Cicero's Mob Princess to Axe Good Cops

Illinois Police & Sheriff’s News

Cicero’s Mob Princess to Axe Good Cops

IPSN Newspaper, April 28, 1997
(C) Combined Counties Police Association, All Rights Reserved

Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese is preparing to eliminate the Police & Fire Commission protections for ranking Police Officers, sources in the department said, as part of a new policy to decentralize the Police Department and put control in her own hands.


* Announced the creation of a special unit that she calls “The Untouchables” that will investigate police actions and report directly to her.

* Paid $70,000 in a non-bid contract to a Naperville company to provide personal security to her.

* Ordered fired dozens of Cicero Police Officers who she alleges maintain residencies outside of the Town of Cicero, while allowing trusted aides to maintain dual resiendency.

Loren-Maltese, whose administration is linked to known organized crime figures and Mafia associates, is under investigation by the FBI. New subpoenas targeting her administration were issued as recently as two weeks ago seeking information on her financial and government dealings.

Police sources said that Loren-Maltese has targeted the Cicero PD believing that officers there cooperated with the FBI probe of her administration and that many opposed her re-election last February.

John J. Flood, a recognized authority on organized crime figures and their political associates, and president of the Combined Counties Police Association, said he is outraged and shocked at the actions of the Loren-Maltese administration.

“Her actions are reprehensible and it is clear that she is out of control,” Flood said. “We intend to continue to monitor her actions and we are looking at the worsening situation there closely.”

The Cicero Police source said Loren-Maltese plans to eliminate through attrition lieutenants and captains, as part of the planned crackdown.

“The highest ranking position protected by the Police and Fire Commission will be sergeant,” said one officer who asked not to be identified. “Lieutenants and captains will be eliminated and a new rank of commander will be created that is appointed and dismissed at her whim, under the proposal.”

The source said the proposal may have to receive the support of the Cicero Town Board, which historically rubber-stamps the president’s action.

“The ranking police officers will work directly under the thumb of the Town President under her new plan,” the Cicero police officer said.

“We’re concerned because we are not getting the kind of support we deserve from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge here in Cicero.”

The FOP represents Cicero Police officers and has been criticized for poor leadership and for refusing to stand up for the rights of its members in confrontations with the Town’s political leadership. In fact, several of the FOP activists are working with Loren-Maltese on her political organization.

Flood charged that political interference by Loren-Maltese in police matters in Cicero will further undermine their ability to perform their duties professionally and will weaken police protection for Cicero’s residents.

“The last thing Cicero Police need is more interference from the Town President but you can’t expect the FOP to stand up for their rights,” Flood said.

“It’s obvious that the Cicero police need better representation and we are ready to work with them. They need someone who will stand up to Ms. Loren-Maltese and her hoodlum friends, and prevent her politicization of the Police Department.”

Flood said he is not surprised that the FOP has failed to defend Cicero Police officers who have been targeted since the election for retribution. Several officers have been demoted and reassigned, allegedly because of their role in opposing Loren-Maltese’s re-election.

“There should be no politics in the Cicero Police Department of any kind. I am against that and I am sure that those officers who have dedicated themselves to professionalism only wish one thing: to do their jobs,” Flood said.

Flood added that the FOP leadership in Chicago also maintains a cozy relationship with the Daley administration, selling out the best interests of rank and file police there.

Acting Police Chief Stephen Zalas, who took the post after his highly decorated predecessor Emil J. Schullo was ousted by Loren-Maltese late last year, resigned this month.

Zalas was succeeded by Clarence Gross, a controversial police officer plagued by questionable conduct. Gross is also reportedly under Justice Department investigation for allegedly beating a handcuffed prisoner who was suspected in the harassment of his daughter.

Cicero police justice!

Gross, a high ranking member of Loren-Maltese’s political group, the Town Republican Organization of Cicero, is also instrumental in identifying police officers who refused to work for the Loren-Maltese’s re-election campaign. He was frequently seen at the president’s campaign offices distributing her political propaganda sheet, “The Observer.

Despite his political obedience, Gross will be replaced by an out-of-town candidate favored by Loren-Maltese and her chief adviser, Ed Vrdolyak.

At a board meeting in April, Loren-Maltese, dubbed the “Mafia Princess” by the news media, rammed through a $70,000 payment to a Naperville company providing security services that has no known office location and that operates using a mobile telephone.

When contacted by the IPSN, officials of Federal Investigative Services, who have received more than $100,000 in no-bid contract payments from Loren-Maltese to date, refused to discuss the contract or comment on their responsibilities.

Sources said the company provides the four security guards who accompany Loren-Maltese 24 hours a day, and are likely to become the so-called “Untouchables” unit. Loren- Maltese spokesman Dave Donahue was quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times saying her bodyguards are paid for by her political committeeman’s fund, which last year was reported to have more than $1 million in cash, the largest in Cook County.

Loren-Maltese has informed some 35 Cicero Police officers that they have two weeks to move back into town or face firing. Despite her campaign promise to lift residency for Cicero employees, Loren-Maltese will no longer allow police officers to locate their families in homes outside of Cicero while maintaining apartments in town. Loren-Maltese has been aware of the practice for years, but never acted on the issue until now.

The first ordered to leave is veteran officer Capt. Donald Pignato.

Ironically, Loren-Maltese will not act on information against several close allies who work at town hall but whose families allegedly live outside of Cicero. Among them is housing advisor Anthony Biancofiore, the brother of the late Chicago mobster Michael Biancofiore.

There has been no comment from Cicero’s FOP Lodge officers.