Resource Center

Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 26,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364573-882-3364  or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.



Search results for "service economy" ...

  • Biggest of the Smalls: The Rise of a Federal Contractor

    In the last decade, the federal government has made an unprecedented push to direct work to small businesses in order to help such firms gain a foothold in the U.S. economy. The amount of money devoted to small business contracting rose 70 percent to $90 billion annually during that period. In this tide of spending, one firm stood out as the paragon of success: MicroTechnologies LLC. Records show it received $1.4 billion in federal technology deals over nine years, much of it reserved for small firms own by minority and service-disabled veteran entrepreneurs. MicroTech became the fastest growing small contractor in the nation. Founder Anthony R. Jimenez, declared it to be the "Biggest of the Smalls." Those deals transformed Jimenez's lifestyle. He bought a mansion -- and then commissioned a quarter-million entertainment system for it. He began driving a $190,000 Mercedes coupe. And he became a top sponsor of multiple martial arts "cage fighting," routinely flying to Las Vegas at company expense. “I am living the American Dream,” he said in a letter to The Washington Post. But MicroTech's extraordinary ascent begged a simple-seeming question: How could such a large company still be eligible to receive contracts set aside for small firms? Until The Post's Robert O'Harrow Jr. dug in, no one in the media or government knew the answer or bothered to check. O'Harrow pushed ahead the old fashioned way: he issued Freedom of Information Act Requests for contracting documents and demanded government officials open their files. His investigation found that MicroTech had misled the government and the public about its ownership and operations to get access to preferential contracts and burnish its own image. In doing so, the firm abused taxpayers and deprived other small firms access to hundreds of million in deals. In response to those findings, the government suspended MicroTech from contracting and changed some contracting rules. Two inspectors general offices are investigating and Congress has launched its own probes.

    Tags: government contract; small business;

    By Robert O'Harrow

    Washington Post

    2013

  • Biggest of the Smalls: The Rise of a Federal Contractor

    In the last decade, the federal government has made an unprecedented push to direct work to small businesses in order to help such firms gain a foothold in the U.S. economy. The amount of money devoted to small business contracting rose 70 percent to $90 billion annually during that period. In this tide of spending, one firm stood out as the paragon of success: MicroTechnologies LLC. Records show it received $1.4 billion in federal technology deals over nine years, much of it reserved for small firms own by minority and service-disabled veteran entrepreneurs. MicroTech became the fastest growing small contractor in the nation. Founder Anthony R. Jimenez, declared it to be the "Biggest of the Smalls." Those deals transformed Jimenez's lifestyle. He bought a mansion -- and then commissioned a quarter-million entertainment system for it. He began driving a $190,000 Mercedes coupe. And he became a top sponsor of multiple martial arts "cage fighting," routinely flying to Las Vegas at company expense. “I am living the American Dream,” he said in a letter to The Washington Post. But MicroTech's extraordinary ascent begged a simple-seeming question: How could such a large company still be eligible to receive contracts set aside for small firms? Until The Post's Robert O'Harrow Jr. dug in, no one in the media or government knew the answer or bothered to check. O'Harrow's investigation found that MicroTech had misled the government and the public about its ownership and operations to get access to preferential contracts and burnish its own image. In doing so, the firm abused taxpayers and deprived other small firms access to hundreds of million in deals. In response to those findings, the government suspended MicroTech from contracting and changed some contracting rules. Two inspectors general offices are investigating and Congress has launched its own probes.

    Tags: small business; money; government; business

    By Robert O'Harrow Jr.

    The Washington Post

    2013

  • Pension Bonanza

    The state of Illinois is in a large amount of debt due to its pension plan, which is causing services to be eliminated. The pension plan has allowed some government retirees to become millionaires and others earning “at least $100,000 a year”. This is one of the reasons the state is in large debt and the fact the pension plan is costing “more than $800 million a month”.

    Tags: workers; taxes; taxpayers; economy; expense; burden; retirement; benefits; money; Quinn

    By Tim Novak; Art Golab; Dave McKinney

    Chicago Sun-Times

    2009

  • Building a Life, Paycheck to Paycheck

    In this seven-day series, reporters at The Oklahoman look at the sources of poverty, unemployment, and the lasting effects on Oklahoma residents. This in-depth investigation not only identifies some of the major causes of unemployment in the state, but also puts a face on the working poor, highlighting four Oklahoma residents who struggle to make it. According to the series, a major source of unemployment came from a shift from manufacturing to service jobs. As a result of the stories, there was outpour of help in the community as well as a community forum for residents to share ideas and experiences.

