Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Rescue workers work in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla. on June 25, 2021 (AP) Rescue workers work in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla. on June 25, 2021 (AP)

Rescue workers work in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla. on June 25, 2021 (AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher June 25, 2021

No cause yet for condo collapse near Miami, no evidence Ivanka Trump targeted

If Your Time is short

  • With search-and-rescue efforts still under way, authorities say it will be some time before an investigation can be done in earnest to try to determine what caused the partial collapse of a condo building that’s about a block from where Ivanka Trump reportedly lives.

A conspiracy theory widely shared on Facebook claims that the partial collapse of an oceanside condominium building near Miami was actually an attack aimed at a "high-value target" — Ivanka Trump, daughter of former President Donald Trump.

The claim, posted on the same day as the June 24 collapse, stated:

"What’re the chances that the building ‘collapse’ is 5 buildings south of Ivanka?   50 ppl still missing.. yup more and more convinced they were targeting hvt, if not also destroying evidence and/or closing tunnel entrances.  USING THE TUNNELS UNDER THE HOTEL FOR SEARCH AND RESCUE.  ‘The building was in OK shape.’ The upscale condo near Miami Beach still collapsed Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside near Miami Beach was completed in 1981. A recent condo sold for $710,000 at the oceanside."

The post, which included photos of the collapse and a map indicating the proximity of Ivanka Trump’s residence to that building, was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The day after the collapse, with search-and-rescue efforts still under way, officials said they did not know the cause of the collapse and that it would be some time before an investigation can try to find the cause.

The Champlain Towers South, a 12-story condo building constructed in 1981 in Surfside, a town northeast of Miami, partially collapsed early on the morning of June 24.

At a media briefing the next afternoon, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said four people had died and 159 remained unaccounted for, but that the numbers were fluid. She said that although search-and-rescue efforts continue, structural engineers eventually would investigate what might have caused the collapse.

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also made it clear that it would take some time before an investigation of a possible cause can be fully undertaken. He said:

"We need a definitive explanation for how this could have happened, and that’s an explanation that needs to be an accurate explanation, it’s an explanation that we don’t want to get wrong, obviously, but at the same time I do think it’s important that it’s timely."

Engineering and architectural experts told the New York Times it could take a long time to determine the cause of the collapse, but that possibilities include corroded components, an undermined foundation, or defects in the construction or design.

Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University in Miami, said the building showed signs of land subsidence — a gradual settling or sudden sinking of the Earth’s surface — in the 1990s, according to space-based radar data he analyzed. But land subsidence alone likely would not cause a building’s collapse, he said.

Several engineering experts suggested a number of factors could have played a role, including saltwater corroding the concrete and potentially weakening beams that hold up the structure, the Miami Herald reported.

Scientists have long noted the risk of building on the shifting sands of a barrier island such as Miami Beach, especially with rising sea levels, NBC News reported. That may not be the reason for this collapse, but it remains an engineering challenge in the region, the network said.

According to news reports, the Miami home of Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, both of whom served as White House aides under Donald Trump, is a block away from the building that collapsed. The Wall Street Journal reported in January that the couple leased a condo at a building called Arte.

With the cause of the collapse undetermined, and no evidence that it was an intentional act aimed at the former president’s elder daughter, we rate the post False.

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Tom Kertscher

No cause yet for condo collapse near Miami, no evidence Ivanka Trump targeted

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up