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DA's office opens investigation into Greece Town Supervisor's 'Hot Rod Ranch'

A fence with a sign, 'Hot Rod Ranch,' and a mailbox
Max Schulte
A view of Hot Rod Ranch, Bill Reilich's property at 299 Swamp Road in the town of Sweden. Reilich, the Greece Town Supervisor, is being sued by the former deputy commissioner of the department of public works for the town of Greece, Bobby Johnson, who claims in a lawsuit that he was forced to repair cars for Reilich while he was supposed to be working for the town.

District Attorney Sandra Doorley’s office is investigating allegations that Greece Supervisor Bill Reilich and other top town officials used a town employee for unpaid labor.

The allegations surfaced in a federal lawsuit filed Friday by Robert “Bobby” Johnson, the town’s former deputy commissioner of public works, who complained that Reilich required him to work, without pay, doing maintenance and repairs at his classic car-dealing side business called the "Hot Rod Ranch."

“We have been made aware of certain allegations against the Greece Town Supervisor and other members of the Town of Greece administration,” read a statement Doorley issued Wednesday. "We will make no further comment on the investigation at this time.”

Johnson worked for the town of Greece for 36 years and became deputy commissioner of public works in 2006.

Reilich, a former assemblyman and former chair of the Monroe County Republican Committee, was elected supervisor in 2014.

Almost immediately, according to the complaint, Reilich began to use Johnson as a mechanic at the Hot Rod Ranch on Swamp Road in Sweden. Among the cars Johnson worked on were vintage Thunderbirds, 1940s-era Fords and Chevys, and Reilich’s replica of the Adam West-era Batmobile.

Those work duties sometimes added up to 70 hours in a week, according to Johnson, who claims he was required to use paid time off that he had accrued to cover his work at the ranch, when he was supposed to be on the clock for the town of Greece.

Johnson was also allegedly used as a free labor handyman, installing Ring cameras at the home of Deputy Supervisor Michelle Marini, maintaining Reilich’s home driveway, and working on behalf of local Republican campaigns. He did all this, the complaint alleges, under threat of being fired.

When Johnson complained to his boss, the commissioner of public works, Kirk Morris, he was allegedly told by Morris that he should “consider himself lucky” for being included in Reilich’s “inner circle," according to the complaint.

The town of Greece has declined to comment on pending litigation. Reilich did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Johnson's attorney Maureen Bass offered a succinct statement.

"We hope justice is served," she said.

This is not the first investigation Doorley’s office has opened into ongoings in Greece in recent years.

In October 2021, a drunken Greece Police Chief Andrew Forsythe crashed his department vehicle, and then drove six miles to police headquarters on three wheels. Forsythe resigned shortly after, and an investigation was opened into an internal coverup.

That investigation, the complaint alleges, led to Johnson’s early retirement in April 2022.

Reilich allegedly held a lunch meeting with Johnson, during which he said he “had a bad dream” that Johnson would tell investigators about the Hot Rod Ranch situation. He allegedly implored Johnson to lie if asked if he had ever done any work at the ranch.

Johnson is seeking $5.5 million in damages across 17 charges laid out in the complaint, ranging from unpaid wages, pain and suffering, and unjust enrichment on the part of Reilich and Marini.

Gino Fanelli is an investigative reporter who also covers City Hall. He joined the staff in 2019 by way of the Rochester Business Journal, and formerly served as a watchdog reporter for Gannett in Maryland and a stringer for the Associated Press.
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