I don’t know what a "high-end pizza parlor" is, but Betty Loren-Maltese is working at one in Oak Park, and she’ll be happy to take you to your table, maybe even take your order.
Former Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese isn’t just a story. She’s a headline.
The feisty village chieftain, who spent seven years in a federal prison after a public corruption conviction, has dropped weight, shed the major eyelashes, looks ka-pow and begins a new career tonight: serving as the evening hostess at Salerno’s restaurant, a high-end pizza parlor on Roosevelt Road in Oak Park.
"The owner thought I needed a break and, in turn, it would be good for business," said Maltese, who now lives in a modest apartment in Evergreen Park she shares with two goldfish: "Priscilla and Elvis."
"I love animals, the landlord doesn’t allow pets, and I lost my dog, ‘Punky,’ when I went to prison," she said. "So I have goldfish — and I swear they are synchronized swimmers."
I once described Maltese as a piece of painted shrapnel with a sense of humor.
The paint is now pastel, but shrapnel peppers commentary on her conviction in 2002.
Her mission: "To clear my name and reunite with my daughter, Ashleigh Rose, who is now 13," Maltese said.
"To this day I maintain my innocence," she said. "How much more can they do? I’ve lost Ashleigh. I’ve lost everything I’ve worked for my whole life. And I continue to question the omission of evidence that could have found me not guilty."
I don’t know what to say here. Betty was found guilty. She served her time.
I wish her well.
But, wow, serving pizza?
Never saw that coming.