Missing mom Ana Walshe downplayed DC Legionnaires’ outbreak

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Missing mom Ana Walshe downplayed DC Legionnaires' outbreak

WASHINGTON — Missing Massachusetts mom Ana Walshe was recorded weeks before her apparent murder telling tenants of the luxury DC apartment building she managed that putting up fliers warning of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak was “unnecessary” — and trying to keep residents from accompanying a local health inspector examining the premises.

The three recordings, obtained by The Post and dating from late October and early November, are believed to be the last audio of the 39-year-old Walshe — whose con-man husband Brian was charged Tuesday with murdering her.

While Ana Walshe’s disappearance doesn’t appear to be linked to her work as a regional manager for New York-based real estate firm Tishman Speyer, residents of the upscale Crossing building say she acted “shady” in the face of the outbreak as well as a bizarre case of infiltration by phony federal agents.

Walshe, who regularly visited DC and whose LinkedIn page says she began working at Tishman Speyer in February of last year, emerged as a key corporate leader at the complex south of the Capitol around the time of an April 6 FBI raid that nabbed the fake agents.

Three recordings, obtained by The Post and dating from late October and early November, are believed to be the last audio of the 39-year-old Ana Walshe.
Three recordings — obtained by The Post and dating from late October and early November — are believed to be the last audio of Ana Walshe.
anawalshe/Instagram

The following month, the building’s management received more bad news when a DC government official called and sent emails noting that a resident contracted Legionnaires’ disease after frequenting the building’s Wellness Suite — which boasts a heated indoor lap pool, cold plunge pool and hot tub seemingly fit for an elite hotel.

The hot tub’s water tested positive for the legionella bacteria in late October of last year — more than five months after the first illness was reported. Tishman Speyer only disclosed the test results to the DC government on Nov. 15, after a second user was hospitalized.

The Wellness Suite itself was closed on Oct. 20, with management citing “a report of an illness by one of our residents” in a cryptic mass email — an apparent reference to the second hospitalization. Four days later, the Crossing tenants association blasted out another mass email, saying it had learned “an individual was hospitalized due to a confirmed case of Legionnaires Disease” and “Doctors suspect [the] Crossing sauna and spa as the likely source of the infection’ and asked that Management ‘close the spa immediately for testing and cleaning and notify other users.’”

The Crossing DC Wellness Suite’s hot tub tested positive for legionella bacteria and was closed on Oct. 20.

Tenants organized among themselves to post Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fliers alerting neighbors to their exposure to the disease-causing bacteria. That led to a clash with Walshe, whose employees tore them down.


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“They have been thrown away, correct,” Walshe can be heard saying of the posters on Oct. 26.

“This was not something that we authorized,” Walshe tells the tenants. “The Department of Health as well, they make recommendations to provide the fact sheet to the residents. They do not demand it. So we are not going to post that all over the building because it’s just unnecessary.”

Residents posted CDC notices informing tenants of disease symptoms, but Walshe had them removed.
CDC

“Why is it unnecessary?” a tenant can be heard asking Walshe.

“It’s unnecessary. That’s the recommendation that’s made. It’s not a request, it’s not a mandatory thing,” she replies, speaking in a slight accent reflecting her Eastern European roots.

In a separate encounter on the same day, Walshe was recorded saying that the fliers would be “alarming” to residents.

“You can certainly post anything that has to do in regards to the tenant association meetings or any information that’s pertaining to that in the designated areas,” she says. “Any other signage, it would not be something that we could support because — especially because as of right now we’re still, it’s a claim, we don’t really know what it is. So really alarming the community might not be something that we would want.”

That same day, the building’s right to have aquatics facilities open to residents was suspended after a DC Health Department inspection. The official document was signed by Walshe and an inspector who wrote that algae were found inside a rooftop pool and that the building failed to promptly report a known illness and needed to share Legionnaires’ information with residents.

