Cicero... a "toddlin' town" that Al

Capone did not want to see shut

down has once again paid tribute to

the "Big Fellow's" enduring legacy by

voting its conscience and electing a mob figure's wife to the office of Town

President. Cicero went for Betty Loren­

Maltese in a big way, electing the acting Town President to a full term of office despite repeated allegations by 'the Chicago Crime Commission that her husband Frank Maltese is a" "soldier" in the Outfit, and bookmaker for gambling kingpin Ernest Rocco Infelise presently awaiting Federal sentencing where he could well spend the rest of his life  behind bars.

 

The squat but muscular 62-year-old

mob figure faces a possible ten-to-  twenty month stretch in prison after  pleading guilty to gambling charges. It's a tough rap, because big hearted  Frankie rolled snake eyes with the "saw

 

Continued on page 2

 

 

 


bones" the doctors diagnosed Maltese as terminal cancer patient. When the sad day of reckoning arrives, we wish Frankie all the best in his unearthly domain, and fervently hope that he won't have to break the knee caps of St. Peter who guards the pearly gates of the big "Town Hall in the Sky" to gain entrance.

 

Frank Maltese resigned his post as Town Assessor after eight years in office so his pleas of leniency would not prove to be an embarrassing liability to his "reformer" wife on election day. A thoughtful gesture, but completely unnecessary because "Maltese's Maven trounced Democratic challenger Thomas Nichin by nearly 5,000 votes. Cicero has been a bastion of Republican politics for over 50 years, and a mob stronghold for even longer,

 

and Betty's election went down as all who are in the Cicero "know" - knew it would go down. in fact, the cash-rich Republican organization dumped $0,000 of its money into the campaign to get Betty elected. Mr. Nichin, by comparison, spent $10,000.

 

Powerful elected Republican leaders statewide, are wise to steer clear of the Town regulars who call Cicero home sweet home when the heat is on - as it so often is. Former Republican Cook County Sheriff Richard Ogilvie certainly made no bones about it to his colleagues when he was closing down one syndicate-controlled joint after another in Cicero during his tenure in political office.

 

Attorney Frank Wicker, a 33-year-old do-gooding novice, was thrown off the ballot in the Town's most recent election for the top gun by the "august" Cicero Electoral Board. Wicker allegedly did not have enough signatures on his petitions. He mounted a valiantly hopeless write in campaign with the support of local ecumenical leaders, but his efforts garnered a meager 75 votes. So much for Cicero's two-party system.

 

Alas, poor Wicker. Like so many other pedagogues of Cicero reform who enjoyed thirty seconds of fame, idealism and good intentions count for very little in this machine town. One need only recall the futile struggles of community activist David Boyle, whose "Can-Do" organization proposed a realistic two a.m. closing time for Cicero's all night in joints. Boyle desired to clean up Cicero's sullied image as an old-night Honky-Tonk Town where the bleary-eyed Chicago revelers come to crash, but President Henry Klosak and his cohorts would have no part of it. "You are a phony and people are wise to you!" the Honorable Mr. Klosak thundered at a Town Board meeting, amid wild cheers from the Republican regulars who had packed the house.

 

During his one man crusade against the political factotums of Cicero, Boyle was arrested, hounded and harassed. But he managed to hold his ground

Then came the final straw. David Boyle's enemies burned his garage to the ground. "We feel like we are in a bunker and we're being attacked," the activist sighed, as he stared unhappily at the smoldering rubble. After that Boyle moved his family to Texas - out of harm's way - while awaiting judgment on a lawsuit filed against Town officials and two former police officers for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. The verdict was handed down last summer. The Town was ordered to pay David Boyle $55,000 in damages.

 

What goes on in Cicero as the good "pots" see it, is nobody's damned business. Outsiders and "trouble makers" are not welcome, and what the puppeteer politicos and their wire- hoodlum chums say is A-okay with the longtime residents, just so long as their parking tickets are handled by someone in the Town Hall, and everyone is supplied with the perfunctory free garbage can.

