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.
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.”
“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.