Trump Tower Chicago. Photo by Andrew Seaman, Creative Commons license 2.0

The chief operating officer of a Chicago hospital has shitcanned himself after creating a huge scandal by offering coronavirus vaccinations to all sorts of people working in businesses that happen to be in his personal orbit, instead of to people in the communities the hospital serves. In one of those stories that leaves you exclaiming "Holy shit!" with each new paragraph, Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold summarizes the outrageous fuckery, which was first uncovered by Chicago nonprofit journalism outfit Block Club Chicago. Excellent community muckraking!

Anosh Ahmed, COO of Loretto Hospital, which serves Chicago's West and South sides, stepped down yesterday (good luck in your future endeavors, etc) following a weeks-long saga of horribleness that started when staff at Trump Tower Chicago were given vaccinations on March 10 and 11, even though that was well ahead of hotel workers' eligibility to receive the vaccine. A Trump Tower spokesperson told Block Club Chicago the vaccines were part of the "Protect Chicago Plus campaign," although oopsies, the Chicago Department of Public Health said it wasn't aware of any approved vaccination events at Trump Tower.

Instead, the Protect Chicago Plus vaccines were supposed to go to residents in "15 community areas on the city's South and West sides hit hard by COVID-19. The Downtown area, where Trump Tower is located, is not among them."

It's no doubt all just a big misunderstanding, and totally unrelated to the coincidental detail that Mr. Ahmed owns a $2.7 million luxury condo in the Trump palace of gaudy excess.

But wait, there's more! We'll go with Fahrenthold's summary here and there, for conciseness:


In addition, the hospital offered vaccines to county judges and congregants at Loretto Hospital CEO George Miller's church. A hospital spokeswoman said only eligible congregants were given vaccines.

Well that makes it perfectly fine, then, because we bet that church is in one of the very neighborhoods the vaccines were supposed to go. What's that? The church was in the suburbs instead? 17 miles from Loretto Hospital? Oh dear, that seems bad too.

And then there's Ahmed's favorite luxury watch shop, which also seems not to have been targeted by the health authorities. (Actually, we're speculating there. Maybe it's only his second-favorite watch shop; we didn't look into that.)

Loretto Hospital also held a March 3 vaccination event at a Gold Coast shop called Geneva Seal, which sells jewelry and designer watches worth $20,000 — and more. Ahmed is a frequent customer there and has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at the shop, a source said.

The shop at 112 E. Oak St. is far from Loretto Hospital — and the vaccinations were offered to ineligible people who own and work at the high-end boutiques along the Gold Coast, as well as their family and friends, sources said.

Block Club Chicago notes that a woman who was invited to the event (she knew an employee at a Gold Coast shop) said that people attending the vaccination clinic at the watch shop were told to just list Geneva Seal's address instead of their home addresses. Isn't that clever?

Fahrenthold says that after that report came out, "the hospital's board met but decided not to terminate Ahmed."

But the last straw came Wednesday, when yet another report from Block Club Chicago revealed that vaccines went to employees at a pricey steakhouse frequented by Ahmed — the restaurant was yet another Gold Coast business, "Maple & Ash, a trendy, high-end steakhouse at 8 W. Maple St. Reservations at the steakhouse require a $100 deposit, and steaks cost up to $180." Several sources said the vaccinations were given to "higher-up workers who would've been ineligible to be vaccinated," in early to mid February. One worker at the restaurant said Ahmed dines there weekly. Guess he's a good tipper! At the time restaurant workers weren't yet "frontline workers" on Chicago's priority list, to say nothing of restaurant managers.

Another anonymous tipster who's "close to Ahmed" but didn't want to be identified out of fear of retaliation said Ahmed regularly held business meetings at Maple & Ash, and that the tabs for the meals would often run around $1,000. Gee, we can see why he'd want the staff to be safe from the virus! It's not like he was eating with the scum in the neighborhoods where the vaccines were supposed to go.

Just about the only good-ish news in this parade of horribles is that as soon as the vaccinations in Trump Tower were reported last week, the supply of vaccines to Loretto Hospital was cut off and the city sought new providers to get the nearby neighborhoods vaccinated.

"I fear that we're going to hear more stories. Which is why we pushed pause on giving Loretto new first doses," [Chicago Mayor Lori] Lightfoot said in a news conference Monday. 'They've got work to do, I think, to rebuild trust in their own community."

In another bit of news that brightened our bitter old hearts, we also see that Lightfoot is warning Chicago employers they'll face $5,000 fines if they retaliate against workers who need time off from work to get vaccinated. Presumably we're not talking about luxury watch consultants there.

Oh yes, let's cap off all this fuckery with one more example, shall we?

Last week, Block Club Chicago also reported that Ahmed had bragged that he had also vaccinated Eric Trump, the former president's son. Later, the hospital issued a statement from Ahmed saying that he had only been joking.

Eric Trump has not responded to requests for comment.

Welp, if anyone knows about being a joke, it's Eric Trump.

[WaPo / Block Club Chicago / Block Club Chicago / Photo: Andrew Seaman, Creative Commons license 2.0]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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