BY STEVE WARMBIR Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
Cicero town president Larry Dominick leaves the Dirksen Federal Building, 219 S. Dearborn, with wife Elizabeth at day’s end Tuesday July 5, 2011. He is fighting a federal civil suit filed by plaintiff Merced Rojas. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times
An attorney suggested in federal court Tuesday that a Cicero Town employee who was supposed to do handyman work for senior citizens did private work for Town President Larry Dominick on town time.
“And Larry Dominick is not a senior,” said attorney Dana Kurtz, in her opening statement Tuesday for her client, Merced Rojas, who is suing the town and Dominick, alleged he was improperly fired based on race and politics.
Cicero, though, says it fired Rojas, a handyman assigned to helping out senior citizens, for doing a side job on town time for money. But Kurtz said that’s exactly what another, unnamed Town of Cicero handyman for seniors did for Dominick himself — without facing any discipline.
Kurtz provided no additional details in her opening statement and declined to comment after trial.
Dominick’s attorney, Craig Tobin, said outside trial that the work never happened, and he expects no witness to testify about it.
Rojas is suing the Town of Cicero and Dominick because he says he was fired in 2006 because he is Hispanic and no longer a Dominick political loyalist.
“The firing, retaliation and the betrayal almost destroyed” Rojas and his family, Kurtz told jurors. “They took away his dreams.”
Dominick may be called to the witness stand as early as Wednesday.
Dominick’s attorney, Tobin, argued to the jury that Rojas’ claim that he was fired over race was an “affront” to anyone who actually ever had been.
The town fired Rojas because he did a plumbing job for a homeowner for money on town time, Tobin said. The town employees who investigated Rojas were Hispanic, Tobin noted.
Documents in the lawsuit contend Dominick has referred to Hispanics as “wetbacks,” “spics” and “illegal f—— immigrants.” Dominick has denied ever using those slurs, and Tobin notes Dominick is married to a Hispanic woman, Elizabeth, who attended court with Dominick on Tuesday.