair. Residents questioned much of the breakdown

This is a breakdown of the repairs that were needed to Champlain Towers South and how much they were going to cost residents. The  most expensive item was a $4million facade, balcony and railing repair. Residents questioned much of the breakdown 

The condo board only had $707,003 in cash from homeowners fees to pay for the repairs so it left a huge sum - $15.5million - that suddenly had to be covered. The board was in the process of securing a loan from the bank Valley to pay for it, and they were asking residents to repay them either in lump sums or over 15 years, in monthly payments, to pay it back. The first loan they'd tried to secure from Banco Popular fell through but they were trying to finalize it for months, the letter reveals

The condo board only had $707,003 in cash from homeowners fees to pay for the repairs so it left a huge sum - $15.5million - that suddenly had to be covered. The board was in the process of securing a loan from the bank Valley to pay for it, and they were asking residents to repay them either in lump sums or over 15 years, in monthly payments, to pay it back. The first loan they'd tried to secure from Banco Popular fell through but they were trying to finalize it for months, the letter reveals

The condo board only had $707,003 in cash from homeowners fees to pay for the repairs so it left a huge sum – $15.5million – that suddenly had to be covered. The board was in the process of securing a loan from the bank Valley to pay for it, and they were asking residents to repay them either in lump sums or over 15 years, in monthly payments, to pay it back. The first loan they’d tried to secure from Banco Popular fell through but they were trying to finalize it for months, the letter reveals 

The parking garage, some of which lay beneath the pool area, had 'abundant cracking and spalling', the report found (see pictures contained in the report above)

The parking garage, some of which lay beneath the pool area, had 'abundant cracking and spalling', the report found (see pictures contained in the report above)

The parking garage, some of which lay beneath the pool area, had ‘abundant cracking and spalling’, the report found (see pictures contained in the report above)

Frank Morabito, the engineer who was hired by the condo board in 2018, released a statement on Monday to insist he did warn the condo board of cracks in the building but that nothing was done

Frank Morabito, the engineer who was hired by the condo board in 2018, released a statement on Monday to insist he did warn the condo board of cracks in the building but that nothing was done

Frank Morabito, the engineer who was hired by the condo board in 2018, released a statement on Monday to insist he did warn the condo board of cracks in the building but that nothing was done

COST AND TIMELINE OF CHAMPLAIN TOWERS REPAIRS 

2018 cost: $12million 

That is the initial cost given by Frank Morabito, who was hired to conduct a review for the building’s recertification process. 

Morabito was rehired in 2019 and he conducted a more extensive review. 

A committee was then formed to decide who was going to do the work 

2021 cost: $16million 

This was how much the work had increased by because the damage had become worse. 

This figure also reflects the engineer’s fee for doing it. 

Cash on hand: $707,000 

Cash needed: $15.5million 

What each owner owed: 

$80,000-$336,000 depending on apartment size 

Owners were given until July 1 to decide how to pay. The work bids were due to end on June 1 but bids were still being taken for the concrete project 

How to pay

Lump sum or in monthly installments of $500 or more for 15 years 

Units in building: 136

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Morabito, the engineer hired to review the building in 2018 and again in 2019, on Monday released a statement saying he recommended the changes three years ago to the condo association. 

The cost of the repairs he suggested was $12million, which would have had to have been paid for with money raised through condo fees. 

‘Morabito Consultants was retained in 2018 by the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association to prepare the 40-year-old recertification of the condo building. 

‘We completed our inspection and provided our report to the condo association on October 8, 2018, detailing our findings and recommendations.

‘We provided the condo association with an estimate of the probable costs to make the extensive and necessary repairs. 

‘Among other things, our report detailed significant cracks and breaks in the concrete, which required repairs to ensure safety of the residents and public. 

President Joe Biden will visit the scene of the collapse on Thursday to offer comfort to the families of the dead and missing. He is to survey the devastation and meet with first responders hunting for survivors.

Before he arrived at the site, work was halted due to concerns about the stability of the section still standing.

Hundreds of first responders and search-and-rescue personnel have been painstakingly searching the pancaked rubble for potential signs of life. No one has been rescued since the first hours after the collapse.

While in Surfside, Biden will receive a briefing on the situation with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and meet with first responders. 

He was expected to meet for several hours with family members of those affected by the collapse before delivering remarks Thursday afternoon ahead of his return to Washington.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden aimed to ‘offer up comfort and show unity’ with his visit to the site.

Biden has received regular updates on the building collapse, and spoke with DeSantis over the phone to offer any necessary federal assistance for the search and rescue mission. 

He also sent FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell to the area for a tour of the site earlier this week with DeSantis.