 

Betty Loren-Maltese - Frankie's wife who is young enough to be Frankie's daughter - inherits the legacy of the late Henry "Closed Mouth Klosak, the Republican Town President, and his immediate predecessors who built a corrupt suburban mini-machine in the tradition of this one political party town. Cicero was really humming in the 1940s and 1950s -the time when the Republican organization seized permanent control of the mechanisms of the Town government from the Democrats. There were good paying jobs to be found in the Western Electric plant at Cicero Avenue and 22nd Street, and the surrounding factories and warehouses on Roosevelt Road supplied the means for a working man to afford a sturdy brick bungalow or two-flat nearby.

 

Today however. acrumbling infrastructure, and the presence of inner-city street gangs spilling over from the West Side, hampers the peace and serenity of the community, and the Lords of graft and chicanery who have delivered the goods and services on a silver platter to their anesthetized constituents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Cicero was swarming with rogues, bagmen, grifters, and licensed scoundrels in the old days. And those were just the elected officials.

 

The architect of the modern Cicero 'machine" was Jerry Dolezal: for three Decades the Township Committeeman. Dolezal single-handedly rebuilt the Republican arty in 1944, and in his eight years as Town Collector (a good title of office for a Cicero poi, don't you think?), he returned $440,000.00 in excess commissions to the Town treasurer - one reason why Ciceronians paid among the lowest property taxes in the region.

 

Over the years the party regulars touted Cicero as "The Best Town In America," and "A Nice Place In Which to Live." in their election-eve propaganda. At the same time syndicate handbook o operations were run out of barber sops, corner news stands, and greasy spoon diners near the factories on the edge of Town, and the 22nd Street commercial strip. A1 Capone first invaded Cicero in 1924 with the strength of an occupying army. From that time forward, it has remained a suburban stronghold of organized crime and senior mob figures.

The clink of the dice, the cooing of the "21 Girls," and the strippers at the "Dream Way Lounge" on Cicero Avenue, or the legendary "Rose's Magic Lounge" on Cermak Road, beckoned out-of-town conventioneers and Chicago thrill seekers to the "Magnificent Miles" of sleaze. Across the street, at 4827 W. Cermak, the Towne Hotel operated by mob boss Joseph "O'Brien" Aiuppa until it was destroyed by fire in 1970. In the dun eon-like basement of the a ed hotel Aiuppa maintained two "holing cells" measuring no more than four and-a-half-feet in height. Former "friends" of the Outfit. and local deadbets were frequent overnight

_______________________

Cicero reform will

occur about the same

time the Easter Bunny

agrees to dance the

Tango down 22nd

Street with the refrain

of a 40 piece all-midget

band playing in the

background.

_____________________________________________

"guests." Hospitable guy. was Mr. Aiuppa. Joey "O'Brien" to those who knew him well. His organization, headquartered in Cicero, was simply called: "the men from 22nd Street."

 

The function of the Police Department in years past was to enforce parking ordinances, pass out the organization' s campaign literature at election time,

 

 

protect the politicians from harm, and handle the local citizenry's  day-to-day needs. Jerry Dolezal, among others, enjoyed free round the clock 24 hour security from the Cicero Police. If he had the cops pulling all-nighters at his house, one can only assume he needed it. He knew well what was going on and what made Cicero... just plain Cicero.

 

sentenced to ten years in prison. He was "doing just whar comes naturally:" following the example of his illustrious predessor, Cicero Police lieutenant and deputy liquor commissioner, Robert L. Mengler, who was arrested in his office at Town Hall just moments after accepting a $3$0 bribe for a liquor license. Mengler pled guilty and was convicted in 1975. "I'm shocked to see that such a thing does prevail." the elder Kimbark winked.