DC health inspectors yanked the Crossing building’s aquatics license after discovering issues including an algae-filled rooftop pool.

On Nov. 8, members of the tenants association crashed an inspection by a visiting DC health official. Despite the official saying she was fine with tenants observing the inspection, Walshe insisted on booting the residents, who said that they feared building management was trying to conceal information.

“We are not looking to hide anything,” Walshe says, before adding that “residents are not involved in interior-type of walkthroughs as such so this is firm on Tishman Speyer’s side.”

Walshe is heard on that tape saying “we won’t be able to conduct the rest of the meeting today” if the tenants were allowed to remain.

Documents pertaining to a Legionnaire’s outbreak in the building at Walshe allegedly helped to cover up.
The official document was signed by Walshe and an inspector who wrote that algae were found inside a rooftop pool.

The paper trail gives no reason to believe that either Tishman Speyer or Walshe only learned of the contagion in late October.

Julia Rowse, a DC government epidemiologist, wrote in a May 13 email to building staff that a resident “tested positive for Legionella … and during their exposure period they frequently visited the Wellness Center at Crossing (hot tub, pool, and sauna) where they could have been exposed to Legionella.”

Rowse urged the building to conduct “a deep cleaning of the Wellness Center,” notify residents of their possible exposure, and routinely sample water for testing.

A follow-up May 31 email from Rowse to building management stressed that “1 out of 10 people with Legionnaires Disease will die” and urged action.

Legionnaires’ is a rare and potentially deadly disease caused by the legionella bacteria, which thrives in water between 77°F-113°F, according to the CDC. It is spread by poorly maintained hot tubs, fountains, and rooftop cooling towers and can cause life-threatening pneumonia. The same bacteria causes a less-severe flu-like illness called Pontiac fever.

Ultimately, the DC Department of Health determined there were “2 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease, 6 probable cases of Legionnaires’ disease, and 30 probable cases of Pontiac fever associated with Crossing.” It’s possible other cases went unreported.

There are only about 5,000 Americans diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease each year and there are about 20 US outbreaks per year, defined as two or more people becoming infected, according to the CDC.

Tenants told The Post that they regret Walshe’s apparent murder, but that they feel they deserve answers about the contamination.

“Crossing DC Management was well aware of the deadly illness at the property since May 2022. They were informed by DC Health of the public health concern after a resident was hospitalized and nearly died of Legionnaires Disease,” a member of the Crossing tenants association, who asked not to be named, told The Post.

Emails/docs pertain to a Legionnaires' outbreak in the building that Ana Walshe allegedly helped cover up.
Documents pertaining to a Legionnaire’s outbreak in the building at Walshe allegedly helped to cover up.
Emails/docs pertain to a Legionnaires' outbreak in the building that Ana Walshe allegedly helped cover up.
There are only about 5,000 Americans diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease each year.


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Emails/docs pertain to a Legionnaires' outbreak in the building that Ana Walshe allegedly helped cover up.
There are about 20 US outbreaks per year, defined as two or more people becoming infected, according to the CDC.


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“DC epidemiologists provided [the building’s] management with actions they could take to keep residents safe and allow them to seek medical care. Crossing management refused all recommendations from DC Health and watched as residents fell ill with no concern.”

The resident added, “When DC Health required the legionella warnings to be posted, the management or leasing agents would remove them so prospective residents wouldn’t see the information.”

A Tishman Speyer spokesperson told The Post, “Management at The Crossing has been working closely with the DC Department of Health on this issue, and has repeatedly communicated with our residents.”

But the alleged coverup doesn’t sit well with some tenants who got sick.

One resident wrote to the board of the tenants association in late October that they’re certain they came down with Pontiac fever after using the building’s facilities, suffering a fever of more than 101 degrees, chills, nausea, muscle aches, and a headache.

“The Crossing mismanaged this crisis at the expense of my health,” the resident wrote, “so I wanted to thank you for being so vocal about the Legionnaires’ outbreak within our home.”

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