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.

Natural Gas Flame

Alternative Energy Supplier Has Long Record Of Fraud Complaints

One of dozens of alternative energy suppliers now fiercely competing for your business is a company with a bad track record the CBS 2 Investigators have been reporting on for years.

CBS 2–01/15/2013

(Photo by Jana Birchum/Getty Images)

School Investigator: Widespread Fraud Pervades Chicago School Lunch Program

CBS 2 and the Better Government Association first disclosed how Chicago Public School employees were gaming the $175 million program meant for poor children.

01/07/2013

Althea Taylor, owner of Taylor Made Industries, talks to CBS 2's Pam Zekman about allegations from clients that she charged them thousands of dollars for help starting small businesses, then didn't do the work she'd promised. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Consultant Accused Of Ripping Off Small Businesses

They wanted to start a small business or expand one, then they lost thousands of dollars to a Chicago company they paid to help them.

CBS 2–12/18/2012

Date & Dash Website

2 Investigators: Singles Getting Ripped Off By Matchmaking Service

In today’s busy world, more and more singles are turning to online dating and matchmaking services to find that special someone. But, as CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman found out, some singles have said they’re getting ripped off by one locally based matchmaker.

CBS 2–12/12/2012

CTA crews replace wooden boards on a Brown Line train platform, because the boards originally installed as part of a $580 million reconstruction project were not weather treated, and had begun rotting just a few years after they were installed. (Credit: CBS)

Cost To Repair Brown Line Rehab Mistakes Swells To $5.7M

CTA fares are going up so that desperately needed infrastructure improvements can be paid for; all while the final fixes are underway to correct costly mistakes made on the CTA’s $580 million Brown Line reconstruction project.

CBS 2–12/11/2012

William Howard Taft High School (Credit: CBS)

Parents Of Teen Strip-Searched At School Sue Assistant Principal, Police

The student said two security guards, a Chicago police officer and a female assistant principal took him from an room where he was serving an “in school suspension” to a nearby washroom on the second floor, where they conducted a strip search.

CBS 2–12/05/2012

Disabled symbol. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Disabled Man’s Wife Wrongly Ticketed For Using Handicap Placard

A woman who drives her husband to dialysis treatments received a ticket when she walked back to her car alone. But she did nothing wrong, advocates for the disabled say. CBS 2′s Pam Zekman reports.

11/30/2012

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

2 Investigators: 57 Maggots Removed From Nursing Home Patient’s Ear

Imagine paying $10,000 a month for skilled nursing home care for your loved one only to have the unthinkable happen. CBS 2′s Pam Zekman reports.

11/29/2012

Gregory Garibay (Credit: CBS)

10th Chicago Cop Charged In Federal Probe Of Tow Truck Scams

A 10th Chicago police officer has been indicted in the FBI’s ongoing investigation of a scheme in which tow truck operators were paying bribes to cops who steered them work.

CBS Chicago–11/16/2012

A salad bar at a suburban school district. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Suburban School Cafeterias Fall Short In Inspections

As CBS’s Pam Zekman learned, some of the violations can make your children sick.

11/15/2012

Wire-framed hampers like this one allegedly have injured the eyes of children. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Children Injured By Wire Hampers

A certain kind of pop-up hamper, framed with springy wire, can be hazardous to children, CBS 2′s Pam Zekman reports.

11/14/2012

(Photo by Jana Birchum/Getty Images)

2 Investigators: Chicago Schools Flunk Food Inspections

Rat droppings and other problems plague some cafeterias. Since 2011, 244 of Chicago’s 681 schools failed at least one health inspection, CBS 2′s Pam Zekman reports.

10/29/2012

Better Government Association logo. (Credit: BGA)

BGA: Cook County Treasurer Received Improper Property Tax Exemptions

She’s the Cook County Treasurer – the woman responsible for collecting property taxes, but now the Better Government Association has found the county did not collect thousands of dollars it should have gotten from Maria Pappas and her husband years ago.

CBS 2–10/17/2012

Dawn Davis alleges her former boyfriend, Schaumburg Police Chief Brian Howerton, has harassed her. (CBS)

Woman Allegedly Stalked By Top Cop ‘Felt Hopelessness’

Six months — that’s how long police in Schaumburg have been going by a woman’s home, to make sure their own chief isn’t harassing her.

CBS 2–10/09/2012

Dawn Davis alleges her former boyfriend, Schaumburg Police Chief Brian Howerton, has harassed her. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Schaumburg’s Top Cop Accused Of Stalking Ex-Girlfriend

CBS 2’s Pam Zekman has an exclusive interview with the woman who says she now fears for her safety.

10/08/2012

Taxi

2 Investigators: Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud When Using A Cab

Getting into a cab is supposed to be a convenience, but in some cases using a credit or debit card to pay for that cab can end with hundreds of dollars in overcharges.

CBS 2–09/26/2012

A CTA train. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Texting CTA Train Operator Caught On Video

CBS 2′s Pam Zekman looks into the case of a CTA train operator who was seen texting while running a moving train.

CBS 2–09/24/2012

Stack of cash (CBS)

2 Investigators: Township Schools Treasurer Gets Questionable $539K Payment

CBS 2′s Pam Zekman and the Better Government Association investigate.

09/20/2012

Patricia McNamara died in this McHenry County accident. (courtesy: Mark Dinos)

2 Investigators: Distracted Driver Gets Leniency After Fatal Wreck

The family of a woman killed in a 2011 traffic accident is angry that the driver who caused the wreck got off relatively easy, even though he allegedly was using his phone at the time. CBS 2′s Pam Zekman reports.

08/27/2012

Are food carts safe? A 2 Investigators report suggests they may not be. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Food Cart Dangers

CBS 2 checked out eight food carts in Chicago and found potential health dangers that could make customers sick. Pam Zekman reports.

08/16/2012

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