Betty Loren-Maltese’s house sold for $87,000
BY MITCH DUDEK Staff Reporteremail@example.com July 28, 2011 8:32PM
Former Cicero town president Betty Loren Maltese steps out to her backyard after a government auction for her home at 3818 S. Austin Blvd. Thursday, July 28, 2011, in Cicero. Maltese's house sold to an unnamed bidder for $87,000. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times
Updated: July 29, 2011 9:48AM
About 20 bidders packed onto the purple carpet in former Cicero President Betty Loren-Maltese’s living room Thursday as the government auctioned her house.
Suggested opening bids of $200,000 and $100,000 drew silence. But bidding paddles sprang up when the price was lowered to $50,000, a number that inched slowly to $87,000. Sold!
“I can’t believe it sold for just $87,000,” said Loren-Maltese, who, with signature pink lipstick and painted eyelids, listened in on the five-minute auction from her front stoop.
She said the buyer was a son of a longtime neighbor.
The auction attracted more spectators than bidders.
“It’s not like the Lincoln bedroom or anything,” Loren-Maltese said. “I don’t see what’s the big deal.”
The government hawked her 1,200-square-foot home to recoup some of the money she owes after being convicted in 2002 for an insurance scheme that bilked Cicero of $12 million. She spent 6½ years in prison but maintains that she is innocent and is appealing the conviction. If she won her appeal, she would receive the $87,000 her house fetched.
“I have good memories and bad memories of the place,” she said of her house. “My daughter’s first steps, being with my husband during his chemotherapy.”
The raised ranch on South Austin Avenue in Cicero, which Loren-Maltese bought for $80,000 in 1980, has three bedrooms, 1.5 baths and a finished basement.
Maltese said Thursday the home had been appraised at $225,000.
“A younger guy bought the place. I’ve known him since he was a little kid playing traveling hockey. I think he works for Cicero now,” said Loren-Maltese, who doubts the winning bidder will take her up on her offer to take him to lunch. “He doesn’t want to go to lunch with an old broad.”
Several passing motorists waved and wished Loren-Maltese well after the auction as she chatted outside the empty house.
“People feel more sorry for me than I do. I’m bitter at the system, but there’s people worse off than me,” said Loren-Maltese, who’s single and works as a real estate computer researcher.
When asked if she lived alone in her rented Palos Hills apartment, Loren-Maltese quipped: “No, George Clooney lives with me, but don’t tell any reporters.”