Town employee files lawsuit against Cicero president

July 5, 2011 4:24:18 PM PDT
Cicero town president Larry Dominick, accused of firing a town employee because he is Hispanic, appeared in court Tueday.

Dominick was elected town president of Cicero in early 2005. Merced Rojas says a year later Dominick fired him. Rojas has filed a civil suit in federal court against both Dominick and the town of Cicero.

Rojas had been a town employee since 1995, working as a handy man. In court, he said his in-laws are a politically connected Cicero family who Dominick sought out for help during his campaign for town president. Rojas said the relationship changed for the worse after the election once his wife's Spanish-language newspaper ran articles critical of Dominick.

"Her newspaper became one of the most vicious publications that was published in the town of Cicero," said Ray Hanania, Cicero town spokesperson.

Hanania, however, says Rojas' allegations that Dominick is racist against Hispanics, referring to them with racial slurs, is not true. He says Dominick's wife is Hispanic.

"The town of Cicero does a lot for the Hispanic community. We do tremendous things for Hispanics. More than half our population is Hispanic," said Hanania.

Hanania says Rojas was fired for his work ethic and that he was caught doing a private job for pay on town time.

"Town employees will be driving around and if they're not doing what they're supposed to do, Larry will follow them, pull them over, and then have them suspended," said Hanania.

Dominick could be called as a witness in the case and he could face questions on a number of topics such as the number of his relatives on the town's payroll and sexual harassment claims against him.


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