Cicero's Kind of Cops

AnchorIllinois Police & Sheriff’s News
Cicero’s Kind of Cops

IPSN Newspaper, May 18, 1997
(C) Combined Counties Police Association, All Rights Reserved

Town President Betty Loren-Maltese presented congratulatory resolutions to two Cicero police officers recently, citing them as “examples” of the kind of police officer she hopes to have running her “new” police force someday. Loren-Maltese has dumped police chiefs faster than Jane Byrne, ousting Emil Schullo last year in a political takeover of the Town, and then replacing him two times since, first by Stephen Zalas, and then by Clarence Gross.

Zalas was pressured to resign, and Gross was ousted. His ouster camein the wake of an investigation into his role in the alleged beating of an incarcerated suspect wanted in the harassment of his daughter, Rhonda Gross.

Zalas and Gross were handpicked by Loren-Maltese to head the police department, and their failure falls directly in her own lap.

Gross, who police sources said injured his hand in the alleged beating of Tony Dehoyos, retired from the Police force two weeks after his promotion to “top cop.” He was named to a newly created post of director of Internal Services and deputy liquor commissioner, the position that Betty held many years ago as a lackey for Frank “Baldy” Maltese.

Gross was not replaced and the post of Police Chief is still vacant, awaiting a blue ribbon replacement, probably to be filled by Ed “The Godfather” Vrdolyak who controls Cicero’s politics.

Rumor on the street is that Vrdolyak will orchestrate the appointment of Bill Hanhardt, the controversial former Chicago police honcho criticized because of his friendships to Chicago mobsters.

Hanhardt testified once for the defense in the Las Vegas trial of Tony “The Ant” Spilotro. And when they found the body of slain mob associate Allen Dorfman years ago, the only prominent police name in his telephone book was Hanhardt’s.

Sun-Times columnist Mike Sneed reported April 25 that Loren-Maltese is interviewing a retired veteran of the Chicago Police Department as an interim police chief. “He reportedly is an expert on organized crime.”

Word is that the new chief will have inside knowledge on the mob. If Hanhardt’s the man, he just might be up Cicero’s alley.

The responsibilities of the now vacant Police Chief spot are shared by Lenny Rutka, deputy superintendent of patrolmen, and Dave Hatton, deputy superintendent of detectives and tactical units. Rutka is considered competent and able to handle the post if given the chance. Not a lackey, however, and considered to be “too honest” for the Loren-Maltese administration, he won’t get it.

By now, the question of what kind of cop Betty wants in Cicero may be a mute point.

But she did offer a clue when she presented awards recently to two police officers for apprehending an alleged felony rape suspect on February 7.

One of the officers commemorated was Big Dan Wolff, who happens to be one of Betty’s precinct volunteers in the Town Republican Organization of Cicero.

Said the gushing Loren-Maltese, who has been busy these days dumping good cops from her police force and replacing them with her political supporters, “These two are examples of what our police officers should be. They represent the majority of men on our police force who are good policemen.”

What the blushing Loren-Maltese forgot to mention was that Wolff, in addition to being one of her neighbors, also was arrested and indicted on charges of gambling, operating a bingo game without a license with Betty’s late husband, mob bookie Frank “Baldy” Maltese.

Wolff and “Baldy” were each charged with two counts of gambling and two counts of operating a bingo game without a license by the Illinois Department of Revenue.

Where’s the Cicero News Media?

In the alleged Dehoyos affair, observers in Cicero said they are not surprised the incident was hushed up and was not reported in the Berwyn-Cicero Life Newspapers, which is owned by the father of Cicero’s State Rep. Jack Kubik. Despite efforts to remain aloof of Cicero’s troubles, Kubik relies on Cicero’s powerful GOP backing to win re-election each year.

And, Betty named the “El Dia” newspaper as her official “Hispanic paper,” which is owned and managed by the Montes-de-Oca family, who worked as precinct captains for Betty’s GOP team.

El Dia is the chief recipient of advertising dollars from the Town. It’s editor is also the Cicero Town Sealer.

What doesn’t see the light of day in the Bewyn-Cicero Life or the El Dia, does get twisted into news by Betty’s political newspaper, the twice monthly Observer, which is published and managed by Vince M. Iaccino III.

Better known as “Poppers” because of an incident in 1988 when he allegedly drugged and sexually molested a 17 year old Cicero boy, Iaccino takes the bad news and mulches it into positive blather.

Vince receives a salary from both the Town of Cicero as an aide to the Town President and editor of the town’s “Kids News” newsletter, and a salary from the Town Republican Organization of Cicero, which pays for the Observer’s printing and distribution.

When controversy does make it beyond this tight news grip of the Life-El-Dia-Observer, it is handled by Dave Donahue, Betty’s official press spokesman.

Donahue also handles politics out in Orland Park where his Cicero ties are kept hush-hush for fear of a political backlash.