MOLD MATTERS, The 2000 Amity timeline and a clarification
Before I continue my timeline, I would like to clear up some confusion. There have been questions as to the titles I have given a couple of individuals I have written about. The first is David Lyons. He is referred to as David Lyons, Business Finance Director in two separate documents. I have been told he was never the Business Finance Director. He is also referred to as the Director of Environmental Services in yet two other documents. Again, I've been told he never held that title.
So,.will the real David Lyons please identify yourself? I'm a bit confused. Also, in last week's timeline, I mention that in a list of documents that were reviewed by the Yale Occupational and Environmental Program, one of the "missing" is a 'summary of visits by students to the school nurse…based on interviews of the students by Dr. Frank, Consulting Physician.' I am told Dr. Frank was the principal, not the consulting physician although this is how he was identified.
Unfortunately, in reviewing the countless documents made available to me, I cannot possibly verify each person's title at the time the documents were written, although I have quite openly welcomed corrections. I have noted that I write only from what is written in a document. If this seems to be such an issue, in retrospect, perhaps these "corrections" should have made by those "in the know" and put in an addendum to be added to "the book" before it was compiled. I would be more than happy to assist in a "book overhaul" if needed. Just a thought…
A March 22, 2000 Protocol Inspection and Assessment report by Field Safety Corporation focuses on Room 329 which is situated in the main office/guidance area. A loose ceiling tile was observed over the door. The report notes that access to the roof and the system computer were "not available". Aside from the loose ceiling tile, no defects or deficiencies were noted.
A document entitled Amity Sampling Protocol is udated and in "the book" between a report dated Mmarch 3, 1999 and one dated March 22, 2000. The protocol reads that "a total of sixteen site visits is to be performed. Data will be collected on a weekly basis (or twice weekly for one month)…"
The areas that are designated as areas of concern for the protocol were the Auditorium, Outside the building, Mechanical Room, Room 211, Room 254, Main Office/Guidance Area, Lecture Hall. Under the areas of concern, it lists the cost for the Long Term Sampling Protocol. I cannot find where this protocol was followed. Also, this Protocol (#20) is very similar, without the costs for sampling, to another Protocol also undated (#12) in the book. This one was between two documents dated in 1998.
DiSpazio Construction Corporation of New Haven led a "tour" of Amity on August 16, 2000 with Martin Benassi, AIA-Architect of Hamden and George McGoldrick, his assistant. DiSpazio Corporation was retained by Amity to perform some corrective work in the facility. Benassi compiled his findings in a report dated Auguust 18, 2000.
In the report, he notes many ceiling tiles showed evidence of sagging, or bellying. Some were sagging enough to be dropping out of the grid that supported them, in both the new and the renovated areas of the building. He notes the safety issue along with the obvious aesthetic problems.
Visible mold was also observed along with water stains. His recommendations for immediate problems of aesthetics and safety included replacing sagging tiles. Also he recommended that building maintenance practices should be examined, to insure the systems are property engineered, maintained and operating properly. A copy of this report was given to Gerry Keane, Manager for Repair and Maintenance at Amity, who presented it to Atty. Briggs and the Board of Ed. In a meeting the following day it was demanded by Atty. Briggs that DiSpazio suppress the report by Benassi. DiSpazio, of course refused. Shortly thereafter, DiSpazio's business relationship with the school was terminated. Also, Keane, was terminated.
It is noted by Judge Robert McWeeny that "these two men were attempting to address a problem evidenced by molding, sagging ceiling tiles".
He also notes that "the health and safety concerns recognized by them, and their attempts to diagnose and correct the problem, ran up against and at most were secondary to the Amity litigation strategy formulated by Attorney Briggs." This is another document well worth reading in the back of "the book".
On August 18, 2000, Field Safety Corp. performed a Protocol Inspection and Assessment at Amity. Though it has repeatedly been an "area of concern", the mechanical rooms serving Room 211, 254, 138, the administrative area and the auditorium, was "not available" for inspection during their visit.
A Room Moisture Assessment and Portable Air Cleaner Sampling was performed in December 2000 in the Guidance area and in a guidance counselor's office of two portable air cleaners. While the manufacturers noted that "the remaining filter components were clean in appearance, it was impractical to disassemble and sample". Field Safety notes "nothing unusual was encountered or detected during their inspection and assessment".
Editors note; The opinions in this column are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent those of the Bulletin.