July 22: In an effort to attract buyers and snag the best possible price, the former president of the Town of Cicero said she plans on being attending next week's auction of her home and will even have lunch with the new buyers.
Former Town of Cicero President Betty Loren-Maltese said Thursday she's shocked that her one-story brick home fetched just $87,000 at a midday auction.
Loren-Maltese said she paid $80,000 for the home back in 1980 and estimated it was worth about $300,000 in 2002, well before the housing bubble burst.
The government seized the home from her following her conviction for her role in a scheme that defrauded the municipality of more than $12 Million.
Proceeds from the auction will be held in escrow until the appeal process is finalized.
The one-story brick home on South Austin Boulevard has three bedrooms and 1.5 baths throughout approximately 1,200 square feet of space.
In an effort to attract buyers and snag the best possible price, Maltese attended the auction and promised to even have lunch with the new buyers.
"It is in the best interest of me and the U.S. Government to make sure my home is sold for the highest price possible," Betty Loren-Maltese said last week. "It is the first thing we have agreed on since 1997."
Loren-Maltese served six years of an eight-year sentence in federal prison. A judge in March cleared the way for the home to be auctioned off.
Other than determining who will be responsible for the eight years of unpaid property taxes that accumulated while she was in prison, Loren-Maltese had no formal role in the sale.
"As much as I want the property to sell high at the highest price possible, I don't want someone blaming me if the government hands them a $50,000 bill for back property taxes along with the deed," Loren-Maltese said.
She said she was last in the home last year to collect some belongings but knows some items were left behind.
"Whatever I couldn't carry was left behind, so the buyer will have a couple of my mementos as well," she said.