CBS 2 Chicago wbbm7801059 670 The Score

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.

A small drone hovers in the sky, (Credit: Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty Images)

2 Investigators: Domestic Drones Raise Safety, Privacy Concerns

CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports drones are a big question for the FAA, the state and even the Chicago City Council. One alderman is predicting chaos in the skies if the use of drones is not regulated,

02/19/2014

Erick Maya (Romeoville Police Dept.)

2 Investigators: Romeoville Shooting Victim Previously Filed Order Of Protection

The CBS 2 investigators found Briana’s mother obtained protection orders in cook and will counties to try and stop Maya from harassing and threatening her.

02/18/2014

A Chicago ambulance (CBS)

2 Investigators, BGA: Does Chicago Have An Ambulance Shortage?

CBS 2’s Pam Zekman and the Better Government Association investigate claims by some paramedics that response time is too slow.

02/06/2014

Uniformed Chicago police officers were spotted taking lunch breaks at Bourbon Street in Merrionnette Park, even though department rules say lunch breaks should be taken within their district. Other plain clothes officers also were seen there for nearly two hours, although lunch breaks are limited to 30 to 60 minutes. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Cops Assigned To High-Crime Area Watch Bears Game — For Nearly Two Hours

On Dec. 29, a group of on-duty plainclothes officers lingered at a Merrionette Park restaurant. CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

01/13/2014

Laurie Villareal's tax refund was rejected by the IRS when her daughter, Jasmine, was mistakenly listed as dead by the Social Security Administration. Laurie had declared Jasmine as a dependent on her tax return. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Woman Has To Prove Her Healthy Daughter Isn’t Dead To Claim Tax Refund

CBS 2’s Pam Zekman talks with people about the complications their lives take on when they’re listed as no longer living.

01/09/2014

Debit cards (CBS)

Man Charged In Connection With Debit Card Scam

A central figure in a debit card scam first exposed by the CBS 2 Investigators now faces federal charges.

11/27/2013

Westfield Mall. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Is Your Mall Safe?

It’s a time for giving, but sadly it can also be a time for taking by criminals such as pickpockets, shoplifters, car thieves and muggers.

11/26/2013

Water faucet (CBS)

2 Investigators: New Study Casts Doubt On Lead Testing In Tap Water

The U.S. Department of Environmental Protection found the testing methods it requires water utilities to use nationwide systematically misses high lead levels. CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

11/14/2013

Fake service dog credentials purchased over the internet. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Fake Service Dog Credentials Easily Available Online

You see them from time to time on buses, trains, restaurants and even airplanes: Service dogs, who appear to be assisting their disabled owners. But, a disturbing new trend is raising questions about which dogs really deserve to have special access.

11/12/2013

Some Campbell's soups get an endorsement from the American Heart Association, even though they have 410 mg of salt per serving. (CBS)

Suit: Campbell’s, Heart Organization Misled Consumers Over Salt Content In Soup

CBS 2’s Pam Zekman looks at the salt content of a common brand of soup, which gets the endorsement of the American Heart Association.

11/01/2013

A Halloween decoration has a label warning that it 'contains chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects.'  (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Halloween Decorations Could Be Health Hazard

Halloween is known for kids in costumes and scary decorations. But the 2 Investigators found some decorations that could actually be hazardous to your health. Pam Zekman reports on this Halloween scare.

10/16/2013

Walgreens sales tags aren't always accurate, the 2 Investigators report. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Walgreens Posting Expired Sales Tags

Walgreens has settled pricing lawsuits in California and Wisconsin and is facing a new lawsuit from the attorney general in Missouri for deceptive pricing practices.

10/11/2013

Sheet Metal Workers Local 73 (CBS)

2 Investigators: Pension Fund Demands Overpayments Back, With Interest

Imagine being retired and told you owe tens of thousands of dollars in pension overpayments, plus interest, even though you did nothing wrong. CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

09/27/2013

CBS 2's Pam Zekman talks with Patrick Daley Thompson about a tax exemption he wrongly received. (CBS)

2 Investigators, BGA: Daley Relative Gets Extra Tax Break — For 12 Years

A nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley saved thousands of dollars because one of his properties wrongly received an exemption. 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports.

09/19/2013

Prescription drug cabinet (CBS)

2 Investigators, BGA: Drugs Disappearing From Stroger Hospital

Are missing prescription drugs from Cook County Stroger Hospital supplying illegal street sales of painkillers and other narcotics? CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

08/26/2013

This home in Cook County was wrongly listed as "vacant," which underestimated its value for property taxes. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Some Properties Still Mislabeled As ‘Vacant’ On Tax Rolls

CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports on problems that persist within the Cook County Assessor’s Office.

08/01/2013

(Credit: cpdbeaches.com)

2 Investigators: How Safe Is The Sand At Chicago Beaches?

Every summer we hear about bacteria like E. coli in the lake water which leads to swimming bans at some beaches, but what about the sand. The CBS 2 Investigators checked out what effect does the bacteria have on the beach.

07/24/2013

Pizza is served at the Brain Food restaurant court. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Tourist Spots Fail Food Inspections

You would think that some of the busiest restaurants in the city — those located in tourist destinations — would be some of the safest. CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

07/18/2013

(Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Estimates Charging Chicagoans For Water They Don’t Use

Hundreds of thousands of Chicago homeowners are paying for water they don’t use. That’s because they don’t have water meters installed in their homes. Their water usage is estimated and as Pam Zekman reports, those estimates appear to be way off.

CBS 2–07/10/2013

Some advocates say hospitals will double-bill you if you're not careful. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Are Hospitals Double-Billing Some Patients?

Depending on how good or bad your insurance is — or if you have no insurance at all — you may get stuck paying excessive or duplicate charges and not even know it. CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

06/13/2013

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