Pulitzer-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.
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.
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.
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.
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’s Pam Zekman has an exclusive interview with the woman who says she now fears for her safety.
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′s Pam Zekman looks into the case of a CTA train operator who was seen texting while running a moving train.
CBS 2′s Pam Zekman and the Better Government Association investigate.
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.
CBS 2 checked out eight food carts in Chicago and found potential health dangers that could make customers sick. Pam Zekman reports.
One of the country’s largest gold buyers has shut down, and is now under investigation by state and federal agencies.
Rev. Jeannie Walton told CBS 2’s Pam Zekman about a harrowing bus ride she took with a Megabus trainee who was driving while distracted.
There are growing concerns about nail damage caused by “no-chip” manicures, especially if technicians don’t follow the manufacturer’s instructions. CBS 2′s Pam Zekman reports.
A dozen principals and assistant principals have been removed for allegedly scheming to obtain free or reduced-price school lunches for their own children.
When an elderly woman was struck by a cab and laid in the middle of a North Side street, she unwittingly became an example of a system that allows cab drivers with bad driving records to remain on the streets of Chicago.
The 2 Investigators went undercover to buy fireworks from Chicago stores. Pam Zekman reports.
The Better Government Association is trying to determine if Patrick Zaruba, son of the DuPage County sheriff, had access to a police database. CBS 2′s Pam Zekman reports.
A city commissioner is crediting CBS 2 for helping set up new screening methods to keep dangerous cab drivers off the road. Pam Zekman reports.
Some Northwest Side residents wanted to know why a pothole patch job disintegrated quickly. CBS 2′s Pam Zekman finds out.
The legislature’s failure to pass reform legislation this week means every property owner will continue to pay for it. CBS 2′s Pam Zekman reports.
A CBS investigation in five cities found the company makes millions of dollars by giving customers some bad deals. 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports.