CHICAGO (CBS 2) – It has only been one year since former Cicero town president Betty Loren-Maltese returned to the Chicago area after serving a seven year sentence in a California prison.
She now hopes to get her conviction overturned.
Loren-Maltese was imprisoned for her involvement in an insurance scheme and an overturn of her conviction will help her regain custody of her daughter Ashley.
CBS 2’s Rob Johnson took her back to Cicero where the legend, for better or worse, began.
Loren-Maltese has been away from Cicero for about eight years now, but as she walked down Cermak Avenue it is clear she is not forgotten.
“Nice to see you back in town,” said a passerby. Loren-Maltese responded, “Thank you.”
Since her return, Loren-Maltese has had a short stint working at a pizzeria and almost landed a job at a used car dealership until, according to her, a mobster told the dealership not to hire her.
How does she feel after hearing that a mobster from Elmwood Park doesn’t think it’s a good idea for her to work there?
“Let’s just say that it was the car dealership’s loss,” Loren-Maltese responded.
She now lives in a tiny one bedroom apartment in the south suburbs, surviving on a small widow’s pension. Until she gets a regular job or her Cicero pension restored, she will not be able to fulfill her dream of regaining custody of her 13-year-old daughter who lives with Loren-Maltese’s estranged sister in Alabama.
“Well, I lost custody of her back in ’07 when my family filed custody against me. So it’s been very stressful because I’ve also lost not only Ashley but my family as far as I’m concerned because it’s a betrayal I could just not accept,” Loren-Maltese said.
She believes that former Chicago Alderman Ed Vrdolyak may have been involved in this betrayal. The longtime Cicero king maker was Ashley’s godfather. Loren-Maltese believes he may have influenced her family’s decision even though Vrdolyak was helping with family living expenses while she was in prison.
“I really believe there was some input by Ed, for whatever reason, who knows,” admitted Loren-Maltese.
Loren-Maltese still stands by her innocence in the insurance scheme that scammed millions from the city of Cicero. “I got convicted because I was supposed to know what others were doing.”
Does Loren-Maltese have any regrets?
“My greatest regret is Ashley, that’s been the hardest because it’s affected her in a lot of ways. That is the worst part of all of this,” she said.
Loren-Maltese’s attorneys tell CBS 2 that if she gets her conviction overturned; she will get her Cicero pension restored, her property, including her houses, and would even be eligible to run for office.