 

For years it was rumored that the Outfit had its own "guys" in the police upper echelon: individuals close to the superintendent who could shield the bookmakers and B-girls from raids. This they did quite well . "We'd get a call about a disturbance at one of the hillbilly bars where there was no dancing, just drinking and pool," a veteran o police officer confides. But not the strip joints - they were to be left alone. We d get a call and the problem was always on the street - never inside". Cicero is the real-life incarnation of Jimmy Stewart's "Potterville nightmare, in the Christmas classic It's A Wonderful Life. One of the "inside men" allegedly, was Lieutenant Steven Bajovich, who doubled as deputy liquor commissioner from 1975-19 6. In Cicero, the liquor commissioner's office is at the seat of power ..right next to the Town President

Steve Bajovich' s rise through the ranks was meteroic. He was a first a motorcycle officer, then a detective, then a sergeant, and finally a lieutenant. "Lieutenant Bajovich did his job," our sources tell us. "He used to sell alot of tickets to the annual John F. Kimbark Golf Day Outing on behalf of the Republican organization. That's common knowledge."

 

The Cicero lieutenant received his orders from Joey "O'Brien" Aiuppa through the late Bucky Ortenzi, as to which businesses would be granted a liquor license. Nice arrangement all around. Everyone had a piece of the action and their stipends. Then the government found out from Bajovich's mistress that the good lieutenant was on the mob's dole, and had been skimming liquor license fees from the Town for several years. After pleading guilty to five counts of tax evasions for failing to report $45,325 in embezzled fees, Bajovich was

 

 

 

 

Mengler never served any time, and a slap on the wrist was to be his only punishment. In fact before he passed away. the discredited former lieutenant was allowed to draw his police pension.

Their reasoning: Mengler's crime had not occurred while he was still a member of the department.

A wonderful Town, Cicero is. Jerry Dolezal called all the shots before he became too old and feeble to continue. He ran a lean and mean organization that thrived on patronage and racial exclusion. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described Cicero as the "Selma of the North" after observing the efficient ways in which Dolezal an his minions kept the blacks out of the Town. When Harvey Clark, an African-American, move his family into Cicero, the "Townies" rioted. His house was stoned, and the National Guard had to be called up. That was 1951, and not much has changed since.

 

When Dolezal vacated the seat of power, the baton was handed to Joseph S. Kral, the former Town Treasurer and committeeman. Kral, who fought C.C.P.A.'s efforts to unionize the Cicero Police Department with ferocity back in 1969, passed away a short time after the successful police strike. And then came John Francis Kimbark, after Dolezal's son Gerald, a real estate developer and Town Trustee, was bypassed by the organization.

 

For years. Kimbark. a wealthy real estate and insurance entrepreneur, was known as the "Old Man" of Cicero politics - a term of affection and respect accorded him by the locals for his half century of public service to the community as Town Clerk and Committeeman. That is, if you measure

 

 

 

 

 

 


public service by how one takes care of his own interests in a work day. Kimbark's son, it was charged, received thousands of dollars in commissions after peddling his insurance company's product to the town government. The "Old Man" contended there had been competitive bidding for insurance each and every year he was in office. Trouble is, there was only one bidder each time -Laadt & Co., represented by John C. Kimbark.

The "Old Man" controlled the Republican Party slatemaking process tooth and nail, and directed the town's patronage army. The Town Board could not lift a finger without Kimbark's approval. Individuals who had business with the Town Board were required to submit a 24-hour written notice of their intention to speak. Otherwise Mr. Kimbark would bang the gavel and ently order them to: Shut up! And sit down!" Democracy's finest hour.

John Francis Kimbark was the "Kingfish," and just two days before he died in 1983, he slated Al Carr, noted restaurteur and 26th Street bonvivant, to fill his big shoes as committeeman, and to keep the party in tact.

 

In his first shot at slatemaking' Al Carr orchestrated Christy Berkos' successful run for Town President in 1976, an election that for the time being tipped the scales of power away from the Old Man. Berkos, the Town Attorney for eighteen years, broke ranks with the regular organization and ran as an Independent. "Here was a guy that Kimbark didn't pick, . didn't want., and couldn't control, our sources tell us. "Kimbark was fit to be tied.". , .

