Former BOE president sues city for $1.5M

Farrington alleges his right to due process was violated

Dr. Jahmal Mosley

NASHUA – Former Board of Education president George Farrington, who had a verbal confrontation with Superintendent Jahmal Mosley at the school office in March, via a federal lawsuit seeks $1.5 million in damages from the city for alleged civil rights violations.

Mosley worked to legally bar Farrington from the school district’s administrative offices on Ledge Street after the incident. Farrington is suing based upon his belief that this violates his right to due process, while he also claims Mosley made defamatory statements against him.

Farrington’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Concord, names the city, Mosley, and Nashua Police officer Jaime Abrams as defendants.

Farrington was told to leave the administrative offices during a March 29 incident, which began with a public records request. Farrington was at the offices to pick up documents he requested related to school business. Though he had been voted out of office in November, Farrington was keeping up with school issues and publicly voiced his concerns within the community, according to the lawsuit.

When he arrived at the school office building, Farrington spoke to the receptionist and received permission to go into the back offices to see a friend who was close to retirement. According to the lawsuit, that’s when he was confronted by Mosley.

File photo George Farrington, former Nashua Board of Education president

“I want you to leave. I do not want you in the building where I work,” Mosley reportedly said to Farrington.

Farrington states in his lawsuit that he did not vote to hire Mosley during the search to find a new school superintendent the prior academic year. Farrington claims that in the seven months he worked with Mosley, he made a good faith effort to cooperate.

After being confronted, Farrington refused to leave the building, despite Mosley’s threats to call police, according to the lawsuit. Farrington took a seat in the offices.

Mosley called police, stating there was a disorderly man in the building, an assertion Farrington denies. According to Abrams’ police report, Mosley called in the disorderly person, but when a dispatcher made repeated calls for more information, Mosley would “provide limited information and hang up.”

Mosley initially told Abrams that Farrington did not have permission to go beyond the reception desk and into the office area. The receptionist told Abrams this was not true, according to both the lawsuit and the police report, and that Farrington did ask for and was granted permission to see his friend in the office area.

At this point, because of the nature of the calls Mosley made to police, there were four officers in the district offices responding to Farrington’s presence. Abrams told Farrington that while he had a right to be in a public building, he was disrupting the normal slow of business. Farrington then agreed to leave.

According to both the lawsuit and the police report, Mosley questioned Abrams as to why he allowed Farrington to leave the building, instead of placing him under arrest. After Abrams explained the law to Mosley, the superintendent claimed Farrington presented a safety concern for his staff, according to the police report.

Abrams then said if there is a safety concern, Mosley could ask a court for a restraining order. After Abrams explained that would involve going before a judge to describe the nature of the threat Farrington represented, Mosley said he did not have time to seek a restraining order, according to the police report.

Mosley does not describe the nature of the threat Farrington represented when speaking to Abrams, according to the police report.

Mosley pressed for answers and Abrams offered to issue a no trespass order on Farrington, intended to him out of the building for one year. That order could be issued that day in person, Abrams explained in the police report, require no paperwork, and result in an arrest if Farrington were to violate the order. Mosley agreed and Abrams went to Farrington’s house that day and issued the no trespassing order, according to both the lawsuit and the police report.

That night, Mosley sent an email to BOE members describing the incident, claiming Farrington was aggressive and his actions unsettling. Mosley also states in the email he will ban Farrington from all building in the district if need be.

“I do not want to do this, as my intentions are for him to simply stop with the disturbing behavior,” Mosley writes in the March 29 email. “However, if his behavior continues to escalate and I believe that any faculty or student in this district may be at risk of bearing witness to his behavior, I will issue a no trespassing order for the whole district.”

Farrington denies he was acting in the threatening way. His attorney, Richard Lehmann, writes in the lawsuit that Mosley’s email is defamatory.

“That email created the misleading and false impression that Mr. Farrington had engaged in conduct that was threatening or created a risk of harm when in fact Mr. Farrington engaged in no conduct that would have caused a reasonable person, and did not in fact cause Dr. Mosley, to believe that Mr. Farrington’s behavior was in any way inappropriate, threatening or aggressive,” Lehmann writes.

Aside from the defamation, Farrington’s lawsuit alleges that his due process rights were violated by the issuance of the no trespassing order.

The city, Mosley, and Abrams had yet to be served with the lawsuit late Monday. No hearings have yet been scheduled in the case. Farrington is seeking $1.5 million in damages, attorneys fees, the revocation of his no trespass order, and to bar the district from issuing such orders without first due process.

Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245 or dfisher@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DF.