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DuPage hospital CEO decries government 'shakedown'
By Jake Griffin | Daily Herald Staff

Pam Davis


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Published: 12/9/2008 1:08 PM | Updated: 12/9/2008 6:36 PM

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Four years ago, Pam Davis, CEO of Edward Hospital in Naperville, alerted federal authorities to an alleged extortion attempt by Rod Blagojevich's underlings.

Davis wore a wire to help the FBI make the case that Edward's request to build a new hospital in Plainfield would be denied by the state unless she gave some of the construction work to a specific developer.

That scandal marked the beginning of the avalanche of charges that literally led to governor's doorstep with his massive criminal charges.

Davis' reaction to Tuesday's events? How did this go on so long?

"It's absolutely astounding that the governor and his cronies allegedly continued unrepentantly to shakedown hospitals more than four years after Stuart Levine and others attempted to extort me and Edward Hospital," she said in a statement. "It's equally appalling that public and regulatory officials entrusted with overseeing the regulation of important issues, such as health care, have abused that trust."

The man accused of shaking down Davis, Stuart Levine, is in prison, convicted of mail fraud and money laundering.

But the allegations of attempting to extort campaign donations from another hospital executive allegedly occurred just a few weeks ago.

Blagojevich sought to rescind $8 million in state funds awarded to Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago because hospital CEO Patrick Magoon did not contribute $50,000 to the governor's campaign war chest, according to Tuesday's criminal complaint. Court papers say Blagojevich discussed taking the money back with an unnamed "deputy governor" on Oct. 8.

Children's Memorial issued a brief statement saying no one from the hospital participated in any pay-to-play scheme. Hospital officials said the $8 million was intended to help cover payments to doctors who care for Medicaid patients.

"Children's Memorial is very disappointed that the $8 million in Illinois funding that the pediatric providers of Illinois believed would enable them to care for Illinois' neediest children has been tied to an alleged pay-to-play scheme," the statement said. "If such allegations are true, Children's Memorial, pediatric physicians and the children of Illinois have been victimized."