 

Berkos did a creditable job during his one term of office - he appointed an honest and fair-minded superintendent of police in Arthur Lang to replace Joseph Barloga, the Town Board's "toady" who had sanctioned their schemes to decrease the size of the police force during his twelve-year tenure of office. While warming the chair as Cicero's top cop Barloga arranged for the town board to have his wife's towing firm handle all of Cicero's business.

Superintendent Lang, who was lured out of retirement early in 1976, did his best to straighten things out, fully aware of the tough job constraints he faced.

 

Christy Berkos meanwhile, completed his term of office in a competent manner, and went on to become a judge in the Cook County Circuit Court.

 

Nowadays Mr. Carr still heads the Regular Republican Organization. Allan Carr reprises Kimbark's role as the "strong man" of Cicero politics. He is the library director. Republican Township Committeeman. and since 1988, a Cook County Commissioner. According to our inside sources Carr "plays bal" with the Democratic Cook County Board President. Richard Phelan. to their mutual advantage A1 Carr extends bi­partisan support to Phelan on key voting issues, and in all likelihood, will gain in return, one of the four

 

 

Republican single member suburban districts when redistricting occurs later this year. Indeed, Al Carr is a big man in Cicero, and without him , it is unlikely that Betty Loren-Maltese would have ever become Town President.

 

 

When the politicians took over the parking ticket division from the police department, they put  Betty in charge. Before President He Klosak died, she served as hi chief administrative aide and de deputy liquor commissioner, a position of enormous clout in Cicero once held by the worthy police lieutenants, Mengler and Bajovich.. Klosak and Frankie Maltese were good friends - more  like  brothers actually - so when the window of opportunity opened up , Betty Loren-Maltese was coronated interim President in less than seven minutes by the Town honchos. She knows what side her bread is buttered. Make no mistake.

 

Betty promises to usher in a new era of Cicero politics in the Town were graft prospers. She wants to bury the ghost of Capone once and for all. For all her rhetoric and symbolic gestures, skepticism abounds. "I don't care what Betty Maltese says. She's blowing smoke," said one. "She is trying to be a politician. I don't think she was one, but she will tell the people: what they want to hear. Betty rule Cicero till she dies. It's the same deck of cards, only with new dealers."

 

To scrub clean the Town's reputation a this late date will be hard to do, one would think, given the historic presence

_______________________

No government agency

could ever find

positive evidence

linking the hoods to

the Town of Cicero

government, yet every

astute cop knew it

existed.

_____________________

of the blazing neon of the after-hours taverns and strip joints. Cicero reform will occur about the same time the Easter Bunny agrees to dance the Tango down 22nd Street with the refrain of a 40- piece all-midget band playing in the

background.

Considering husband Frankie's track record thus far and the Town's historic reputation. Ms. Loren-Maltese should accept things for what they are. Just chisel a bronze statue to the loving memory of Al Capone and erect the

 

monument in the green lawns in front of Town Hall for all to see. Chicago has already acknowledged its debt to the "Big Fellow" with the soon-to-open Roaring Twenties/g ster museum on the -posh Near North Capone and his cohorts after= all provided for the career opportunities to generations of mob-friendly politicans in Chicago and the good Town of Cicero who were to follow.

 

C.C.P.A.'s dealings in this western suburb brushing up against Chicago's boundaries, bears this point out. When the union called a job action on behalf of the Cicero Police Department some years back, the guy who was really pulling the strings was not' the Town President, but Joey Aiuppa, "president emeritus" of the Chicago "Outfit" and the "Eminence Grise" of Cicero. In his own good time, Aiuppa directed the politicians to achieve a contract accord with the union to end the police strike. Too much publicity. So end the damned thing! That's the way it was. That's the way it will always be. A hood gives the orders that oil the machinery of Cicero municipal government.

