The 15-year-old designer of Chicago's now-scrapped city sticker will get his winnings after all.
City Clerk Susana Mendoza's office confirmed Thursday the clerk will still award Lawrence Hall Youth Services student Herbert Pulgar the $1,000 he won when his sticker design was chosen last year by popular vote. The money will come out of Mendoza's pocket, she said.
More than 18,000 people voted for Pulgar's winning design featuring Chicago's skyline, the city flag and outstretched hands.
But city officials said Wednesday the sticker would not go to print following a controversy over whether its design contained symbolism associated with a notorious street gang.
First runner-up Caitlin Henehan, a senior at Resurrection High School, will see her design on city windshields instead. Henehan also will receive a $1,000 prize, per the contest.
Mendoza spokeswoman Kristine Williams told NBCChicago Thursday the clerk's office, which sponsored the contest and issues the stickers, feels horrible and said the $1,000 will be issued. There's more to the story, she said.
Questions were raised earlier this week about whether the sticker design depicts gang symbolism associated with the Maniac Latin Disciples.
Former police Supt. Jody Weis, who now heads the Chicago Crime Commission, discussed the matter Wednesday with Mendoza.
"We will never know the intent, but we have to look at the perception," Weis said. He said the sticker was "very suggestive of a particular gang."
When the sticker was chosen, Pulgar told NBC Chicago on "The Talk" that he created the design to thank everyone who helped him during a tragic incident more than 10 years ago. When he was 4 years old, he said his clothes caught on fire when he was playing with a candle.
"The paramedics came and they saved my life," Pulgar said, "and I'm thankful for that, and this is how I can repay them."