A news story by NBC and NBC 6 released yesterday with the headline of Collapsed Florida tower could have been repaired faster under repealed law, experts say drew quick fire for “shameful reporting” from the Governor’s office and others.
The main criticism is the reporters failed to mention the Florida Governor who repealed the law was Charlie Crist who is now a Democrat U.S Representative challenging Governor Ron DeSantis in the 2022 gubernatorial election.
The story infers a 2008 state law, requiring condo associations to hire engineers or architects to submit reports, called “reserve studies,” might have prevented the cataclysmic collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside earlier this month had the law not been repealed in 2010 by the Republican led legislature and signed by the Republican Governor.
In the NBC story, Julio Robaina, a former Republican state legislator who sponsored the 2008 law requiring condo associations to hire engineers or architects to submit reports every five years about how much it would cost to keep up with repairs, says, “If the owners would have had a reserve study, if the board was proactive and had funded its reserves, this never would have happened.”
The reporters then said in the story, “The law lasted just two years before it was repealed in 2010, after Robaina left office. Robaina blamed pushback from real estate lawyers and property managers, who he said claimed that the law was too burdensome for condo owners. The legislator who sponsored the repeal, former state Rep. Gary Aubuchon, a Republican real estate broker and homebuilder, did not reply to messages seeking comment.”
However, the story never mentions that the Florida governor in 2010 was Crist.
Governor Ron DeSantis’ Press Secretary Christiana Pushaw cried foul. She tweeted, “It’s interesting how they don’t specify in the headline which Governor repealed this law. It was Charlie Crist, who is now a Democrat running against DeSantis.”
She continued, “PS: this is why people think the media is biased. If DeSantis had repealed the law, his name would be in the headline. Crist isn’t even mentioned in the entire article. Shameful “reporting.”
While Pushaw pulled no punches in labeling the media as biased, she refrained from “Sunday morning quarterbacking” Crist by laying blame for the collapse at his feet.
She later tweeted, “We don’t know if the specific regulation that @CharlieCrist repealed would have saved the lives of Champlain Towers residents. We don’t know what caused this tragedy at all. Investigations will yield answers. But @nbc6, (and NBC reporters) @PhilPrazan and @jonschuppe have their narrative.”
The Capitolist reached out to Robaina and Crist, as well as the two NBC reporters for comments, but no response has been received to date.