Pam Zekman

zekman Pam ZekmanPulitzer-prize winning reporter Pam Zekman serves on CBS 2 Chicago’s investigative team, a position she has held since 1981. During that time, her thorough investigations have earned every major award in television reporting and resulted in governmental reforms and criminal indictments.

Most recently Zekman, and her producer Dan Blom, have exposed dangerous cab drivers with long histories of moving traffic violations and accidents including some that injured or killed pedestrians or passengers. The reports resulted in a major overhaul in the way the city tracks their driving records and toughened enforcement efforts to suspend or revoke their licenses to drive a cab.

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Another investigation exposed fraud in the federal multi-million dollar free and reduced school lunch program meant to feed low income children. Zekman found Chicago Public School teachers and administrators falsified free lunch application forms to show their children qualified even though their parents’ income disqualified them. Fifty five CPS employees have been suspended or fired.

The owners of million dollar homes taxed for years as vacant land were highlighted in another Zekman investigation that exposed systemic failures by the Cook County Assessor’s office. A review of all vacant land in Cook County was ordered and procedures changed to help ensure that everyone pays their fair share of property taxes. Other stories exposed how property owners claimed exemptions they weren’t entitled to, saving thousands of dollars in taxes. Legislation was proposed to crack down on the abuses.

Towing companies that chase business at car accident scenes, ripping off vulnerable accident victims with fraudulent and inflated charges, were exposed in another investigation. Some of that money was used to pay off cops who steered them accident business, according to a federal undercover investigation that has indicted ten officers so far. New state regulations were passed to protect consumers.

Over the years Zekman’s investigations have exposed government waste by city, county, and state employees who were suspended or fired after they were caught with our hidden cameras at home, in bars, asleep, or playing golf when they should have been at work. Some highly paid pay rollers were misused by their bosses to work as their chauffeurs, run personal errands for their bosses, or as party planners.

Another investigation documented $40 million of waste at the Chicago Board of Education and resulted in sweeping changes in the way contracts are awarded, along with the conviction of contractors and school officials, including a former school board president.

An undercover investigation of Medicaid and Medicare fraud resulted in the convictions of dozens of doctors, pharmacists, and the operators of a chain of medical clinics. Several reports on Dangerous Doctors repeatedly sued for performing unnecessary surgeries, or malpractice that injured or killed their patients resulted in reforms by state regulators.

Zekman’s team worked undercover in restaurants to document disgusting conditions and critical violations that can make customers sick.

Tanker rail cars (CBS)

2 Investigators: Will Disaster Strike Before Rail-Car Upgrades?

The Chicagoland area is the No. 1 corridor in the nation for the transport of hazardous materials like crude oil, ethanol and other flammable chemicals. And that leaves a lot of people worrying about the worst-case scenario, CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

05/14/2015

Better Government Association logo. (Credit: BGA)

2 Investigators, BGA: Pension-Collecting Cops Rehired By City One Day After Retirement

They retire as Chicago police officers and get rehired by the city, doubling up on two taxpayer subsidized paychecks.

05/12/2015

The boy was mistakenly given a prescription for Haloperidol, an antipsychotic instead of his allergy medication.   (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Boy Almost Dies After Prescription Misfilled

Some pharmacy errors have been deadly and as CBS 2 Investigative Reporter Pam Zekman found out, regulatory oversight of pharmacy errors here in Illinois have been hampered by a court decision and legislative failures.

05/06/2015

Catherine McCann had 57 maggots removed from her ear canal; her family is suing her former nursing home. (CBS)

Judge Orders Nursing Home To Pay Family Of Patient Who Had 57 Maggots Removed From Her Ear

The family of a nursing home patient who was so neglected maggots hatched in her ear has been awarded $250,000 in damages.

05/05/2015

(CBS)

2 Investigators: Are They Real Rubies, Or Processed Gemstones?

CBS 2’s Pam Zekman takes ruby earrings to some gem experts to determine whether buyers are being misled.

