By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Just weeks after the former mayor of North Tonawanda was fired from a part-time patronage job with the Niagara County Board of Election he opened the door to possible legal action.
Larry Soos filed a notice of claim against the county on Wednesday that could lead to a lawsuit in the next 18 months.
He was fired by Democratic Election Commissioner Nancy Smith the day after the new chairman of the county’s Democratic Party, Nick Forster, was elected in early October.
He and Forster argued during the nomination proceedings when Soos backed Jeremy Schnurr, a North Tonawanda lawyer who had held the chairmanship since early this year but dropped his bid citing overwhelming support for Forster.
Smith’s renomination as Democratic commissioner was tabled during the reorganizational meeting Oct. 1, though a decision is due in the coming weeks, according to Soos.
Soos said he hadn’t planned to take any legal action until he was denied a request from the New York State Department of Labor for unemployment benefits.
“They violated my freedom of speech rights according to New York state law,” Soos said. “I was going to ignore everything until I got the letter from the labor department that said I was terminated because of some sort of insubordination.”
Soos said he is confident that an appeal to the labor department will yield the benefits, while adding that he was the second vice chair for the county Democrats when the discrepancy occurred between the two men. Forster did not return calls seeking comment.
“I have a couple of guys who are attorneys who said they’d do it pro bono,” he said of the pending suit.
The former mayor said he will continue supporting candidates in his party and look for part-time work in the meantime.
“They’re trying to stick it to me and I’m not going to let that happen,” Soos said of Forster.
at 693-1000, ext. 4115.Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.