FBI investigates private Chicago hospital that gave ineligible vaccines to Trump Tower staff

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Dr. Anosh Ahmed, the COO and CFO of Chicago's Loretto Hospital, resigned from his position in March amid the scandal

Dr. Anosh Ahmed, the COO and CFO of Chicago’s Loretto Hospital, resigned from his position in March after it was revealed that he was able to get the vaccine for 70 employees at Trump Tower – where he lived in a $2.7 million condominium – almost three weeks before they were officially eligible for the shot 

The FBI has launched a probe into a private Chicago hospital that admitted in March to prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations to its CFO’s neighbors and staff at his favorite high-end restaurants and stores – despite the recipients not yet being eligible for the shot.

Dr. Anosh Ahmed, the COO and CFO of Chicago’s Loretto Hospital, resigned from his position in March after it was revealed that he was able to get the vaccine for 70 employees at Trump Tower – where he lived in a $2.7 million condominium – almost three weeks before they were officially eligible for the shot.

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Ahmed, 37, also vaccinated workers at luxury jewelry shop Geneva Seal and Maple and Ash, a high-end steakhouse where reservations require a $100 deposit.

Loretto Hospital, in the city’s Oak Park neighborhood, has since become the subject of two federal grand jury subpoenas, which were issued ‘pursuant to an official criminal investigation’ to the Illinois Department of Public Health in May and September, according to Block Club Chicago.

They seek patient records and additional documents related to the hospital’s vaccination distribution on March 10 and 11, though they make no wrongdoing against any Loretto official and do not spell out the scope of the grand jury investigation or its intended targets, the news outlet reported.

Loretto administrators could not be reached for comment.

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The first subpoena, issued on May 27, regards 70 people inoculated through Loretto on March 10 and another 47 people vaccinated by Loretto the next day at an off-site event. 

A second subpoena, issued on September 15, included a broader request from the hospital for all records on any COVID-19 vaccinations administered by Loretto at any location on those two days in March, according to Block Club Chicago. 

The FBI has launched a probe into private Chicago hospital Loretto Hospital that admitted in March to prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations to ineligible residents

The FBI has launched a probe into private Chicago hospital Loretto Hospital that admitted in March to prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations to ineligible residents

He owns a $2.7 million condo in Trump Tower

The hospital released its own audit stating that it administered 70 unapproved, ineligible vaccines at Trump Tower on March 10, but it lists no vaccination event where 47 more people were inoculated 

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The hospital also gave 'ineligible' vaccines to staff at luxury jewelry shop Geneva Seal (pictured) and Maple and Ash, a high-end steakhouse

The hospital also gave ‘ineligible’ vaccines to staff at luxury jewelry shop Geneva Seal (pictured) and Maple and Ash, a high-end steakhouse

The hospital released its own audit stating that it administered 70 unapproved, ineligible vaccines at Trump Tower on March 10, but it lists no vaccination event where 47 more people were inoculated.

The hospital’s audit, published by watchdog group the Better Government Association, notes the 70 ineligible vaccinations given to Trump Tower, as well as 49 ineligible vaccinations given to Geneva Seal.

It also includes 236 vaccinations distributed at various locations to individuals listed as ‘decided eligible,’ but does not go into detail the improper vaccinations or how hospital administration determined how some recipients were ‘decided eligible.’ 

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Chicago attorney Stephen Lee, who formerly served as a senior counsel to the Chicago U.S. attorney’s health care fraud unit, reviewed the subpoenas for Block Club Chicago.

He said to the news outlet, ‘This is not a fishing expedition. Sometimes these investigations don’t really go anywhere, but there’s something they’re looking into, and it’s something more than just what’s unethical.’

Ahmed, 37, is said to have told acquaintances that he vaccinated Donald Trump 's son, Eric

Ahmed, 37, is said to have told acquaintances that he vaccinated Donald Trump ‘s son, Eric

Ahmed's resignation sparked calls for the removal of the hospital's president George Miller, who oversaw the vaccine distribution

Ahmed’s resignation sparked calls for the removal of the hospital’s president George Miller, who oversaw the vaccine distribution

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Ahmed, 37, is said to have told acquaintances that he vaccinated Donald Trump ‘s son, Eric, an executive at the Trump Organization and sent a picture around of himself posing with Eric Trump , although he later said that it was ‘a joke’.

Eric Trump is an executive vice president and trustee of the Trump Organization, which owns the Trump Tower hotel and residence, but the millionaire would not have been eligible to be vaccinated in Chicago.

The workers from the Trump Tower in Chicago had its workers receive the shot on March 10th despite city guidelines saying the employees of hotels and residential buildings would not be eligible until March 29th.

A little over 10 per cent of the city’s 2.7m population was vaccinated in March when the scandal took place.  

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The Democrat Mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot said she was ‘disappointed’ at the news

There was high demand for the vaccine in Chicago at the time of the scandal, as just over 10 per cent of the city's 2.7m population had their first dose at the time

There was high demand for the vaccine in Chicago at the time of the scandal, as just over 10 per cent of the city’s 2.7m population had their first dose at the time

At the time, Chicago vaccination centers were limiting the vaccine to vulnerable populations, including people over 65, prisoners, teachers and first responders, not hotel workers or those in hospitality.

