Extra Extra : Consumer protection

Audit shows Miss. rural water association plagued by financial problems

An audit of the North Lee County Water Association in Mississippi turned up widespread financial management problems, including violations of several state and federal laws, the Daily Journal (Tupelo, MS) reports.

The audit, which is likely “the most rigorous examination ever” of the nonprofit cooperative's financial records, comes on the heels of a $1.2 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Administration.

While copies of the audit are required to be available for public inspection, the water association did not comply with state law.

The association has been plagued with problems, according to the ...

Read more ...

Extra Extra Monday: Accident reports, deportations and school finances

Jail Crunch | Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

OCCRP reporters filed freedom of information requests to prison authorities across Eastern Europe. The interactive visualization is a compilation of the data received from each prison authority, organized to demonstrate similarities and differences between prison demographics and crime categories across the region.

OCCRP journalists conducted dozens of interviews with convicted criminals throughout Eastern Europe. The videos are an extension of the Jail Crunch visualization and provide a personal window into how crime works in the region.

 

Drivers pay for accident reports | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A private company that sells vehicle accident reports for ...

Read more ...

General Motors recalls Cobalts after series of fatal crashes

The death of 16-year-old Amber Marie, who died when her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt crashed the air bag failed to deploy, was an early warning in what would become a decade-long failure by G.M. and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to address a problem that engineers and regulators had been alerted to years ago.

For a resurgent General Motors, which has twice apologized, the recall is a major embarrassment as it tries to escape the shadow of its bankruptcy and government takeover. It has been sued, and now faces an investigation by the safety agency and the possibility of ...

Read more ...

Extra Extra Special Edition: Vehicle recalls, police misconduct, U.S. Border Patrol tactics

We took a break from publishing Extra Extra during the 2014 CAR Conference. Here are some of the stories that ran while we were away:

 

Fords with faulty transmissions not recalled | WTAE Pittsburgh

Following the redesign of Ford Fiesta and Focus transmissions in 2011, hundreds around the country said they're concerned about the safety of the vehicles. They have reported difficulty shifting as well as odd crunching and grinding noises as the cars change gears.

Dozens of consumers in Western Pennsylvania filed lawsuits alleging that, despite assurances from dealers, the vehicles do not function properly. The cars have not ...

Read more ...

Extra Extra Monday: American Indian casinos, oil field fatalities, student absenteeism

Suicide rate hits 25-year high in region | Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal

Craig Russell Wishnick is one of 238 residents of Dutchess and Ulster counties to die by suicide in the five years ending in 2011, 73 more than in the five years ending in 2003, according to a Poughkeepsie Journal analysis of death certificates over a 13-year period. That is an increase in harder-hit Dutchess of 62 percent and the first hike in the county rate after a quarter-century of steady and solid decline.

 

Does Utah’s air pollution increase school absences? | The Salt Lake Tribune

Health problems are a ...

Read more ...

Chicago ride-sharing company admits its screening missed convictions

A Chicago ride-sharing company did not run complete criminal background checks on thousands of drivers, the Chicago Tribune reported this morning.

The Tribune learned of the lax oversight when it tried to profile a driver for the company, Uber. The driver selected for the story had a felony conviction for residential burglary.

The company later admitted its background checks had missed county-level criminal convictions.

Read the full story here.

Los Angeles payroll company leaves its clients in the lurch

About 150 small business scattered across Southern California used a private payroll company to handle basic tasks including paychecks and W2 forms.

Then the late-tax letters arrived. Their money disappeared. So did the owner of the payroll company, The Los Angeles Times reports.

“Payroll services companies are not subject to rigorous regulation by state or federal bodies that oversee banks and other financial institutions. Nor do most states, including California, require them to be bonded. If the tax money they collect disappears, it is the business owners who are on the hook for the amounts owed, plus interest and penalties ...

Read more ...

Extra Extra Monday: Heroin reaches the suburbs, feds slash gas explosion fines, casinos use hardball tactics to collect debts

Heroin reaching into the suburbs | The (Rochester, N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle

Heroin, long a scourge of inner cities, has infiltrated suburbia and rural towns and is claiming the lives of an increasingly younger, middle-class and white male clientele at an alarming rate.

But new statistics compiled for the Democrat and Chronicle by the office, which investigates suspected drug-related deaths across the region, show that more often than not the victims resided outside the city of Rochester.

 

Cancer-causing chemical PCE contaminates Colorado soil, water and homes | The Denver Post

Spills releasing PCE, the cancer-causing chemical used in dry cleaning and ...

Read more ...

Extra Extra Monday: Secret settlements, data breaches and university lobbyists

Mizzou did not pursue alleged assault | ESPN
The University of Missouri did not investigate or tell law enforcement officials about an alleged rape, possibly by one or more members of its football team, despite administrators finding out about the alleged 2010 incident more than a year ago, an "Outside the Lines" investigation has found. The alleged victim, a member of the swim team, committed suicide in 2011.

Mass. spent millions on secret settlements | The Boston Globe
For years, the state has used confidential settlement and severance deals to make embarrassing problems go away, often requiring workers to promise to keep ...

Read more ...