Whistle-blower helped bring down gov.

January 9, 2009 8:51:30 AM PST
Long before the governor's house of cards began collapsing, a Naperville executive made a decision that would eventually bring down the governor.Edward Hospital CEO Pam Davis was so angry at being subjected to an alleged state shakedown she went to the FBI and wound up working undercover for eight months.

The beginning of the end for Gov. Blagojevich was actually five years ago when authorities say some of the governor's cronies tried to muscle an unsuspecting suburban hospital boss.

But unlike other business executives who were willing to pay-to-play, Naperville hospital president Pamela Meyer Davis wasn't about to roll over.

"I felt that there was something very, very wrong and it was right at that moment that I made the decision I should call the FBI," said Davis, Edward Hospital CEO.

What Pam Davis told FBI agents that day in 2003 was that financier Nicholas Hurtgen had tried to shake her down. She said Hurtgen demanded that Edward Hospital hire his company and a certain politically connected construction firm or its expansion plan to Plainfield would be denied by the state.

"I had my personal suspicions that it would go all the way up to the level of the governor," said Davis.

And so the FBI asked Davis, a grandmother of six, to wear a wire.

"For females, you typically wear it in your bra and that is where I was wearing it," said Davis. "I was trying to run a very busy regional medical center with 5000 employees while I do this sort of second full time job of working undercover."

Conversations she recorded the next eight months exposed pay to play hospital deals and resulted in the arrests of several clout-heavy players including state hospital board honcho Stuart Levine, former Democratic party official Joe Cari, Junior and Blagojevich fundraiser Tony Rezko.

"Part of what amazed me throughout this whole investigation was how absolutely corrupt and arrogant the individuals involved were," said Davis.

It was an investigation that would wind its way to Gov. Rod Blagojevich, just as Pam Davis suspected it would five years ago when she stood up to the governor's men.

"They felt they were so smart and powerful that whatever they attempted to do was well within their control and they would never be stopped," said Davis.

Even as Gov. Blagojevich remains in political and legal limbo, the financier who allegedly tried to shake down Pam Davis five years ago hasn't even gone to trial yet. He denies all pay to play allegations and is due to go on trial March 9.

As for Edward Hospital, the project to expand into Plainfield has still not received state approval. But it's not lost on her and others that some making the decision are still Blagojevich appointees.

Davis will be featured as "Person of the Week" on ABC's World News airing at 5:30 p.m., Friday, January 9, on ABC 7.


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