SARASOTA, Fla. (JTA) – A judge in Florida approved a $1.2 billion settlement just hours before the one-year anniversary of the residential tower collapse in Surfside on June 24, which killed 98 people.
Condo owners will split the estimated $96 million in proceeds from the sale of the land where the Champlain Towers South stood. The victims’ families and residents who were injured from the building’s collapse will share an additional billion dollars in compensation.
While Miami Judge Michael Hanzman said this was the most complicated case he had seen in his 35-year career, he called the outcome “remarkable.” No victims or their families chose to opt out of the settlement, and Hanzman said the decision avoided the need for a trial that could have lasted a decade.
Family members of the 98 victims gathered Thursday night to mark the moment at 1:22 a.m. when the building began to collapse last year. First lady Jill Biden is scheduled to speak at a public memorial event on the site on Friday.
The town of Surfside, where nearly half of the 6,000 residents are Jewish, has for decades served as a meeting place for geographically-separated Jews. Miami has a large percentage of Hispanic Jews, many of whom come from families that came to the area after leaving Cuba, Colombia, Argentina and Venezuela.