Friday, February 18, 2022


When School Board member PATRICK CANAN lied about mold-contaminated wrestling mats, I asked for any documnents supporting his disinformation. 

None exist. 

Here's the response from School Board lawyer Frank D. Upchurch, III: 

From: To: Subject:

Date: Attachments:

Frank Upchurch
Christina Upchurch
Amisha S. Kearse

FW: Request No. 2022-52: MOLDY SAHS WRESTLING MATS School Board Member Patrick Thomas Canan misstatements at February 8, 2022 Meeting
Wednesday, February 9, 2022 12:59:01 PM
22.01.28 Corr Slavin.pdf

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Pls process the PRR component of this

Frank D. UpchUrch III

780 North Ponce de Leon Boulevard | St. Augustine, Florida 32084 Post Office Drawer 3007 | St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3007 Phone 904.829.9066 | Fax 904.825.4862

Assistant: Cindy Strickland |

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From: Ed Slavin <>
Sent: Wednesday, February 9, 2022 11:26 AM
To:;;; Frank Upchurch <>;; Cc:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

page1image38815232 page1image39823296 page1image39788608 page1image42616448 page1image42618944page1image39690496;;;;;;; Frank Upchurch <>;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; tanner@sunshine-;;;;;;;;;;;;
Subject: Request No. 2022-52: MOLDY SAHS WRESTLING MATS School Board Member Patrick Thomas Canan misstatements at February 8, 2022 Meeting

Dear Messrs. Canan, Upchurch, Forson, Sniffen and Spellman:
1. For each and every one of the several statements of supposed fact that Mr. Canan made at the February 8, 2022 meeting concerning moldy St. Augustine Wrestling Team mats, would you please be so kind as to provide all documentation?no responsive documents
2. Please provide any written evidence supporting the statement that "no other parent complained" about moldy mats. no responsive documents
3. Please provide the legal authority or basis for supposing that "no other parent complained" is relevant, or admissible or an affirmative defense to possible School Board civil rights violations and negligence in storing mats in showers. Open Records responses have already established that there was not any work order to cut off the water supply to the j.v. showersSee January 24, 2022 School Board response to my Request No. 2022-23 from Ms. Amisha Kearse and attached January 28, 2022 letter from our School Board's Tallahassee law firm, Sniffen & Spellman. The lack of any work orders to shut off the water to the j.v. showers where the mats are stored is inculpatory evidence. It explodes the Superintendent's preposterous pretext of dry storage in showers. It renders Superintendent Forson's assertion that the were somehow "inoperable" to be "inoperative" (as Ron Ziegler,


Nixon's spokesman, said, about Nixon White House lies on the June 17,

1992 Watergate burglary). no documents responsive to this request
4. Please provide the exact date, time, duration, context, and circumstances of Mr. Canan's reported visit to SAHS "about ten days ago" to view and sniff the St. Augustine Wrestling Team mats, including a list of and correspondence with anyone who accompanied him on his visit, and all related documents, including photos and videos. please see attached 2 photos
5. Please provide a list of any witnesses that Mr. Canan interviewed. If none, please so state. If any, please their names and provide copies of witness statements, notes, correspondence or responsive documents
6. Please provide any evidence that Mr. Canan or anyone else ever

attempted to speak with Mr. Gene Griffin or his son, Mr. C.F Griffin, the Wrestling Team Captain, or any coach, parent or student with knowledge of the mats' condition since they both spoke to the School Board at their January

documents responsive to this request

7. Please provide any evidence of any payment to. consultation with, or efforts to enlist, any professional consultation with any
industrial hygienist, environmental health scientist, architect or engineer about the feasibility of building some sort of a climate-controlled storage area or shed, or redesigning the interior space of the admittedly "old school" so as to store new, clean wrestling mats in a cool, dry

place, which is the standard of responsive documents
8. Please provide any explanation for Mr. Patrick Thomas
Canan stating that "
It's an old school" as if the school's age were somehow a legal defense to negligent maintenance and mat
storage practices, or in any way excuses or justifies continuing willful wanton negligence and breaches of the standard of care for storing wrestling mats in a cool dry place (not showers). Does Mr. Canan reckon that a history of discrimination and disinvestment in low-income and. minority students' education somehow justifies or excuses moldy mats for the SAHS Wrestling Team?
no responsive document

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the subject of moldy mats, including but not limited
9. Please provide all communications to and from Mr. Canan. on

to communications with the Upchurch and Sniffen & Spellman law firms, or school board or government attorney organizations. . please see attached document.

