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Former Milton town secretary suing law firm

Former Milton town secretary suing law firm

Woman left town employment but never received promised county job
Former Milton town secretary suing law firm
Dan Lewza
Photographer: Photo provided

MILTON -- The former confidential secretary to former Milton town supervisor Dan Lewza is suing the law firm that represented her in a sexual harassment case against the town for legal malpractice.

Theresa Wilson is suing the Tully Rinckey law firm of Albany, saying the law firm received more money than she did, and she never received a job with Saratoga County promised in the October 2016 settlement of her case.

She is asking a state Supreme Court judge to award her all or part of the $25,000 payment Tully Rinckey received, as well as other damages. In court papers, Wilson said she received only the $10,000, and didn't get the county job after being given an interview. The county was not a party to the settlement, although at the time Lewza would have had significant influence as a member of the county Board of Supervisors.

The lawsuit calls the payment Wilson received "grossly deficient," and said the promise of county employment "was entirely unenforceable as a matter of law on the key element of compensation to be provided plaintiff pursuant to the settlement agreement, the position with Saratoga County."

Tully Rinckey did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Wilson went to work for the town as Lewza's confidential secretary in 2012, and remained in the position through 2016, despite what she said was a pattern of lewd behavior and comments from Lewza that she said caused "humiliation, anguish and physical damages." She said that as a single mother with two young sons, she needed to keep the job, which paid about $39,000 annually and came with good benefits.  Lewza denied the conduct.

In the lawsuit, she said she engaged Tully Rinckey in early 2016 to negotiate a confidential settlement with the town, and that led to the October settlement that allowed her to work from home for the rest of the year, then leave town employment for a promised county job that was to be full-time and pay "not less than $40,000," according to the settlement. The terms called for the settlement to remain confidential.

"[Wilson] reasonably relied on the representation that would be provided with a position with the county based upon Lewza's position with the county, as well as the fact that the county and town governments are controlled by the Republican Party of the county, such that the protection of Lewza and the town would insure to the benefit of the county," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit said Wilson had one interview with a job in the county Probation Department, and she was subsequently told "there were no appropriate jobs available."

She then remained unemployed for more than a year, and has only recently gained employment, according to the lawsuit.

Lewza, as supervisor of a town with nearly 20,000 residents, had significant power within county government, but in April 2017 he unexpected announced he would not seek re-election. The settlement remained confidential until August 2017, when the Times Union published a report about it that included her name.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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