 

One would think that the many thousands of hard-working residents the "silent majority" of this gritty blue collar community who are fiercely proud of their Slavic-Southern European and Hispanic heritage-would want to embrace reform with zeal, and add some lustre to the tarnished mantle piece of local Town government. But that has never been the case.

 

Cicero is an "insiders" town, and the locals prefer to keep it that way. "They are controlled zombies," comments one long-time observer of the Cicero political

 

 

 

 

 

Continued from page 4

 

majority of the people that live in that town either work for the Town, or the Town finds them positions in other places." The Republican organization reportedly controls about 600 jobs in Cicero, and over the years, the eighty or so precinct captains have been "taken care of." Some work as meter reader inspectors ...or firemen. Many more hold lucrative outside jobs at the two nearby racetracks, or in the private sector while punching the Town time clock. "Politics extend into every branch of government and civic agency ...the schools, the library, the building department, you name it."

 

...one wonders just

what it is that the

politicians are

desperately clinging

to. The good 'ole' days

are in the forefront of

their memories. More

importantly, they

must ask themselves,

can it ail be brought

back?

 

How it worked: In Cicero the Public Works Department allegedly received kickbacks from the funeral homes, stores, and local restaurants for garbage pickup that should have been armed out to the private disposal services. For years the six a.m. saloons ran unmolested. The police who were under orders from the Town board never bothered them. Their butts were on the line if they did. Liquor laws were just not enforced.

 

"No tavern or liquor establishment was ever raided or closed because it was open after hours," a highly placed source within the department confides. "There isn't a policeman I know of that closed down anything in that town. It ran 24hours a day. ix a.m. closing? Forget it! It never happened No way!" No government agency could ever find positive evidence linking the hoods to the Town of Cicero government, yet every astute cop knew it existed. The only hoods to go down for the count, are the mobsters preparing to meet their maker. Draw your own conclusions.

 

As long as the tax base remains low

 

Cicero ...a town that works, or does it? Lately, the street gangs menace once tranquil neighborhoods. Their grafitti is everywhere. The sidewalks along 25th Street are cracking; broken glass and shuttered businesses point to the creeping urban decay. A fine neighborhood restaurant like Old Prague mysteriously burns down one night. You get the idea that the old methods are no longer viable, and one wonders just what it is that the politicians are desperately clinging to. The good We' days are in the forefront of their memories. More importantly, they must ask themselves, can it all be brought back?

 

The future my friend ...is rich with opportunity. Betty and the "boys" know it. "There are a lot of areas in Town that are going to be multi-million dollar developments very soon," we are told. "There-development of the Western Electric property was only the tip of the iceberg. These places employ people. Before the Town puts the seal of approval on anything, the politicians first want to know 'how many of our people are going to be employed in that place?' This is the way things work in Cicero. There are plans in e future. The Town is still a gold mine. Believe me."

 

What lessons can we learn from Cicero, the way it used to be, and its vision of the future? Everybody gets taken care of after election day. Can the same be said for Chicago - or Las Vegas? In Vegas, pit bosses and casino personnel lament the passing of the Outfit hoods who ran the casinos with verve and style. A good time for all unless one tried to cheat. Then their action was taken care of ala bomb or gun. `Ever try to get a free Marguerita, or a dinner comp off of these corporate college-bred executives who run the so called "honest game" nowadays? They are as gracious as department store dummies ...maybe even less so.

 

Perhaps when all is said and done, "Maltese's Maven" and her fellow Ciceronians can teach us something about municipal efficiency. Does their way work better for the citizenry who continue to overwhelmingly elect them? It's their style of government: one that makes this famous American barb tick.

 

Stay Away From The Windows

 

For the reasons we have mentioned, Cicero remains the most unique of municipalities in this state and perhaps the nation. Ray Hanania. Betty's sharpeyed campaign strategist and public relations man of some renown in the Chicago metropolitan area, summed it up best when he said that in Cicero, one should always "stay away from the windows, because you never know who may be driving by. It seems Ray knows what clean law enforcement officers have always known - how things get

done.