Former District 97 administrator Jerry Malatesta was known to his Oak Park colleagues as a nice guy professionally, but personally, many said they really didn’t know the man now accused of stealing more than $700,000 from the school district.
That also seems to be the case with some of his neighbors, past and present.
Last fall, about a month he was fired from District 97, Malatesta sold his home in Carol Stream for $270,000 and moved into a one-bedroom condo in Lombard.
His former home at 470 Woodhill Dr. is one of 100 in a subdivision for residents 55 and older. Malatesta is 61.
One resident of the subdivision, who has lived there for almost a decade, said she thought it was strange to have never seen him around his housee. Another neighbor called by Wednesday Journal said neither she nor others in the subdivision ever saw or knew Malatesta.
Malatesta and two contractors are accused of stealing more than $700,000 from the Oak Park elementary school district from 2004 to 2007. The district has filed a civil suit against the former buildings and grounds director and the contractors.
Malatesta was fired from the district on Sept. 25.
A neighbor contacted by phone who asked that her name not be published said she’d heard from other residents of the subdivision that Malatesta had to sell the house quickly and that he was moving out of state and building a house in Arizona.
Property records show a few houses in that subdivision selling last year for more than $350,000. Malatesta’s house, the neighbor said, sold below market value.
Malatesta moved from the house in Carol Stream to smaller housing in Lombard. Property records show that the unit he bought at Lombard Tower Condos is a one-bedroom. His address is listed as 33 Main St.
Condos along Main Street in Lombard range from $123,000 to $249,000. Units at 33 Main St. range from $105,000 to $120,000. Rresidents of the 120-unit complex in Lombard whom Wednesday Journal called said they did not know Malatesta nor could recognize him.