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Families of Surfside victims to confront town commissioners over proposed land swap

Martin Vassolo, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

In a separate post on NextDoor, Salzhauer said supporters of the land swap would appear “en masse” at Tuesday’s hearing “to point fingers at everyone BUT themselves and to push the false narrative that our community center should be sacrificed in this healing process.”

“Our residents must stand together loud and clear,” Salzhauer said. “We support our friends and neighbors tragically impacted by Champlain’s collapse and remain committed to see them succeed, but will NOT allow this tragedy to be exploited for profit and become the undoing or Surfside’s priceless community center and our residents’ quality of life.”

Wainberg called Salzhauer’s comments “disgusting” and said she was spreading lies and conspiracy theories to convince Surfside residents to oppose the land swap.

“She is still insisting that the idea came from developers and they are using us as a Trojan horse,” Wainberg wrote in a text message. “Truly disgusting coming from a city official to use (these) lies to try and convince the residents of her town to support the wrong cause without even taking the time to hear us out.”

Mauricio Kaufmann, the brother of Sofia Kaufmann, said he came up with the land-swap proposal without any developer’s help.

“I never talked to any developer,” he said. “I would like to see a memorial on the site where it happened.”


Martin Langesfeld, whose sister and brother-in-law died in the collapse, said Surfside leaders should respect and help honor the victims while compensating the families.

“We understand the community center is a memorable place, and that is the reason why we are asking to rebuild the community center however the city desires, along with a memorial to honor the 98 people who died in Surfside,” he said in a statement. “Approving this land swap will not only honor the lives of all those who died, but will also compensate the victims.”

Salzhauer, though, said giving up the space where generations of residents have gathered — the center was initially built in 1962 and rebuilt in 2011 — for a piece of land where a national tragedy happened isn’t a good deal.

“Who would make that deal?” she said. “There’s not a sane person who would make that deal.”


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