Extra Extra : Organizations

Family members beat the odds in winning prized firefighting jobs

The Los Angeles Times uncovered a pattern of nepotism within the L.A. County Fire Department. The newspaper found that nearly 7 percent of the 2,750 firefighters are the sons of department veterans. Taking into account others such as brothers and nephews, relatives account for 13 percent of the staff, the investigation found.

The report also uncovers how interview questions – which should be locked away – have been passed around the department, landing in the hands of firefighters' family members as material to aid their preparations.

Athletes, teams donate big to political campaigns

An investigative team analyzed thousands of financial records from federal, state and local elections and discovered how sports teams, owners and athletes are contributing to political campaigns.

The 10 Investigates team from Tampa Bay and Sarasota’s 10 News found that many of the area’s major teams have contributed political funds – usually toward the state’s dominant party. The experts they interviewed suggest the money is seen as an investment to tip legislators toward passing stadium-friendly legislation.

To read and watch the full story, click here.

Extra Extra Monday: Uneven assessments, National Guard misconduct, Chicago migration myth

Across Wisconsin, uneven property assessments fly in the face of fairness | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By measure after measure, in cities, towns and villages across Wisconsin, property assessors are discounting uniformity and trampling on fairness, while officials with the state Department of Revenue do little to rectify the disparities, an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has found.

In dozens of communities, 20% or more of residential property taxes are being paid by the wrong people, according to the Journal Sentinel's analysis of Department of Revenue records for each of the state's 1,852 municipalities. The analysis considered communities ...

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Judge 'sickened' by abuse program's failures

Minnesota law mandates that child-protection agencies investigate child abuse cases with evidence of egregious harm and substantial endangerment. Yet since 2005, more than 20,000 cases of children deemed at “high risk” for more abuse have been routed to family assessment, in which social workers don’t investigate the cases and instead try to work with families.

A Star Tribune review of more than 400 child abuse cases found family assessment was used after children were reported to have been severely physically and sexually abused or abandoned. The review showed that dozens of children were later harmed, including at least ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Injury-leave program, secret service fumbles, the cost of rape

Blacks disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession in Pinellas, Hillsborough counties | Tampa Bay Times

Black people in Pinellas and Hillsborough are at least six times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as white people. It's not because of who smokes pot and who doesn’t.

Racial disparities in pot possession arrests is not a new topic. But the disparities are particularly pronounced in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, a Tampa Bay Times analysis found.

 

L.A. pays millions as police and firefighter claims rise | L.A. Times

An injury-leave program for Los Angeles police and firefighters has cost taxpayers ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Florida law allows troubled charter operators to keep running schools

Shuttered: Florida’s Failed Charter Schools | Naples Daily News

As charter schools have boomed in Florida — 622 operated in 2013-14, up from 257 in 2003-04 — many have also busted. Since charter schools were first permitted in 1996, 269 out of nearly 900 opened charter schools have closed, a failure rate of about 30 percent. That tally includes six schools closed in Lee County and two closed in Collier County.

To better understand Florida’s charter school failings, the Daily News undertook a first-of-its-kind task, examining all charter schools that have closed since 2008. The newspaper reviewed hundreds of closure documents ...

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Law Society of Upper Canada often fails to report members to police

They treat client trust accounts as their personal piggy banks, facilitate multi-million-dollar frauds and drain retirement savings of the elderly.

While most lawyers caught stealing from their clients are reprimanded, suspended or disbarred by the profession’s regulator, the vast majority avoid criminal charges, a Toronto Star investigation reveals.

The Star found that more than 230 lawyers sanctioned for criminal-like activity by the Law Society of Upper Canada in the last decade, stole, defrauded or diverted some $61 million held in trust funds for clients.

Fewer than one in five were charged criminally. Most avoided jail.

Unlike the law societies ...

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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 ...

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Spoils of the sea elude many in an Alaska antipoverty plan

“Six nonprofit groups arose on the Bering Sea shore, and they have invested mightily in ships, real estate and processing plants. Over two decades, the groups amassed a combined net worth of $785 million. But the results on the ground, in rural community and economic development, have been deeply uneven, and nonexistent for many people who still gaze out to the blinking lights of the factory ships and wonder what happened," reports Investigate West.