The contractor photographed the pool deck which looked normal above ground but according to a 2018 report, was causing water to form on the lower level because it was leaking

The contractor photographed the pool deck which looked normal above ground but according to a 2018 report, was causing water to form on the lower level because it was leaking

The contractor photographed the pool deck which looked normal above ground but according to a 2018 report, was causing water to form on the lower level because it was leaking

Photos taken on Tuesday in the pool equipment room at Champlain Towers South, which is located in the basement parking garage, show extensive concrete spalling and corroded rebar. A contractor took these photos and noticed that in the actual parking garage, there were puddles of water which were in the direct spot beneath the leaking pool deck

Photos taken on Tuesday in the pool equipment room at Champlain Towers South, which is located in the basement parking garage, show extensive concrete spalling and corroded rebar. A contractor took these photos and noticed that in the actual parking garage, there were puddles of water which were in the direct spot beneath the leaking pool deck

Photos taken on Tuesday in the pool equipment room at Champlain Towers South, which is located in the basement parking garage, show extensive concrete spalling and corroded rebar. A contractor took these photos and noticed that in the actual parking garage, there were puddles of water which were in the direct spot beneath the leaking pool deck

Photos taken on Tuesday in the pool equipment room at Champlain Towers South, which is located in the basement parking garage, show extensive concrete spalling and corroded rebar. A contractor took these photos and noticed that in the actual parking garage, there were puddles of water which were in the direct spot beneath the leaking pool deck

Photos taken last Tuesday in the pool equipment room at Champlain Towers South, which is located in the basement parking garage, show extensive concrete spalling and corroded rebar. A contractor took these photos and noticed that in the actual parking garage, there were puddles of water which were in the direct spot beneath the leaking pool deck

A contractor photographed corroding rebar and cracked concrete in the parking garage of the Champlain Towers South complex last Tuesday, just 36 hours before the building collapsed, and two months after the building’s residents were told the damage was ‘accelerating’. 

The contractor, who has not been named, had been asked to survey the damage in the pool equipment room, which was in the southside of the underground parking garage, beneath the pool deck.  He was putting together a bid to redo the pool and the pool equipment room but was struck by the damage, which he photographed. 

He told The Miami Herald afterwards: ‘There was standing water all over the parking garage…I thought to myself, that’s not normal.’ 

The damage had been identified in a 2018 report by engineer Frank Morabito. He found that there was a ‘major error’ in the building’s construction which meant the pool was leaking onto the concrete slabs below. 

THE MIAMI CONDO COLLAPSE VICTIMS IDENTIFIED SO FAR

54-year-old Stacie Fang

54-year-old Stacie Fang

54-year-old Stacie Fang

STACIE DAWN FANG

Stacie Dawn Fang, 54, was with her son Jonah Handler, a teenager, when the building collapsed. They lived on the tenth floor. The boy’s small hand waved through the wreckage as a man out walking his dog hurried to the site, climbed through a pile of glass and rebar and promised to get help right away.

Rescuers helped the boy out from under a pile of cement and carried him away on a stretcher to a hospital.

‘There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Stacie,’ members of her family said in a statement. ‘Many heartfelt words of encouragement and love have served as a much needed source of strength during this devastating time.’

Asked about the boy’s condition, a family friend, Lisa Mozloom told the AP ‘He will be fine. He’s a miracle.’

MANUEL LAFONT

Manuel LaFont, 54

Manuel LaFont, 54

Manuel LaFont, 54

Manuel LaFont, 54, was a proud father, a baseball fan and a business consultant who lived on the building’s eighth floor. 

He had a 10-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter with his ex-wife Adriana LaFont, the Miami Herald reported.

Adriana asked her friends on Facebook to pray the rosary for Manny before his body was found. ‘So many memories inside the walls that are no more today, forever engraved experiences in the heart,’ she wrote.

LaFont, a Houston native, coached his son’s baseball team, the Astros, at North Shore Park, just a mile away from the Champlain. He was a parishioner at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Miami Beach. The parish’s school parents gathered Saturday afternoon to pray for LaFont and his neighbors who were still missing.

An alumnus of Sharpstown High School in Houston, LaFont had worked across Latin America and the Caribbean for a manufacturing firm, leading a division focusing on roadway safety that built crash cushions and moveable barriers, the Herald reported.

‘I got into this industry specifically because I don’t want to sell widgets. I want to help people. I want to do something good in this world,’ he said at an industry conference in 2016. ‘When I die, I want to say that my life meant something.’

ANTONIO AND GLADYS LOZANO

Antonio and Gladys Lozano

Antonio and Gladys Lozano

Antonio and Gladys Lozano

Antonio and Gladys Lozano lived on the ninth floor. The two had known each other over 60 years and would have celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary on July 21.

Their sons told WPLG-TV that the couple had joked neither wanted to die before the other, because neither wanted to live without the other. Their one solace, the brothers said, was that they were together when they died.

