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 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

Better Government Association logo. (Credit: BGA)

BGA, 2 Investigators: County Treasurer Holds Wedding In Her Office During Business Hours

Is she a wedding planner now? We’re talking about Cook County treasurer Maria Pappas.

05/30/2013

Better Government Association logo. (Credit: BGA)

BGA, 2 Investigators: Ambulance Breakdowns Could Prove Deadly

It could have been a matter of life or death last month when a city ambulance broke down while rushing a gunshot victim to a hospital for emergency care. How could that happen? Pam Zekman and the Better Government Association investigate.

05/22/2013

A plastic gun. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Can 3D Printers Be Used To Make Untraceable Plastic Guns?

Imagine a gun that can’t be traced and can pass right through security without being detected. A Texas man announced last week that he’d made one using something called a 3D printer.

05/15/2013

Light sculptures along Congress Parkway cost the city $3.4 million. (Credit: CBS)

2 Investigators: Light Sculptures Cost Chicago Taxpayers Millions

Chicago is synonymous with classic architecture, and public art projects like the Picasso and the so-called “Bean” at Millennium Park. Now there’s a newly unveiled light sculpture project in the South Loop. We asked 2- investigator Pam Zekman to check out how much it cost. And who is paying for it?

05/08/2013

Illinois State Police decal. (CBS)

2 Investigators: State Police Retirees Draw Six-Figure Pensions

Retire at 50 and collect more than $100,000 a year – that’s the plan for a special group of state workers. CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

04/29/2013

Spirit Airlines

2 Investigators: Questions Surround Man’s Death On Airplane

A Chicago man onboard a spirit airlines flight from Las Vegas to Chicago this past Monday died and 2 investigator Pam Zekman has learned there are questions about emergency training for staff and medical equipment on board that plane.

04/10/2013

School bus accident in Wadsworth. (CBS)

Intersection Where Bus, Jeep Collided Has A Problematic Past

Fifty-three accidents occurred there between 2004 and 2011. The wrecks left 24 people injured and one dead, the Illinois Department of Transportation reports.

04/05/2013

Harrah's Casino, Joliet. (CBS)

2 Investigators, BGA: Casino Treats Joliet Officials To VIP Cards

It’s not illegal, but it’s a bad bet, the BGA says. 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports.

04/04/2013

Draft Beer

BGA, 2 Investigators: Taverns Give Campaign Cash To Mayors Who Regulate Them

At least 50 mayors who double as liquor commissioners have taken campaign contributions totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the same bars they watch over. CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

02/26/2013

2 Investigators/BGA

2 Investigators, BGA: Suburban Cops Form Motorcycle Club

On-duty, they are police officers who took an oath to enforce the law. Off-duty, they formed a motorcycle club that looks like it supports outlaw biker gangs.

02/19/2013

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