MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Residents of Crestview Towers in North Miami Beach will have to stay out of their homes for a longer period of time. Police have also launched an investigation into allegations against current and past boards.
The building was evacuated last Friday after building officials ordered an immediate closure of the structure.
Among the hundreds of residents who were ordered out were Jasmin Ramos and her family.
“It’s a very difficult situation,” she said.
Miguel Jimenez has called Crestview Towers home for the past seven years.
“I don’t live in my house. I don’t have the same life right now,” he said.
The evacuation came after the condo association board submitted a 40-year recertification report on Jan. 11.
On that date, an engineer retained by the board concluded that the building was structurally and electrically unsafe for people to live there.
During a recent interview, North Miami Beach City Manager Arthur Sorey addressed the nearly six-month gap between the date the report was submitted and the evacuation.
“This was just a lapse in communication between the engineer and the tower. We got the documentation on the Second of July. We closed the building on the Second of July,” he said.
Ramos said she and her family have been living out of suitcases for almost a week.
“Last Friday, I received a phone call from a friend, and she told me, ‘Listen, your building is going to be evacuated, and it’s on the news right now,’ and I said, ‘What? I didn’t know nothing,'” she said.
Ramos said she had just minutes to grab a few belongings, and for four days, Ramos, her husband, two daughters and two dogs would live in their two cars.
“Car service to eat, and just in the car, charging the phones, trying to watch Netflix with the girls and trying to make the hours more easy,” she said.
As for Jimenez, he said he will never live there again.
“No, for sure no. I don’t feel safe,” he said.
“Definitely we have to move,” said Ramos.
A day after the building was evacuated, the condo board had another inspection done that determined the building was safe to live in and that residents could move back in while repairs were made. However, on Thursday, the survey was rejected by the city due to the documents not being in compliance with the 40-year recertification process.
“The city rejected those reports because they did not comply with the recertification process,” said Sorey. “More importantly, they did not address the problems raised in the condo’s original 40-year recertification.”
North Miami Beach Police are now involved in the recertification process.
“I have been getting emails and complainants that are complaining that there is a possibility — not saying that we’ve proven anything yet — that there’s possible misappropriation of funds by this association and the associations in the past,” said North Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Rand. “If criminal charges are needed, I promise you they will be brought forward. We are going to get to the bottom of this and get residents answers that they deserve.”
The Miami-Dade Homeless Trust is helping people find places to stay for the long haul.
After some difficulty finding assistance, Ramos and her loved ones were eventually put up in a hotel room in Aventura.
On Friday, officials will allow one resident per unit to be escorted into the building from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They will only be allowed 15 minutes to gather valuables and medicine.
7News reached out to the attorney for the condo board and is waiting for her response.
The investigation continues.
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