The action for the 72 injections was approved by the hospital’s chief executive, George Miller who justified the injections by noting that the employees were ‘predominantly black and brown,’ and the event had been requested by Trump employees who live on Chicago’s West Side, near the hospital according to Block Club Chicago.

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The small 122-bed hospital is nine miles from the luxury tower block in downtown Chicago and situated in a mainly black neighborhood where people have been hit hard by coronavirus and few have been vaccinated.

The hospital has said it ‘mistakenly vaccinated’ the workers and that their mission is to provide vaccines to the ‘minority communities hardest hit’ by the pandemic.

‘We were, at the time, under the impression that restaurant and other front line hospitality industry workers were considered ‘essential’ under the City of Chicago’s 1B eligibility requirements,’ Miller said in a statement.

‘I now understand, after subsequent conversations with the Chicago Department of Public Health, that we were mistaken.’

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Following news of the ineligible vaccinations, the city’s health department suspended vaccine doses to Loretto until the situation was remedied.

After Ahmed resigned, it sparked calls for the removal of the hospital’s president George Miller – who took responsibility for the vaccinations. More than 250 people have since signed a petition calling for Miller to be removed from his role.

The hospital's audit, published by watchdog group the Better Government Association , notes the 70 ineligible vaccinations given to Trump Tower, as well as 49 ineligible vaccinations given to Geneva Seal

The hospital’s audit, published by watchdog group the Better Government Association , notes the 70 ineligible vaccinations given to Trump Tower, as well as 49 ineligible vaccinations given to Geneva Seal

Statement from Loretto Hospital 

On March 10 and 11, 2021, The Loretto Hospital infectious disease team vaccinated 72 predominately black and brown restaurant, housekeeping, and other hotel support personnel at Trump International Chicago. 

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Stemming from requests from West side residents who work at the hotel and were unable to leave their jobs to be vaccinated during regular in-hospital hours, this effort was one of multiple off-site community vaccination initiatives undertaken by The Loretto Hospital in accordance with its mission of ensuring vaccine accessibility to the minority communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The vaccine doses used were from The Loretto Hospital’s vaccine allotment, not from Protect Chicago Plus allocations, which are reserved specifically for Austin residents. 

The Chicago Department of Public Health has been in contact with hospital leadership to clarify the department’s guidance regarding community vaccinations moving forward.   

On March 23, the day before Ahmed resigned, State Rep. LaShawn Ford stepped down from the hospital’s board. Two days later, Chicago’s progressive Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for an independent investigation into the hospital’s vaccinations.

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The scope of Loretto’s vaccination distribution has also been the subject of scrutiny following the scandal. Loretto is a safety-net hospital serving 79 per cent black residents, to whom the vaccinations were intended to go as the coronavirus pandemic hit low-income communities of color hardest.

However, Lorreto’s internal research, also obtained by the Better Government Association, reveals that 30 percent of people who got their shots at Loretto were white and 24 percent were Asian, while only 27 percent were Black and 12 percent Hispanic or Latino.

At the time, she said in a statement, ‘We have a finite amount of vaccine in the city. We’ve been really, really careful to make sure that we’re using it in a way that prioritizes the most vulnerable people who are most at risk and most at risk of spreading it. We cannot have something like this happen again.’

She continued, ‘They know it was a mistake. I’ve asked Dr. Arwady to dig deeper to make sure that … to trust but verify. To make sure that what they told us, the COO who decided to host this event, that it was limited to hotel workers and not some other circumstances. But they recognize that this was a mistake and absolutely can never be repeated. It’s a cautionary tale for any other provider.’ 

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Loretto Hospital CEO’s letter to staff

Loretto Hospital CEO, George Miller, wrote a letter to hospital staff to explain the fiasco

Loretto Hospital CEO, George Miller, wrote a letter to hospital staff to explain the fiasco

On March 10, I authorized The Loretto Hospital infectious disease team to vaccinate 72 predominately Black and brown restaurant, housekeeping, and other hotel support personnel at Trump International Chicago. 

Similar to other community vaccination efforts we have undertaken, this stemmed from requests from West side residents who work at the hotel and were unable to leave their jobs to be vaccinated during regular in-hospital hours. 

We were, at the time, under the impression that restaurant and other frontline hospitality industry workers were considered ‘essential’ under the City of Chicago’s 1B eligibility requirements. 

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I now understand, after subsequent conversations with the Chicago Department of Public Health, that we were mistaken.

The vaccination doses used at the hotel were from our Loretto vaccine allotment. 

They were not part of Protect Chicago Plus allocations, which are designated for and being administered exclusively to Austin residents. 

Our mission remains focused on ensuring vaccine accessibility to the minority communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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We have met the community where they are, responding to requests to vaccinate 1B-eligible brothers and sisters at Malcolm X College, subsidized senior housing facilities operated by Habilitative Systems, Inc., Featherfist Women’s Shelter, By The Hand Club For Kids, Moving Everest charter school, CPD’s 15th Precinct, and several community churches. 

I am proud to work alongside a team that has so tirelessly and selflessly devoted itself to this mission.

George Miller CEO  

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