Did Cicero Town President Larry Dominick slur Hispanics?
BY STEVE WARMBIR Staff Reporteremail@example.com July 5, 2011 12:34AM
Cicero Town President Larry Dominick | Sun-Times files
Updated: July 5, 2011 2:24AM
Cicero Town President Larry Dominick is accused of referring to Hispanics as “spics,” “wetbacks” and “illegal f------ immigrants,” according to court filings in a federal lawsuit set to begin trial today.
Dominick and the town government are being accused of improperly firing a handyman in 2006 because he is Hispanic and his in-laws ran a Spanish newspaper in town that ran articles blasting Dominick.
Dominick, whose suburb is more than 70 percent Latino or Hispanic, could be put in the hot seat this week as he is called as a witness and potentially grilled on a host of topics.
Dominick’s attorneys have filed motions to prevent former town employee Merced Rojas’ attorneys from questioning Dominick on such topics as the extensive number of Dominick family members on the Town of Cicero payroll; about other lawsuits against Dominick, including sexual harassment claims; about allegations Dominick falsified his application when he applied to be a town police officer years ago, and other potentially sensitive topics.
“It’s an effort to throw mud and obscure the central issue,” countered Dominick’s well-known attorney, Craig Tobin. Dominick denies making the slurs against Hispanics. Tobin argued no credible witness will say Dominick made such statements and noted that Dominick’s wife is Hispanic.
U.S. District Chief Judge James Holderman has declined to bar Dana Kurtz, the attorney for Rojas, 43, from questioning Dominick on many of the issues. The judge will decide whether to allow each topic on a case-by-case basis.
Holderman did rule that Dominick and other town officials could not be questioned about any ties to organized crime. In a 2005 Sun-Times story, Dominick acknowledged knowing or being friendly with several reputed Cicero mob figures, as well as lobbying for the crooked former police chief of Cicero, Emil Schullo, to keep his police pension.
In the lawsuit, Rojas, 43, is seeking an unspecified amount of money for financial losses, emotional distress and punitive damages.
The town claims Rojas was fired because he did a private job for pay on town time.
“The town’s position is he got caught,” Tobin said.
Rojas’ attorney declined to comment, but in court papers Rojas has said he did the work on his own time and that a witness against him was threatened to lie about him.