Washington-based crisis communications firm Levick has been hired by the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association, the homeowners association that manages the Champlain Towers South condominium building in Surfside, Florida.

The 12-story, 136-unit luxury condominium building, which was built in 1981 and is located just north of Miami Beach, partially collapsed at approx. 1:30 a.m. on June 24. The official death toll in the collapse has currently reached 16, with another 147 still unaccounted for.

A massive search-and-rescue effort to find survivors is currently underway, which includes hundreds of Urban Search & Rescue team members and five state task forces, as well as teams from Mexico and a task force of Israeli reserve officers.

surfsidePhoto: miamiresidence.com

An official cause for the disaster has not been determined. However, The New York Times on June 29 reported on an April letter written by the president of the association’s board of directors to the condo complex's residents detailing concerns about the building’s conditions, which had “gotten significantly worse” since a 2018 inspection, as well as warnings that the current damage could “multiply exponentially” in the coming years.

The engineer who carried out that 2018 inspection reported “abundant cracking” in the building’s underground parking garage at the time, as well as failing waterproofing below the building’s pool deck, which was “causing major structural damage.”

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Department of Commerce agency that investigated the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings in 2001, is now slated to investigate the site in an effort to determine a cause.

At least three lawsuits have been filed since the collapse, including one that alleges that the association should have been aware of the building’s structural issues and failed to address them.

Levick director Maxwell Marcucci serves as spokesperson for the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association. Marcucci told media outlets that the condo board “retained experts and trusted experts— and at no time were they told of imminent threat of danger or collapse,” and that “If there was an issue, there were proper channels that could have been filed to take steps to rectify—up to and including evacuation.”

Marcucci confirmed with O’Dwyer’s that Levick was retained by the condo association and is representing it, and additionally said that the agency is currently “in the midst of fielding hundreds of inquiries.”