Cicero Town President Larry Dominick the star of comic book
BY STEVE WARMBIR Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org December 20, 2011 1:45AM
Copy photo of Tatan's Christmas Party Invitation featuring Cicero Town President Larry Dominick and Tatan.
Updated: May 9, 2012 10:07AM
Cicero Town President Larry Dominick has been accused of passing gas next to a woman, then groping her.
He’s been seen with mobsters under FBI surveillance.
And Dominick himself has been secretly recorded by the FBI.
Who better to make into a children’s cartoon character?
That’s exactly what the Town of Cicero did with a comic book with the official town seal on the cover that was passed out to hundreds of underprivileged children earlier this month at a town Christmas party.
A smiling, cartoon Dominick — wearing a big smile and rosy cheeks but carrying considerably less weight than in real life — is featured in a 20-page, bilingual, glossy comic book.
In the book, designed to encourage literacy, Dominick wears a festive short-sleeve shirt, as he is often seen in real life.
The book tells the story of two cartoon children, Tatan and Johnny, who get invited to a town Christmas party along with other children where Dominick is handing out free presents.
The two children praise Dominick for his generosity.
One line from the comic reads: “Thank you very much for the gifts Mr. President.”
On another page, town children can work on their spelling with the town president. On the next page, children can solve math problems with him.
While Dominick — who has rejected all the accusations against him — is presented in vivid color throughout much of the book, there is one black-and-white version of the town president for those children who want to color him in.
Cicero Town Spokesman Ray Hanania acknowledged the town paid for the comic book but would not provide the project’s cost.
“Larry . . . was proud to be asked to have his caricature in the booklet,” Hanania wrote in a statement.
A local teacher, Maria Azurdia, who came up with the idea for the book and wrote it, could not be reached for comment.
But in an interview on the Town of Cicero’s website, Azurdia explained: “By (Dominick) being part of the story, the kids, Tatan and Johnny, will be learning about how the town works.”
The book, though, does not delve into the operations of town government, other than to show Dominick providing freebies to town children, who in turn, praise him.
The book is supposed to encourage reading, but its English version contains spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.
In one instance, the book refers to the boys’ “make-belief animal friends.”
The book is also exclusively oriented toward Christmas.
“Christmas is the name given for the holiday in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Son of God,” the book reads.
Hanania said the town sees no problem with this.
“The booklet targets Hispanic children in the town, and I don’t think the issue of religion in the context of it being Christmas is an issue,” Hanania wrote in a statement. “It may have religious overtones but they are in the context of the Christmas Holiday and the Hispanic community.”