05/01/2015

Identity thieves got away with $5.8 billion in tax refunds last year by filing fraudulent tax returns, federal officials estimate. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Identity Thieves Stealing Billions With Fraudulent Tax Returns

The CBS 2 Investigators found efforts are being made, but much more needs to be done.

04/28/2015

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Authorities Shut Down Debt-Scam ‘Boiler Room’

Typically, it’s difficult for authorities to catch operators of scams like this because they usually operate in foreign countries. In this case, they were operating in Aurora. CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

04/10/2015

The owners of eight condos in a Lincoln Park development  say the city was responsible for damage from a water leak. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Condo Owners Say City Responsible For Water Leak

It’s complicated. But if you’re a property owner you need to know something about the Chicago rules on “private drains” or you could get drained of thousands of dollars. Who pays to repair them?

04/08/2015

Mike and Dalya Horowitz (CBS)

2 Investigators: Couple Can No Longer Afford Insurance Premiums For Long-Term Care

Dalya and Mike Horowitz bought long term care insurance from Met Life 10 years ago. Rising premiums made it impossible to continue coverage, CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

04/03/2015

Hospital Cafeteria, 2 Investigators

2 Investigators: City, State Assumed The Other Was Inspecting Hospital Kitchens

CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports on the disconnect between two levels of government.

03/09/2015

Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars on the newest telemarketing scams. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Sophisticated, Fast-Growing Phone Scams Costing Victims Millions

Thousands of people have lost millions dollars on the newest telemarketing scams that prey on some of our worst fears. Law enforcement officials describe them as ruthless and relentless.

02/17/2015

Online Generic Image

2 Investigators: Woman Accused Of Cheating Moms Through Facebook

A group of suburban women say they were solicited on private Facebook groups to buy merchandise and thought they could trust the seller. That’s when problems started. CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

02/16/2015

: First graders get their lunch in the cafeteria during lunch October 15, 2002 at North Hampton School in North Hampton, New Hampshire. North Hampton School has students from K through 8 and offer a balanced lunch menu everyday, some days even Dominoes Pizza is even served. (Photo by Debbi Morello/Getty Images)

2 Investigators: More Failed Food Inspections At Schools

Even though there is improvement, some schools are still not making the grade. CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

02/09/2015

Debit card (CBS)

2 Investigators: Man’s ID Stolen After Target Pays For Credit Monitoring

After the Target breach, 3 million customers signed up for ID theft protection services Target offered from ProtectMyID. John Walters was one of them. CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

01/30/2015

Departing Plane (Credit, Randy Yagi)

2 Investigators: Cargo Pilots Say Disaster Imminent Without Stricter Controls On Fatigue

They say they need the same protections limiting the hours they fly that currently apply to passenger pilots. 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports.

01/19/2015

(CBS)

2 Investigators: Chimney Cleaner Racks Up Complaints

CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports if you hire the wrong company to check out your chimney you could be playing with fire.

01/09/2015

Chicago Police officer Katrina Grey (CBS)

2 Investigators: Cop Faces Shoplifting Charges

Katrina Grey is a 14-year veteran of the police department and makes $80,000 a year. Now, she’s on paid medical leave pending the outcome of her court case, CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

12/15/2014

(Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Smartphone App Makes Copy Of Keys

There’s a new app that could make it easier for someone to break into your house. The only thing a crook needs is a camera phone and a credit card.

11/25/2014

Zekman Valet Drivers

2 Investigators: City Cracks Down On Valet Parking Violations

CBS 2’s Pam Zekman went along recently as city investigators made surprise inspections of valet operations at restaurants and other venues.

11/24/2014

Better Government Association logo. (Credit: BGA)

2 Investigators, BGA: ‘Prince Of Pensions’ On Rauner Transition Team

Bruce Rauner campaigned on the promise of government reform and fixing Illinois’ pension system, but CBS 2 and the BGA found that Rauner appointed Glenn Poshard, a 1998 candidate for governor, to his transition team, even though Poshard’s government pensions are among the highest in Illinois.

11/18/2014

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