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State’s Attorney’s Office orders Cicero candidates to not buy votes

Town President Larry Dominick. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

Town President Larry Dominick. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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Updated: March 24, 2013 6:17AM

The Cook County state’s attorney’s office has ordered the three men vying for Cicero town president to quit offering freebies to people for votes after receiving complaints.

In a cease and desist letter sent to the three campaigns and obtained by the Sun-Times, the state’s attorney’s office warns them that offering voters money or other “valuable considerations” to influence voters is a felony.

Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney’s office, said the letter was sent “in response to our ongoing monitoring in Cicero.” She declined to specify what the allegations are that prompted the letter.

“I think they’re just pointing it out because things are happening,” said Joe Pontarelli, a candidate for town president.

There have been accusations of freebies being handed out. That includes allegations that Town President Larry Dominick’s campaign had offered free breakfast to seniors who voted early.

Emilio “Emo” Cundari, the director of operations for Dominick’s campaign and the town assessor, denied those allegations and said a Berwyn restaurant was “sponsoring the event.”

“It wasn’t anything that we were involved with, paying for [or] endorsing,” Cundari said.

Juan Ochoa, who is running against Dominick for town president, said if allegations are proven true, they should result in criminal charges.

“Election Day could be a very bad day if people are only placed on notice and not made an example,” he said.

Cundari said prosecutors should expand their probe of campaign shenanigans.

“We welcome the state’s attorney to look at everything in town,” he said. “We’d like them to stick around and do more if they can.”

The week leading up to the election has been heated and officials have been paying attention.

This week, Cook County Clerk David Orr sent a letter to Dominick’s camp accusing Cicero town officials of “improperly — and possibly illegally” — using town employees to advance his campaign.

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