10. Please provide any internal or external response to the written

request to place the moldy SAHS Wrestling Team mats on the School Board agenda, which another Board member from another district responded to last month by stating that agenda items had to be

submitted a week ahead of the meeting. Why was the SAHS

Wrestling Team mats subject not put on the agenda for February, as requested? Who decides what goes on then agenda? Our School Board meetings are such models of efficiency that you never properly address citizen concerns, allowing problems to fester (and mold to grow on mats stored in showers).no responsive documents

11. Please provide any documents explaining why Mr. Canan never communicated with Mr. Griffin and his son about their concerns, imperiously not disclosing his visit to Mr. Griffin in advance of the meeting. Mr. Canan. you waited until Mr. Griffin and I spoke to the School Board in public comment February 8, and then you belatedly reported on your Stealth look-and-sniff visit, waiting to do so until in a public, televised meeting. You and Chairman Mignon have stated it
"this is not a debate," thereby obviating any meaningful dialogue or communication with citizens, including the complaining victims testifying about environmental health hazards at an "old school," depriving them of their First Amendment right to petition for a redress of grievances, inhibigting their ability to respond to false assertions. Did Mr.

Canan's objectionable cheap shot theatrical tactic violate our right to know? This mendacious misbehavior is called "sandbagging" in the legal profession. It would be sanctionable as "discovery abuse" in a civil case. Mr. Canan's was discourteous and violated the reasonable expectations of probity of an elected public official and licensed Florida attorney Where was the comity, courtesy or respect for students' and constituents' civil and constitutional rights?

What possessed Mr. Canan to stiff the whistleblowers while indulging in an unexplained Stealth visit to sniff the mats without asking Messrs.Gene and C.F. Griffin to accompany him on his look-and-sniff visit, or at least to have disclosed his findings (several of which are demonstrably false).no responsive documents

12. Were any students ever interviewed by Mr. Canan? (In respect for their privacy, would you please be so kind as t redact their names from

any documents released to me as a journalist)?no

responsive documents

13. Please provide any photo or video evidence of Mr. Canan sniffing


the mats, or any training or certification in mold detection for Mr. Canan or his "sniffer."no responsive documents
14. In the future, Messrs. Canan and Forson, would you please be so kind as to honor your oath and cease and desist from --

  1. retaliatory behavior in retaliation for First Amendment protected activity?

  2. pettifoggery?

  3. sandbagging?

  4. attempted gaslighting?

  5. unscientific assertions about environmental

    health, particularly mold,

  6. marginalizing?

  7. public mockery?

  8. cheap shots?

  9. material false statements?

  10. negligent or fraudulent misrepresentations?

  11. patronizing parent and student concerns?

  12. condescension?

  13. poor communications skills?

  14. inept inspections of school facilities?

  15. governmental guesswork?

  16. quick-and-dirty

    unscientific, unprofessional groundless assertions (called "dry-labbing" in science and "warm fuzzies" in engineering)?

  17. lax research and investigation skills?

  18. legal and educational malpractice?

We in the reality-based community object to the St. Johns County School Board's inept response to St. Augustine Wrestling Team moldy wrestling mats.

Our St. Johns County Commission Chair, Henry Dean, says that he"would not set foot on a mold-contaminated wrestling mat." As a former Iowa high school wrestler, Mr. Dean knows what he's talking about. In sharp and marked contrast, Messrs. Forson and Canan are untethered to truth.

Superintendent Forson, you smiled after hearing the misstatements that Mr. Canan made February 8, 2022, I am reminded of what FDR said:

"Governments can err, Presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm- hearted in different scales.

Better the occasional faults of a Government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a Government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.

Thank you.

With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

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