Mandeville High football coach resigns following lawsuit over black mold exposure

The Mandeville football coach resigned from the school recently and now we may know why - he has filed a lawsuit against the school over mold that the suit has caused him some health issues.

MANDEVILLE -- For 11 years, Guy Lecompte led the Mandeville High Skipper football team to almost 100 wins and a handful of playoff appearances.

But he suddenly stepped down from that position Monday citing "personal reasons."  However, a lawsuit filed last Tuesday, Aug. 15, indicates the move was to step up in a court battle.

The filing says Lecompte has continuously complained about poor conditions in the school's field house, including water leaks, paint peeling from walls and the presence of unknown toxic substances, only to be ignored.  The document claims, because of those issues, Lecompte has suffered from excessive illnesses including tremors, headaches, nose bleeds, rashes and neurological disorders.

The petition says last August, Lecompte was made aware of the presence of Stachybotrys mold in the fieldhouse. His lawyer, Corey Orgeron, cousin of LSU Head Football Coach Ed Orgeron, says that confirmation came from an independent company hired by the parent-run football booster club. 

The lawsuit says when the testing information was shared with the school district, Lecompte alleges he was told to stay out of the building, but ordered to still allow students and co-workers to go in and warned not to tell anyone about the mold.

The school district, which says it wasn't served the lawsuit until Wednesday, Aug. 23, says as soon as it was made aware of the mold complaints, the district had the building cleaned and tested by three different companies, starting in December and continuing today.

Testing reports obtained by Eyewitness News show a variation of results, but all approving the building for occupancy.  Leaaf Environmental reported in January that seven samples taken, both inside and outside, showed there were no more mold spores detected in the air quality inside than were found outside. 

A report from Ritter Consulting out of Lafayette showed nine samples taken in early March "returned results typical of normal indoor air in South Louisiana. No signs of growth were present on the surfaces of the indoor spaces and no observed 'odd' smells were noted at the time of sampling."

A test at the end of March, by Wynn White Consulting out of Baton Rouge, noted "the investigation found no visible active moisture problems. One area showed signs of moisture-damaged gypsum board and the swab and air sampling found levels of mold that do not preclude occupying the building."

Lecompte's real reason for resigning did not come as a surprise to Jimmy Treuting, who was Booster Club President from 2012-14.

"In 2013, I was changing the filters in the field house and there was a fungus, mold," he said. "We went to the school board ... It wasn't easy."

But he says the building did get cleaned.

Fast-forward to this February when a different Booster Club President sent an email outlining his efforts to have mold addressed, which included pictures of the mold discovered and tested by their hired company in August 2016, as mentioned in Lecompte's lawsuit.

The email said when the club's own investigation of the matter revealed to be bigger than it could handle, the district was notified.  Shortly after that, the email reads, the unnamed author was "told to return my field house key to the front office and from now on any work the Booster Club performed would have to be approved." 

Parents, who did not want to interview on camera or be identified, say Lecompte has been forced to meet with his team in an outdoor tent they purchased for him, since he's not allowed in the field house.  Lecompte's attorney says since the coach's alleged ban from the field house last August, his health has greatly improved under the care of a doctor treating him specifically for mold exposure that was identified through toxins found in his blood samples.

But Lecompte's attorney says learning of new mold concerns in the field house, threatening the safety of the kids, was the coach's final straw to pull the trigger on a lawsuit.

"It's not surprising," Treuting said. "The kids came first. They always did. I've watched him for a long time and he's a better man than a coach ... Standing up for what's right sometimes is tough."

Lecompte's lawsuit petitions for various types of damages and calls for class action status, to allow for other parties to join with their own claims.

Lecompte also has a pending workers' comp claim against the district, filed last Fall. It's currently set for trial in November.

Lecompte remains on staff at Mandeville High as the Athletic Director.

The Skipper Football team is scheduled to start its season with a Jamboree game at home Friday, Aug. 25.

Lecompte lawsuit by WWLTVWebteam on Scribd

© 2017 WWL-TV


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