The Little Rock lawyer who's been Kris Kringle at the Capitol's official lighting ceremony the past nine years has been told now he's no longer welcome.
"A lot of kids really believe when they pull on the beard and it doesn't come off," said Robert Newcomb, aka "Santa."
He looks like Santa and sounds like him too.
"God gave me these looks and kids get an enjoyment out of them. It's a way for me to use something unique to give back to the community," Newcomb said.
Four weeks out of the year, Robert Newcomb is one of the most sought after men in central Arkansas.
He asks who's been naughty or nice at fundraisers and parties all over town and he's the highlight of the Little Rock holiday parade and until recently was a very special guest at the Capitol lighting ceremony. He was even confirmed to be there this year.
But Robert Newcomb only moonlights as Father Christmas.
For a living, he's a Little Rock lawyer, specializing in discrimination cases.
Recently, he was retained by a former Capitol police officer who was fired from the job, reportedly for falling asleep.
"She has medical issues and felt that she was treated with termination because of her gender and race," said Newcomb.
Now Newcomb says he's being retaliated against by the secretary of state who is named in the complaint.
"They called after that and said they didn't need my services," Newcomb said.
But a spokesperson for the Secretary of State says there's a perfectly logical reason for the Santa switch.
"We decided to replace Santa after it came to our attention that this Santa was not the real Santa Claus so we have contacted the real Santa Claus and he's excited to come to our Capitol celebration in December," said Alex Reed, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State.
Alex Reed admitted a State Capitol police officer will likely don a fake beard to play the part but he adamantly denied the change isn't because of Newcomb's day job.
"It has nothing to do with any potential law suit. No one person has a monopoly on being Santa Claus," said Reed.
Newcomb says all this isn't making him any less jolly.
"It doesn't really bother me that they chose to be petty about it."
But he says by polarizing the North Pole, it's hurting the kids who've long believed he's the real Santa.
"The police officer they are having from what I understand, looks more like a police officer than Santa Claus.
Newcomb, by the way, wasn't paid for his Santa gig at the Capitol.
He says only one other time has someone asked him not to be Santa because of a lawsuit.
He says he can keep the two jobs separate.
The Secretary of State's office says the festivities will be just as merry, without him.