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Delray Beach's assistant city manager worked for Surfside at time of critical engineering report

Engineering report found 'major structural damage,' to Champlain Towers 3 years before collapse
Duncan Tavares, Delray Beach assistant city manager
Posted at 4:15 PM, Jun 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-28 17:24:52-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Could a red flag report have prevented the tragic collapse of the Surfide condo?

A 2018 engineering report on the Champlain Towers South building revealed "major structural damage" to the condo three years before the collapse.

MORE: How to help those impacted by Surfside condo collapse

The man who oversaw Surfside's building and permitting department at the time is now the assistant city manager of Delray Beach.

The engineering report warned Champlain Towers South homeowners that the damage required "repairs to ensure the safety of residents and the public."

Major structural damage report in 2018 on Surfside condo
A 2018 report cited that the Champlain Towers South building had "major structural damage."

Minutes from a homeowners association meeting a month later show that Surfside's building inspector told tower residents that the condo "was in very good shape."

Resident Susan Alvarez recently spoke to National Public Radio about the meeting.

"We sat there with the town of Surfside, and the town of Surfside said to us that the building was not in bad shape," Alvarez told NPR.

The town of Surfside's assistant town manager at the time was Duncan Tavares.

Aerial view of workers searching rubble at Champlain Towers South after condo collapse, June 26, 2021
Workers search in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South condo, June 26, 2021, in Surfside, Fla.

His job, according to the town's webpage, included overseeing planning and compliance, which includes the building inspector who reportedly said the building was in good shape.

Tavares left Surfside in March 2020 and was hired in February as assistant city manager of Delray Beach.

Contact 5 went to Delray Beach City Hall wanting an on-camera interview with Tavares. WPTV also left messages.

WPTV wanted to know if Tavares knew anything about that the 2018 engineering report showing potential dangers at Champlain Towers South.

A city spokesman texted Contact 5 that "the assistant city manager is not available for an interview."

Meanwhile, survivors in Surfside want answers.

"No one ever, ever, ever told us that this, that that building was in such bad shape. No one, no one," one survivor told NPR.

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