Betty Loren-Maltese's former home to be sold at auction

July 22, 2011 4:28:32 PM PDT
The federal government is putting the one-time home of former Cicero town president Betty Loren-Maltese up for auction.

The government seized the property after Loren-Maltese was convicted on corruption charges.

The single-story house, which has three bedrooms and 1 and ½ baths, is fairly typical for the Cicero neighborhood. When Loren-Maltese and her late husband Frank bought the house in 1980 it was brand new. She says it has been appraised at $225,000. She paid off the mortgage before the government seized ownership.

The sign in the window announcing a public auction makes no mention of the previous owner. Before but the former town president is happy to let potential bidders know the history of the property.

"I hope that the publicity will get people interested in purchasing the house even though there's a large number of foreclosures across Cicero and Illinois, and across the country," Loren-Maltese told ABC7.

Loren-Maltese is in the process of appealing her conviction. Although she's served her 7 1/2 years, she wants the government to return the property they seized or the money they make selling it. The judge ordered her to pay about $12 million in restitution to the town. She's now living in a modest apartment.

"It's difficult. I have worked my whole life. So to have everything taken away at 39 is difficult," she quipped.

She's a tad over 39 now. Since being released from prison after three stints at several jobs, including as a hostess in a restaurant, she survives by doing some computer work and receives a widow's pension from her late husband Frank. She says she occasionally visits friends in Cicero but rarely sees the house she bought with Frank 31 years ago.

"I try and avoid that," she said.

An open house is scheduled for this Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The house then goes on auction officially next Thursday at noon. Loren-Maltese said she would be happy to go to lunch with the winning bidder to fill them in on the house's history.

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