Former Charlotte developer Steve Walsh died of an apparent gunshot wound in his home in Winter Park, Fla., police there say, and “a long gun” was found at the scene when his body was discovered Wednesday.
Investigators from the Winter Park Police Department and Florida Department of Law Enforcement were still on the scene Thursday afternoon, police spokeswomen Pam Marcum said.
Walsh was a Gastonia native whose high-profile businesses in 1980s Charlotte suffered an equally high-profile collapse. In his heyday, Walsh – rebounding from a 1976 bankruptcy – was Charlotte's largest apartment developer, and he owned small, Charlotte-based MetroBank.
Walsh, 61, had resided since 1999 in Winter Park, said family spokeswoman Anna Crowley. He moved to the city adjacent to Orlando after he began developing apartments and condominiums through Broad Street Partners, a Charleston company of which he was managing partner.
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His death “does not appear to be a random act of violence,” a police statement said. Marcum said investigators have reached no conclusion about the cause of death.
An autopsy has been completed, Marcum said, but results might not be available for several weeks.
Winter Park police arrived at Walsh's home at 1 p.m. Wednesday, a police announcement says. They were called by a co-worker who was concerned because Walsh missed a meeting.
At his peak in 1980s Charlotte, Walsh lived in a 7,970-square-foot home across from the Quail Hollow Club golf course. He was a leading Republican fundraiser.
That unraveled when his company filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors in 1989. The next year, Walsh filed for personal bankruptcy protection. He blamed a sagging real-estate market and a 1986 tax law that changed rules for real-estate investments. Businesses that dealt with him accused him of fraud and misusing money. An FBI investigation ended in 1989 with no charges filed.
“I don't suppose I'm any different from anybody else,” he told the Observer in 1990. “I'm proud of how I perform in certain circumstances, and I'm not proud of how I perform in others.”
In 1994, Walsh moved to Charleston and got back into business.
In a statement released Thursday, Walsh's family called him “a loving husband and incredible father.”
Funeral details were not available. .