MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Martin Langesfeld has a simple question for Florida legislators: “How many more need to die for political leaders to make a difference?”
When the Champlain Towers collapsed killing 98 people on June 24, Langesfeld lost his sister, Nicole, and her new husband, Luis. But the pain that he feels over their deaths is only made worse by the failure of the legislature to pass any reforms to make condos safer.READ MORE: Couples Set To Make 2022 A Record Year For Tying The Knot
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “And to families of victims, it’s truly just gut wrenching. For them to not do anything in the first legislative session, the most important one after such a horrific catastrophe, shows that money is more important in the lives here in Florida.”
A bill that would have provided sweeping reforms to improve inspections and ensure that critical repairs to a building are done in a timely manner died when State Representative Danny Perez and State Senator Jennifer Bradley couldn’t work out differences in their respective bills.
“Three and a half million people are in potential danger,” Langesfeld said.
That is the number of Floridians who live in condos in the state. Sixty percent of the buildings they live in were built more than 30 years ago.READ MORE: Pedestrian Fatalities In The US Reach Highest Level In 40 Years
Negotiations between the House and the Senate broke down over several issues, including whether buildings would have the ability to waive the collection of reserve funds – money that is supposed to be set aside to make critical repairs. Perez didn’t want to allow any waivers while the Senate didn’t eliminate the ability to waive reserve funds, but it did make it much harder and provided greater oversight.
“I’m very grateful that Representative Danny Perez did present this bill and did everything he could in his power to try to make a change,” Langesfeld said. “And I stand with him. There’s no negotiation on life. The few thousand dollars it may cost to keep your building safe – you’re going to end up spending on funeral expenses when another building collapses.”
While the House and the Senate tried to work out their differences during the session, Governor DeSantis stayed silent.MORE NEWS: College Grads Having No Problem Finding Work
“He did absolutely nothing,” Langesfeld said of the Governor. “Once the cameras left, maybe three weeks after the collapse, he left. We’ve requested to meet with him countless times. Many families have requested to meet with him, and he acts like we do not exist. Change needs to be made. He can make the change. And he doesn’t want to listen.”