Cicero president’s financial troubles no concern to taxpayers, spokesman says
BY BECKY SCHLIKERMAN AND JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter July 4, 2014 11:11PM
Updated: August 6, 2014 6:04AM
As Cicero town president, Larry Dominick oversees $162 million in taxpayer money.
But the chief executive of the western suburb apparently has trouble with his own finances.
Dominick, who earns $165,000 a year as the leader of the town and collects nearly $70,000 a year from his police pension, is facing foreclosure on two homes he owns.
There’s the modest Cicero two-story home that Dominick and his wife, Elizabeth, haven’t made payments on since December 2012, according to Cook County court records from last year. The couple allegedly owes $273,809.
The Dominicks also haven’t made payments on their lakefront home in Poplar Grove in Boone County, court records there show. The couple allegedly owes $268,599 for the principal on that home, in a gated subdivision.
Dominick’s spokesman, Ray Hanania, said in an email that the foreclosures are “a personal matter related to Larry’s divorce and it has nothing to do with his services and responsibilities as the Town President of Cicero. It’s not uncommon for a divorce to result in home-related and property-related disputes, and this is no different.”
Hanania added: “At all times, Larry has worked with his bank to remain responsible for the mortgage payments, and, as part of his divorce proceedings, Larry is reworking his loan to only include him as the [responsible] party.”
Elizabeth Dominick had filed for divorce in November 2012, citing abuse, Cook County court records show.
But in March 2013, Elizabeth Dominick filed a handwritten motion that said: “We have decided to reconcile and go for counceling [sic]. Dismiss case please!”
Records show the divorce was dismissed this year for “want of prosecution.”
Hanania, though, couldn’t explain the discrepancy and said the divorce is proceeding, referring further questions to Dominick’s attorney.
The attorney did not respond to requests for comment.
A woman who answered the phone number listed on the divorce records for Elizabeth Dominick said it was a wrong number and hung up.
Dominick, who was been in office since 2005, collects his town salary and a separate pension from his time as a Cicero police officer. Since he started collecting monthly benefits from the Cicero Police Pension Trust Fund in 2004, he’s pocketed $576,179, records show.
Combined with his $164,808 yearly salary, that amounts to more than $2 million in income in the past decade. Based on a common formula used to calculate mortgage affordability, that should be more than enough to afford the combined $3,420 monthly mortgage payments, records show he agreed to pay on the two homes. However, a large final payment for the Boone County home would have been due in November 2013 — about a year after Dominick allegedly stopped making payments. He would have had to pay an estimated $266,356, according to court records.
One lender said in April 2013 Dominick had failed to make the monthly payments on the Cicero home since December 2012 and owed $245,239 in principal, not including interest and other costs and fees. The Dominicks denied that in a court filing.
The Dominicks are seeking to keep their home and are working to modify their loan, according to a court filing in June by their attorney.
At the same time, the Dominicks also stopped paying for their Poplar Grove lake house, near Belvidere, court records show.
Hanania said Dominick’s foreclosures don’t reflect on his ability to run the town of more than 80,000 people and manage its money.
“President Dominick and the town board manage town finances phenomenally,” Hanania said, adding, “I think citizens are impressed by the recognitions the town has received over the past many years. The Dominick administration inherited huge debts and loans of nearly $149 million from the prior administration, but the town has managed to maintain its budget without major increases, and reduced that debt by more than 36 percent.”