Lawsuit filed against Healy for illegally obtaining custody records to smear opponent

Tim Healy solicited West Seneca Police Officer Sean Donohue to illegally obtain court-sealed custody documents in order to smear his primary opponent, Tommy Reese. Healy has refused calls to step out of the race, and he has refused to talk to police officers investigating the matter of the stolen documents.

West Seneca Highway Superintendent Candidate Suing Democrat Opponent West Seneca

The endorsed Democratic candidate for Highway Superintendent in West Seneca is suing his primary challenger and three other town employees. Tommy Reese, a 28-year veteran of the West Seneca Highway Department, filed suit (Reese Lawsuit 6-19-19) in NYS Supreme Court against his primary opponent Tim Healy for illegally obtaining and releasing a sealed court file. That file was used by Healy to threaten embarrassment to Mr. Reese’s son if certain information got out about other members of the child’s family.

Healy solicited West Seneca police officer Sean Donohue to unlawfully obtain the sealed file. Healy then gave the file to Dennis Buck and Kevin Zimmerman. Zimmerman is a West Seneca town employee. They “leaked” the contents of the file on social media in an attempt to force Reese to drop out of the race. Online comments posted by Buck and Zimmerman included claims that Mr. Reese was a “woman abuser” and “piece of trash.”

Donohue has since been demoted.

It’s unclear if Kevin Zimmerman will be disciplined as a Town Highway Department employee for disseminating illegally obtained custody records on social media, in an effort to pressure Tommy Reese to drop out of the race. Zimmerman is a close political ally of Supervisor Shelia Meegan and Town Board member Gene Heart.

They also accused Mr. Reese of having more than 10 arrests including several for domestic violence and one rape charge. None of the statements are true and the sealed filed that was unlawfully obtained does not support those claims. Once West Seneca police authorities confronted officer Donohue, there were no further leaks of that sealed data by any defendants.

Healy is closely aligned with Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner, who is said to have been outraged after the nominating committee in West Seneca chose to endorse Reese over his preferred nominee.

Zellner has been promoting Healy’s fundraising efforts.

“This is the lowest politically-motivated scheme that I’ve seen in the 30 plus years I’ve been practicing,” said Steven M. Cohen of HoganWillig, Reese’s attorneys. “Healy is upset he didn’t receive the endorsement and threatened to devastate a child if his opponent didn’t back down. I thought I’d seen it all.”

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Several members of the West Seneca Democratic Party Committee feel betrayed by Chairman Tim Elling’s misrepresentations of sealed custody court documents — which he is widely rumored to have circulated among Town politicos in a ziplock bag, ostensibly to refrain from tainting the document with fingerprints.  That may have been a deft tactic that allowed him to make false claims about the contents of those documents. He was able to effectively fabricate rumors that spread across the Town quickly but are lacking in fact. Elling is pictured above with Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who is not popular in West Seneca. 

“Tommy Reese’s concern is the future well-being of his son, who is too young to deal with the information in the file,” Cohen stated. “He’s a great father and has had custody of his son since he was a baby.”

The lawsuit charges the defendants with eight causes of action including invasion of privacy, defamation and conspiracy.  The lawsuit doesn’t specify a monetary amount that Mr. Reese is seeking.

The Democratic Party primary is being held on Tuesday, June 25th.

Tommy Reese, a 28-year veteran of the West Seneca Highway Department and the endorsed Democratic Party candidate for Highway Superintendent, pictured above with his son.

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