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.

Gary Grosskopf, the Oswego Township Road Commissioner (CBS)

2 Investigators: Oswego Road Official Silent On Questions Over Work From Florida

Oswego township commissioners say legally they can do nothing to stop the conduct of the highway commissioner because they are all elected officials, but, unofficially, we’ve learned he’s promised to change his ways.

08/11/2015

Richard Poethig and his wife, Eunice, had their credit card account compromised through a telephone scam. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Fraudsters Can Steal Your Phone Number — And More — Through ‘Porting’

Legitimately used, it’s a convenient way to transfer your old phone number to a new phone and carrier or home. Illegitimately, it’s being used by identity thieves. CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

07/30/2015

Groupon Hotel Room (Credit, Randy Yagi)

Booker Beware: Many Online Hotel Sites Are A Scam

Travelers looking to book a hotel are being advised to use caution as many travel websites that appear legitimate are being run by scammers.

07/24/2015

Gary Grosskopf, the Oswego Township Road Commissioner (CBS)

2 Investigators: Suburban Road Commissioner Who Worked By Phone From Florida Apologizes

Oswego Township Road Commissioner Gary Grosskopf issued a written statement today defending his 26 year record on the job, but also apologizing for the negative perception of all of his Florida trips.

07/22/2015

Better Government Association logo. (Credit: BGA)

2 Investigators, BGA: Should Suburban Road Commissioner Who Worked From Florida Give Salary Back?

Should a suburban road commissioner pay a chunk of his salary back to taxpayers?

07/21/2015

Snow blankets Chicago on Sunday, amid a blizzard that dropped more than 19 inches on the city by early Monday morning. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Oswego Township Road Official Oversaw Snow Removal — From Florida

Critics argue Gary Grosskopf, an elected official who draws nearly $100,000 in pay, is phoning it in, CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

07/20/2015

(credit: Steve Hardy/CBS Local)

2 Investigators: Spot Inspections At The Taste Of Chicago

In this follow-up report, CBS 2’s Pam Zekman and a health expert hit some of the food booths at this year’s event.

07/09/2015

(credit: Steve Hardy/CBS Local)

2 Investigators: Some Taste Of Chicago Vendors Violated Health Standards

CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman looked into the health inspection records of the restaurants featured at next week’s massive event and found that some have failed up to three health inspections in the past two years.

07/02/2015

Pam Zekman confronts a former CPS teacher accused of having inappropriate contact with a student. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Predatory Teachers Slip Through The Cracks

CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports offenders may lose their city job but still keep their state teaching license because of a regulatory breakdown.

06/25/2015

Hail 3

Scam Artists Follow Hail Storms, Authorities Warn

The key here is for homeowners not to let contractors take advantage of them at a time when they may be vulnerable. CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

06/11/2015

(CBS)

2 Investigators: County Spends $2 Million On Paid-Parking System, Then Rips It Up

It may have been a well-intended idea: charging workers and visitors to park in lots at six suburban courthouses. CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

05/29/2015

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

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