Extra Extra : November 2011

Las Vegas homeowners struggling to stay above water

"Housing experts now estimate more than 100,000 homes in the Las Vegas valley have been foreclosed since 2007. Bad enough, but they also predict another 100,000 could face foreclosure before the housing crisis ends."

KLAS, in Las Vegas, has been reporting on the mortgage crisis since 2007, but their latest series of investigations may be the hardest hitting. Lawmakers are now working with homeowners and have created the Nevada Foreclosure Mediation Program.

CA hospital has high rate of heart failure; may be linked to Medicare payments

Day care provider charging Ohio tens of thousands of dollars

"A day care provider at a state subsidized facility billed taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in 2010, but it is unclear what she did to earn it. "

"Exclusive video of a day care center taken by 10 Investigates became the center of a Franklin County fraud investigation after weeks of surveillance  showed very few children entering its doors while the owner of the day care charged the county thousands of dollars, 10 Investigates’ Paul Aker reported."

Billions wasted on empty NY state offices

In an investigation by Jim Hoffer, WABC-TV, it was discovered that New York is squandering away billions of dollars on unused real estate.

In Manhattan alone, the state owns buildings that are worth about a total of one billion dollars, but 25% of the real estate goes unused. What's more shocking is that some state departments are leasing office space, even when state owned buildings across the street sit empty.

EPA releases secret 'watch list' that includes chronic polluters

Two decades ago, Democrats and Republicans together sought to protect Americans from nearly 200 dangerous chemicals in the air they breathe. That goal remains unfulfilled. Today, hundreds of communities are still exposed to the pollutants, which can cause cancer, birth defects and other health issues. An ongoing investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, with NPR and the Investigative News Network uncovers the secret ‘watch list’ that underscores what government knows about the threat — and how little it has done to address it.

Is cronyism taking place in the ATL airport?

"Atlanta's Fox 5 I-team has learned that a government watchdog group is also worried about the perception of cronyism with the city's massive food and beverage contracts at the airport.

The director of Common Cause says part of the problem is campaign contributions to Mayor Kasim Reed from companies trying to win lucrative airport contracts.

FOX 5 counted up more than $80,000 contributed to Reed from nearly three dozen airport concession companies. However, the mayor did return some of the money."

Youths held in adult jails face higher risk of attack

ScrippsNews' Isaac Wolf found that "for thousands of teens accused of crimes, punishment precedes any conviction in court. While awaiting trial and ostensibly presumed innocent, they can be held for months or even years in county jails for -- and sometimes with -- adult suspects.

Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics data shows, in 2010, roughly 5,600 suspects at any given time lack "sight and sound" protection."

Worldwide freedom of information laws widely ignored

"A flurry of freedom of information laws adopted over the past decade has given more than 5.3 billion people worldwide the right, on paper, to know what their governments are doing behind closed doors.

However, The Associated Press found in the first worldwide test of this promised freedom of information, that more than half the countries with right-to-know laws do not follow them."

"Retired" NJ budget guru collecting thousands in pension payments

NJ Governor Chris Christie hired Louis C. Goetting in 2010 as a budget guru to help trim the cost of government.  But Goetting resembles a problem, not a solution, according to a New Jersey Watchdog analysis of his employment history.

Despite the fact that Goetting was hired to help with the budget, he has raked in "$1.1 million from two severance payouts and an early retirement deal.  In addition, Goetting collects $219,000 a year from the state – a $130,000 salary plus $89,000 in pension payments."

Testing on new Bay Bridge could be flawed

"A Sacramento Bee investigation has found that the California Department of Transportation technician who conducted key testing on the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has been discipilined for fabricating test results on other projects.

The technician, Duane Wiles, also failed to verify that his testing gauge was operating properly, as required by Caltrans to ensure the gauge's accuracy, before he examined parts of the Bay Bridge tower foundation."