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.

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

Computer keyboard (CBS)

2 Investigators: Website Demands $250 To Remove ‘Revenge Porn’

There’s a new trend called “revenge porn” that’s leaving lots of people red-faced and feeling violated. CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

02/18/2013

The city of Chicago shuts down a tax preparer's operation recently. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Tax Preparers May Be Ripping You Off

2 Investigator Pam Zekman tagged along with a city investigator to see how Chicagoans can get ripped off from tax preparers.

02/04/2013

Police, generic desk duty illustration. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Accused Cops Draw Desk-Duty Salaries, Sometimes For Years

Some Chicago police officers accused of misconduct have been stripped of their powers and placed on paid desk duty. CBS 2′s Pam Zekman reports.

01/31/2013

A handicapped parking placard. (CBS)

2 Investigators: Crackdown On Disabled-Parking Fraud Backfires

One Chicago officer isn’t applying handicapped-parking laws correctly when ticketing able-bodied drivers who are shuttling patients to the hospital. CBS 2′s Pam Zekman reports.

01/21/2013

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

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