Who is Ross Prieto?
Ross Prieto is the former Surfside inspector who previously served as a building official for the town of Surfside, Florida. The town received a report highlighting “major structural damage” at Champlain Towers South community in October 2018, according to government records.
Prieto downplayed the seriousness of the report, according to NPR.
The outlet reports Prieto told members of the condo association just weeks later that the building was “in very good shape” and safe.
Prieto is no longer a Surfside employee, NPR reported. According to the Miami Herald, he left the position in 2020.
Ross Prieto, inspector who reportedly said in 2018 Surfside condo was safe after warning from engineer, was also inspector of structure that collapsed & killed two in 1997: He reported visiting site several times before collapse and everything seemed fine. https://t.co/QYHd5RVrSZ pic.twitter.com/NIipxcP1qe
— Dr. Jeffrey Guterman (@JeffreyGuterman) June 28, 2021
How old is Ross Prieto?
Ross Prieto is believed to be in his 40s.
Rosendo “Ross” Prieto
The Champlain Towers South Condominium Association hired Morabito Consultants in 2018 to analyze the condo for repairs.
Morabito’s task was to “understand and document the extent of structural issues that require repair and/or remediation near future,” according to the report that was made public by the city of Surfside. Morabito Consultants sent the report to the treasurer of the condo association on October 8, 2018.
The report listed several serious structural issues that needed to be repaired without delay. It also described flooding, water infiltration in several areas and cracks in the concrete. The firm cautioned that if the problems were ignored, the “concrete deterioration” would “expand exponentially.”
Morabito added that the repairs needed would be “extremely expensive.” The AP reports the estimated cost for repairs was $9 million.
Ross Prieto Surfside
Prieto met with the Champlain Tower South Condominium Association on November 15, 2018, according to NPR.
The outlet obtained the minutes from the meeting and reported that Prieto expressed optimism about the condition of the towering condo. The minutes of the meeting reportedly include that Prieto had reviewed the “structural engineer report” and that it “appears the building is in very good shape.”
The town of Surfside released an email Prieto sent the next day. In the message, he didn’t directly mention the structural report. He wrote the meeting at Champlain Tower South had gone “very well” and that the “response was very positive from everyone in the room.”
Surfside’s chief building official Ross Prieto reviewed the 2018 engineer’s report that flagged “major structural damage” to Champlain Tower South and assured residents the building was “in very good shape” — two and a half years before it collapsed https://t.co/IE5c3FtixF
— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) June 28, 2021
Prieto received the structural report a few weeks after it was submitted.
An email released by the town of Surfside shows he was sent the report on November 13, 2018. It’s unclear when, or if, he read it.
Prieto told the Miami Herald he doesn’t remember receiving the report or the email.
Morabito Consultants put out a statement following the deadly collapse. In the news release, the firm stressed that at the time of the disaster, “roof repairs were underway” at the building. But no work had been done to fix the concrete problems.
Morabito Consultants was not involved in restoration.
Ross Prieto Miami Fl
Prieto has been working in the construction industry for several decades. According to public records on the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website, Prieto has been a licensed general contractor since at least 1991.
He received a license as a certified roofing contractor in 1996.
Prieto has also been certified as an inspector since the mid-1990s. He received both “Standard Inspector” and “Standard Roofing Inspector” licenses in 1997.
His current “Building Code Administrator” license has been active since November 2006.
Where is Ross Prieto?
Prieto was most recently working for the city of Doral, Florida, which is within Miami-Dade County.
He was serving as an interim building official, CNN reported.
A county document listing “Building Officials” included Prieto’s name for the city of Doral. The list was last updated on May 13, 2021.
A search of the city of Doral’s website also brings up Prieto’s name as the “Interim Building Official.”