© 2023 WVIK
Listen at 90.3 FM and 98.3 FM in the Quad Cities, 95.9 FM in Dubuque, or on the WVIK app!
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Former Thomson warden says his supervisors told him to "grin and bear it" when prisoners claimed staff wanted them to kill him

the federal prison in Thomson, Illinois.
US Bureau of Prisons
the federal prison in Thomson, Illinois.

Thomas Bergami served as warden at the federal prison from early 2022 through July, when he retired.

Thomas Bergami called WVIK News after he read what union president, Jon Zumkehr, told us an NPR article left out. Bergami says evidence that members of Thomson prison staff threatened his life is detailed in a hand-written letter inmates sent to him.

The former warden says the threats were was not properly investigated. And staff who had been temporarily removed from their posts went back to work after a few days.

Bergami says he decided to leave after the Bureau of Prisons North Central Regional Director, Andrew Matavousian and his deputy, told him to "grin and bear it."

Bergami won't let us use his voice on the air but we can quote him. "I filed a whistleblower [complaint] because my own supervisors would support what he [Zumkehr] was doing with his black shirt Mafia and his staff that were abusing inmates, just like you read in that [NPR] story. That was all true. But I blame it ultimately on the regional director for not allowing us to hold Zumkehr accountable and all those staff."

Officially, Michelle's title is WVIK News Editor. She does everything there is to do in the newsroom and whatever may be needed around the radio station.
Related Content