Angry Condo Residents Rally At Courthouse

Residents Displaced In April After Evacuation Notice

Castle Beach Condominium Association -- Miami Beach

Article Courtesy of Local
Posted October 6, 2005


Tempers flared Wednesday morning when a group of angry condo residents showed up at a courthouse wanting to make their case.

Residents of the Castle Beach Condominium on Miami Beach want the court-appointed receiver removed. A receiver is a person appointed to take charge of assets, usually the subject of a legal dispute. They were told Wednesday that the case is postponed until Thursday.


The residents were forced to evacuate April 14 after building officials declared it structurally unsafe. They have filed a class action lawsuit against three members of the condo board.

The suit alleges that the three members of the board -- Leopoldo Gonzalez, Emilio Berkowitz and Horacio Mecozzia -- knew of the building's mounting problems and ignored them.

The three board members own 150 of the 540 units at Castle Beach Condominiums, 5445 Collins Ave.

According to the suit, the three "knew about numerous code violations and failed to remedy them despite demand from the city of Miami Beach.''

The suit also says that the condominium has forced hundreds of residents to ''remain liable for maintenance, assessments, taxes and mortgage obligations'' on units they are not allowed to visit without first making an appointment.

Michael Gongora, the attorney representing the three board members, said his clients ``deny many of the allegations contained in the complaint.''

He also questioned the need for a class action suit since many of the same allegations have already been raised in a separate lawsuit filed by another unit owner.

Building officials ordered the evacuation after finding electrical wiring defects they say made the structure unsafe. The short notice prompted an outcry from resident but city officials said the building had had a growing list of violations over the past two years.

In April, residents said they were told by building inspectors said it could take 7 to 10 days to get temporary fixes in place that would allow them to move back in. 


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Castle Beach residents file lawsuit against condo board

County Tells Condo Residents To Get Out