Jeff Mauro of Elmwood Park won the "Food Network Star" food show. | Courtesy of Food Network
Updated: November 4, 2011 9:28AM
Eight years ago, Jeff Mauro was a struggling chef and part-time comedian with political connections who got a good deal to buy a taxpayer-subsidized condo in University Village, the sprawling development built by clout-heavy developers who devoured what was left of Chicago’s legendary Maxwell Street.
Today, he’s the Food Network’s newest star. Mauro — who calls himself the “Sandwich King” — hosts a Food Network show on Sundays, showing viewers how to “turn any meal into a sandwich, and any sandwich into a meal.”
Mauro is the son of August Mauro, a former Chicago city housing commissioner who owns New West Realty, the company chosen by developers Michael Marchese and William Cellini to handle housing sales at University Village.
Back in 2003, Mauro, then 22 and single, was making $48,000 a year — modest enough pay that City Hall determined he qualified for “affordable housing” and could buy one of the 187 taxpayer-subsidized condos in the development near the University of Illinois at Chicago. A Sun-Times series in 2009 disclosed that 50 of those units had been resold — often within months — for huge profits.
Mauro paid $220,500 for a two-bedroom condo, which he once tried to — but couldn’t — sell for $364,500. He also once leased it out.
Mauro didn’t respond to an e-mail.
But, in a May 2009 letter to the Sun-Times, he praised the city’s affordable-housing program for giving him and his wife “the opportunity to raise our son and future seedlings in the greatest neighborhood in the greatest city in the world.”
A year later, Mauro and his family moved to Elmwood Park. He stills own the taxpayer-subsidized condo, whose real estate tax bill is mailed to his father’s office.
Tim Novak and Chris Fusco