A ruling by a court-appointed election board in Cicero allows Town President Larry Dominick to stay on the Feb. 26 ballot. But his opponents are vowing an appeal to Cook County Circuit Court.
Dominick’s foes claim he is ineligible for the office because of an Illinois statute that disqualifies municipal candidates who are in arrears to their locality.
Dominick, according to the objections, shared ownership in a plumbing business that failed to pay license fees. He also allegedly failed to pay permit fees for some garage construction at his home, 3825 S. 59th Ct.
But the board, which ruled in the case Wednesday afternoon, found that it could not toss Dominick from the ballot because, in part, the town never went after him over the business fees and never decided the garage work required a permit.
Dominick’s team hailed the ruling. “The voters, at least in Cicero, should be glad that they get a choice of as many candidates who are qualified for the office,” attorney Michael Kasper said.
A different view came from the objectors, led by Juan Ochoa, the strongest candidate trying to unseat Dominick.
“Anybody that is not an insider would have been ticketed, would have been fined,” said Ochoa, former chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. “So we are hopeful that the spirit of the law is what wins the day.”
The objectors have five calendar days to file appeals.
In December, based on a petition from Ochoa’s campaign, Cook County Judge Edmund Ponce de León ruled that the election board’s three members — Dominick and two of his allies, Town Supervisor Joseph Virruso and Town Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias — all had potential conflicts of interest.
Ponce de León replaced them with election-law experts from outside Cicero. The judge also disqualified board alternate Dennis Raleigh, a Dominick ally who serves as town trustee.
Dominick, a former Cicero police officer, is seeking a third four-year term.
About 87 percent of Cicero’s 84,000 residents are Hispanic, according to the 2010 census.