Ex-Northville Twp fire chief sues, claiming he was forced out

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Northville Township's former fire chief is suing local officials for wrongful termination. They said he retired, but he says he was forced out after eight years of service.

In the same moment a new fire chief was being sworn in at a Northville Township board meeting last week, members of the board were served with a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by the former fire chief.

Township leaders tell FOX 2 that ex-chief Rich Marinucci resigned last March but his lawyer says, that's not true.

"Defendant John Werth showed up at his office, he said resign or be fired, and he was forced to leave," said Jill Schinske, Marinucci's attorney.

Marinucci claims he was forced out after eight years of distinguished service and he doesn't know why. He previously served as Farmington Hill's fire chief, retiring after 24 years.

"He has built an impeccable resume and reputation, he has received numerous awards for his work within the fire service industry," said Schinske.

In the lawsuit there are 12 defendants total including -  the township supervisor, manager, assistant manager, director of public safety, treasurer and six other officials along with the township as a whole. All are believed to have played a role in the termination.

The job of chief paid $116,000 a year and now Marinucci is seeking at least $25,000 for loss of wages and benefits, mental anguish and damage to his reputation.

"We've alleged seven different claims," Schinske said.

At this time, Marinucci is still unemployed.

"I'm not sure that he has any definitive plans for the future," Schinske said.

FOX 2 reached out to Northville Township's officials for their side who say at this time, said there will be no comment.