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.

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

Cemetery

2 Investigators: In Cook County, The Dead Get Tax Exemptions

The assessor’s office is chasing down living property owners who are wrongly claiming breaks on property taxes by using identities of the deceased. CBS 2′s Pam Zekman reports.

11/07/2014

A former committee woman says election judges were told to vote Republican. (Credit: CBS)

Former Republican Committeemen Claim Election Judges Coerced Into Voting GOP

A former Republican committee woman tells 2 Investigator Pam Zekman that she was removed for objecting to the tactic.

11/05/2014

Voters cast their ballots in suburban Chicago. (credit: Frank Polich/Getty Images)

‘Malicious’ Robocalls Leave Chicago Short Of Thousands Of Election Judges

Chicago Board of Election Commissioners Chairman Langdon Neal said at least one precinct in all 50 wards had a problem with election judges not showing up, and the city had to enlist the help of 250 standby judges.

11/04/2014

(CBS)

2 Investigators: Drowsy Truck Drivers At The Wheel?

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s a familiar scene: the lights of a police squad car at an accident scene on I-80. Jeanette Pivot, 64, had stopped her car to avoid it. Behind her a truck approached. [...]

10/30/2014

Darren Vann, suspected serial killer. Credit: Lake County Sheriff)

2 Investigators: Details On Suspected Serial Killer’s Military Service Released

CBS 2 has obtained some new details today from Darren Vann’s official military personnel file, from 1991 until his departure 19 months later.

10/22/2014

Darren Vann, suspected serial killer. Credit: Lake County Sheriff)

2 Investigators: Authorities Say Classified Ads Website Used For Prostitution

Alleged serial killer Darren Vann used an online classified advertising service to lure at least one of his victims to her death, according to police.

10/21/2014

Darren Vann (Credit: Lake County Indiana Sheriff's Office)

Serial Killer Suspect Left Trail Of Escalating Offenses

Were there warning signs that Darren Vann would kill a series of female victims? CBS 2′s Pam Zekman looks at his long criminal history.

10/20/2014

Better Government Association logo. (Credit: BGA)

2 Investigators, BGA: Wrongful Death Settlements At Government Hospitals Costing Taxpayers

Hospitals supported by taxpayers have paid out more than $180 million in Illinois for wrongful death cases — deaths that could have been prevented.

10/15/2014

Cigarettes that were being sold without the required Cook County tax stamp are organized before seizure by county revenue investigators. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Law Enforcement Cracking Down On Pirated Cigarettes

A pack of cigarettes in Chicago can cost as much as $15 and with the soaring price the trafficking of contraband cigarettes is way up as well.

10/08/2014

Handicapped Parking

2 Investigators: Valet Parking Attendants Using Handicapped Parking Spaces

Wheelchair user Judy Heyworth is tired of seeing abuses when she visits downtown Chicago. CBS 2′s Pam Zekman takes her complaints to City Hall.

10/02/2014

A Chicago couple was put on notice by the city's Building Department that their historic home isn't fit for living. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Couple Says City Won’t Let Them Tear Down Condemned Home

David and Sanaa McClain say the Landmarks Commission has blocked their efforts to raze a ramshackle, mold-infested house. CBS 2′s Pam Zekman investigates.

09/26/2014

(Dimas Ardian/Getty Images)

2 Investigators: Spa Customers Claim They Were Assaulted On Massage Table

A massage is supposed to be a calm, soothing experience, but that’s not what several Chicago patrons say they received when they went to local Massage Envy locations.

09/24/2014

This surveillance image shows Sgt. Brandon Fredrickson of  the Lynwood Police  Department throwing a suspect against a door. (Lynwood Police)

2 Investigators, BGA: Lynwood Police Investigate Brutality Claims

2 Investigator Pam Zekman and the Better Government Association have been working for a year to get videotape of the alleged incident.

09/11/2014

Social Security checks at a U.S. Treasury printing facility (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

2 Investigators: Millions In Social Security Payments Stolen

(CBS) — Thousands of Social Security beneficiaries have become victims of identity thieves who have hacked into their accounts and stolen millions of dollars in desperately needed benefits. 69-year-old Carole Folkes is one of them. [...]

08/27/2014

(CBS)

2 Investigators, BGA: Seized Gun Went Missing At Dolton Police Department

You’ll be surprised what 2 Investigator Pam Zekman and the Better Government Association discovered.

08/18/2014

Visitors pass through security at the Dirksen Federal Building March 11, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. Judge Joan Lefkow, whose husband and mother were recently murdered, presides over trials in the building. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

When Workplace Violence Erupts, ‘You Run, You Hide Or You Fight’: Expert

Without metal detectors at the entrance of buildings open to the public, there’s no way to keep a gun out, security experts say.

07/31/2014

Trucks. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Truck Drivers Claim Owners Pressured Them To Break Rules

There have been a string of fatal truck accidents in the Chicago area caused by drivers who were charged with falsifying their driving logs and were apparently too tired to drive safely.

07/23/2014

An electronic logging device for trucks.  (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Safety Officials Want Electronic Logs For Truck Drivers

Federal rules limit truckers from driving more than 11 of the 14 consecutive hours they work. They have to take a ten hour break before driving again.

07/22/2014

Bridget Murphy purchased these tickets for Sunday's game between the Bears and Vikings for $800, only to learn at the gate that they were fake. (Supplied to CBS)

2 Investigators: Sheriff’s Police Bust Counterfeit-Ticket Sellers

CBS 2′s Pam Zekman helps Cook County authorities set up some fake-ticket makers.

07/21/2014

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