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Last Updated

07 Aug 2003

Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel, August 7, 2003

AMI building inspection called off

By Kathy Bushouse, Staff Writer

A scheduled foray this month into the anthrax-contaminated American Media Inc. building has been postponed indefinitely.

Representatives for David Rustine, who owns the Boca Raton building, told the Palm Beach County Health Department they were putting off a planned entry to collect samples, destroy documents and do other work inside the building that has been under quarantine since October 2001, said Health Department spokesman Tim O'Connor.

A new date for entering the three-story, 67,000-square- foot building on Broken Sound Boulevard wasn't given, O'Connor said.

Rustine could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

In April, he paid $40,000 for the building once valued at more than $5 million. With the purchase, he assumed all cleanup costs for the building.

Rustine has hired a company to work on those cleanup plans, which must pass muster with the county Health Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before any decontamination happens.

When crews do go inside the building, it will be the first time anyone has been inside since the fall. That's when investigators from the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control spent 12 days searching the former home of the National Enquirer, Star and other tabloids for clues about who was responsible for an anthrax-laced letter that contaminated the building.

Bob Stevens (case 5), an AMI tabloid photo editor, died of inhalation anthrax on Oct. 5, 2001.