Extra Extra : May 2007

Foreclosure rescue firm preys on those it claims to help

An investigation by Mc Nelly Torres and Jon Burstein of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel revealed that Florida Housing Council, a foreclosure rescue firm, was defrauding the very people it claimed to aid. Interviews with 11 homeowners, in addition to the review of seven lawsuits and hundreds of property records, uncovered a pattern of deception and fraud on the part of FHC and its owner.

Collateral Damage - Human Rights and Military Aid after 9/11

The Center for Public Integrity has published "one of the most comprehensive resources on U.S. military aid and assistance in the post-9/11 era. 'Collateral Damage' couples the reporting of 10 of the world's leading investigative journalists on four continents with a powerful database combining U.S. military assistance, foreign lobbying expenditures, and human rights abuses into a single, easily accessible toolkit."

Delays impeded implementation of air defense system prior to 9/11

Police chief misrepresents crime report to city council

South Florida security questionable

A three-month WTVJ-Miami investigation raised questions about how well Wackenhut, one of the country's biggest security firms, is protecting the South Florida public and whether they're billing taxpayers millions of dollars for guards not even on the job. Investigative producer Scott Zamost and reporter Jeff Burnside tracked down former employees and supervisors, reviewed hundreds of documents and shot video on the Metrorail, which is protected by Wackenhut security, to show what the former guards say is a pattern of unmanned posts and overbilling taxpayers.

Series a look at Tarrant County (TX) schools

In its series "Measuring Up," the Fort Worth Star-Telegram looked at the area's public schools to see how they were performing. Using school test scores and other data, they identified key trends, including: which schools are doing better or worse than expected on state assessments; a large percentage of students requiring remedial help once in college; and that the best teachers are not working in the schools where their skills are needed most. Online databases allow you to look at the data, comparing information such as schools and student performance throughout the region.

Fire chief retires while under investigation

The fire chief of Aurora, Colo. is retiring following a KCNC-Denver reported that "he had apparently played golf during normal work hours on as many as 23 weekdays during an 8 month period." The city had suspended the chief pending its own investigation into the allegations, but the chief has said that he is retiring of his own volition. CBS4 also found allegations, posted on a former assistant city attorney's blog, accusing the chief of carrying on an affair with the attorney's wife. Brian Maass details the CBS4 investigation here.

US soldiers may be using inferior body armor

U.S. troops are not being provided with the best body armor according to an NBC News investigation. Lisa Myers reported that independent ballistics tests commissioned by NBC show that a product called Dragon Skin is safer than the Army-issued Interceptor armor in stopping the most lethal shots. The Army banned Dragon Skin last year before it was formally tested. Some suggest this is because it was not developed by the Army and that its ban was to protect funding for the Interceptor program. Based on its own testing, the CIA has chosen to provided their elite operatives in Iraq ... Read more ...

Mortgage Meltdown

A broadcast and web package from Tisha Thompson of WMAR-Baltimore uncovers the dirt on home mortgage lending in Maryland. The issue of race and credit is explored as a foreclosure boom is forecast due to an increase the number of subprime loans issued. Included are maps of foreclosure "hotspots" and a glossary of lending terms.

IRE and NICAR assisted with the mapping for this story.