Authorities confirmed on Saturday that Antonio, 83, and Gladys, 79, were among the dead.

Sergio Lozano said he had dinner with his parents hours before the collapse. He lived in one of the towers of the complex and could see his parents’ apartment across the way from his. That night, he said the heard a loud noise they thought could be a storm.

‘The building is not there,’ he said he told his wife. ‘My parents’ apartment is not there. It’s gone.’

ANA ORTIZ, HER HUSBAND FRANK AND HER SON LUIZ 

Ana Ortiz, left, and her son Luis Bermudez

Ana Ortiz, left, and her son Luis Bermudez

Ana Ortiz, left, and her son Luis Bermudez and Leon Oliwkowicz and his wife Christina (right) 

Luis Bermudez, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, had battled with muscular dystrophy for years and used a wheelchair. The 26-year-old man lived with his mother Ana Ortiz on the seventh floor of the Champlain Towers South.  

His father, also named Luis Bermudez, texted the AP saying ‘my son is a hero.’ He also wrote on Facebook that he could not believe he’s gone.

‘Now rest in peace and without any obstacles in heaven,’ he wrote. ‘I will see you soon my Luiyo.’

Ortiz, 46, had just gotten married with Frankie Kleiman. Alex Garcia, the couple’s close friend, told The Miami Herald he had set them up on a blind date. Kleiman lived with his wife and stepson on the same floor as his brother Jay Kleiman, who was in town for a funeral, and their mother Nancy Kress Levin. The Kleimans and their mother are still missing.

50-year-old Frank Kleiman, left, was found on Monday. He was Ana's husband

50-year-old Frank Kleiman, left, was found on Monday. He was Ana's husband

50-year-old Frank Kleiman, left, was found on Monday. He was Ana’s husband

Ortiz was described as a woman who was committed to giving her son the best possible life.

‘She´s a rock star. And gorgeous,” Garcia told the Herald. “And on top of that a super mom.

FRANK KLEIMAN 

Kleiman, 50, was the husband of Ana Ortiz, whose body was found alongside that of her disabled son, Luiz, over the weekend. 

LEON AND CHRISTINA OLIWKOWICZ

Leon Oliwkowicz and his wife Christina were also identified as victims of the tower collapse on Sunday evening

Leon Oliwkowicz and his wife Christina were also identified as victims of the tower collapse on Sunday evening

Leon Oliwkowicz and his wife Christina were also identified as victims of the tower collapse on Sunday evening 

The couple lived on the 8th floor of the condo tower for several years, according to Venezuelan journalist Shirley Varnagy, a close friend of their family.

They were among six Venezuelan natives caught in the building’s collapse. Still missing Monday were Moisés Rodán, 28; Andrés Levine, 27; Luis Sadovnik, 28, and his wife, Nicole Langesfeld, Varnagy said.

Varnagy said the Oliwkowicz’s daughter had been outside the building waiting for some information about their fate. Her husband answered their phone and asked to be left alone.

The couple’s daughter, Mrs. Leah Fouhal, works as a secretary at a Jewish school in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, where the couple donated a Torah in 2019 in a procession that included a vintage fire truck, music and a giant velvet and gold crown, according to COLlive.com, an Orthodox Jewish news outlet that covers Chabad-Lubavitch communities around the world.

Meanwhile, the parents of Rodán, Levine and Sadovnik live in Venezuela and traveled to the U.S. Friday. ‘Some did not have a visa, others had an expired passport, but with diplomatic collaboration they were able to arrive,’ Varnagy said.  

MARCOS JOSEPH GUARA & MICHAEL DAVID ALTMAN

The body of 52-year-old Marcus Joseph Guara was recovered on Saturday

The body of 52-year-old Marcus Joseph Guara was recovered on Saturday

Michael David Altman, 50,

Michael David Altman, 50,

The body of 52-year-old Marcus Joseph Guara was recovered on Saturday

Hilda Noriega  

Hilda Noriega (pictured) was named by her family Wednesday as the 12th confirmed victim of the tragedy

Hilda Noriega (pictured) was named by her family Wednesday as the 12th confirmed victim of the tragedy

Hilda Noriega (pictured) was named by her family Wednesday as the 12th confirmed victim of the tragedy 

Hilda Noriega, who lived in Apt. 602 in the 12-story tower, was the mother of North Bay Village Police Chief Carlos Noriega. 

She had only recently celebrated her 92nd birthday. 

Her body was discovered among the remains of the condo tower Tuesday.

Her family paid tribute to the ‘matriarch of the family’ in a statement Wednesday.  

Noriega’s son had traveled to the collapse site Thursday to look for his mother, who had only recently celebrated her 92nd birthday.

Among the rubble, the police chief found a birthday card a relative had given to Noriega at a brunch, reported Local10.    

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