While our civic leaders refuse to capitalize on our bang-bang-bang past, Cicero relishes its present. The town that Scarface Al adopted when Chicago overheated has never shed its mobster image, and seems unabashedly uninterested in doing so. When town president Henry Klosak died in 1993, Frank “Baldy” Maltese, town assessor and convicted mob accomplice, got his wife Betty Loren Maltese installed in office. And she reigned till this year, when she herself was convicted in a massive insurance-fraud conspiracy. Of course, it’s no fun to partake only through the front pages, and for years you didn’t have to. Cicero lived up to its reputation with bars seemingly open long after Chicago bars closed, and thinly disguised whorehouses operating unfettered. But who knows? Cicero may now be ready for reform. Or not.
Best of Chicago 2002