    Tags: health care; unemployment; working poor; social service organizations; Citizens League of Oklahoma; service economy; living wage

    By Steve Lackmeyer;Ryan McNeill;John Perry;Judy Gibbs Robinson

    The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK)

    2004

  • Inside Jobs. Mr. Schwalb is putting his inmates to work for the private sector. As prison population surges, service economy offers rich source of chores. Labor, business are livid.

    This article talks about FPI -- Federal Prison Industries. In the past FPI has only produced goods for the government, but now it may start producing goods for the private sector as well. This article explains how that might work, and what potential problems may arise.

    Tags: FPI; Federal Prison Industries; private sector; producing; manufacturing; goods; prisoners; work; jobs

    By Rodney Ho

    Wall Street Journal (New York)

    1999

  • Signs of Revival: Some Unions Step Up Organizing Campaigns And Get New Members

    The Journal finds that the U.S. labor movement has been "winning a few," as the numbers of union workers increased 3% over two years. Unions are shifting their strategies, the story reveals. Many are pouring money into organizing campaigns and targeting low-wage service workers. The reporter exemplifies the issue with the success stories of several unions, and finds that their revival could possibly solve the problem with the stark class divisions in America

    Tags: labor; business; employment; garbage workers; low income; poverty; wages; unemployment; flight attendants; economy

    By G. Pascal Zachary

    Wall Street Journal (New York)

    1995

  • The Underground Economy: Illegal Markets in America

    A Marketplace week-long investigative series explores "how underground entrepreneurs - or criminals - make their business work while operating in ... America's many illegal markets." Washington-based reporter Steven Henn reveals how, in one way or another, government has pushed underground many industries and activities - including currency exchange, drugs, gun sales and ownership, gambling, abortion services, prostitution and midwives' birth-help practice. The series poises the question: Are these industries made more or less dangerous and abhorrent now that they have been pushed underground? One of the main reporting challenges has been protecting the identity of the interviewed criminals.

    Tags: AUDIO TAPE; TRANSCRIPT; money laundering; drugs; gambling; trafficking; guns; drug dealers; CIA; intelligence; OECD; economy; personal safety; black markets; peso exchange

    By Stephen Henn

    Marketplace Productions (Los Angeles)

    2001

  • Air Piracy

    Goozner examines the predatory policy that major airplane companies use "to drive an upstart competitors from a route, or out of business entirely." In spite of the deregulation of the airline industry, which started more than 20 years ago and was meant to improve air travel services, these services have been constantly deteriorating over the years, the story finds. The author points out that "even longtime friends of deregulation have grown frustrated by the industry's seemingly inexorable march toward monopolization." The main conclusion is that the government should re-regulate the industry to preserve the benefits of competition while reducing bad customer service.

    Tags: business; dumping; hub-and-spoke system; economy; technology; leisure travel; Department of Transportation; airports; Chicago O'Hare; Air Carrier Association of America; politics; pilots

    By Merrill Goozner

    American Prospect

    2001

  • A Clean Sweep

    The American Prospect reports on the janitors' strike in Los Angeles in April 2000, and explains how janitors' international union, SEIU, helped them to get a wage increase of about 26%. The story looks at various labor markets and sectors of economy and examines their unions' attempts achieving pay raises. The report details the unionization of security screeners at airports, hotel workers, health care workers and nursing home workers. "In service industries that can't flee, unionization of low-wage workers can triumph, but only with heroic effort," finds the magazine.

    Tags: employment; wages; low income; Justice for Janitors; labor; work force; minorities; Latino; immigrants; social issues

    By Harold Meyerson

    American Prospect

    2000

  • Fiscal tricks for the fat years

    Governing reports on "budget gimmickry" used by state governments to balance their budgets or to increase their expenditures. The story finds that the tricks do not end when the recession ends, but just take a different character. The report looks at why state revenues overall have exceeded projections in the middle of the 90s, and examines some states' practices of "lowballing," or consistently underestimating revenues.

    Tags: economy; politics; recession; revenues; economic forecasts; Virginia; South Carolina; North Carolina; Kentucky; Montana; Maryland; Tennessee; Fitch Investors Service; finance; financial control; local government; budget deficits; state funds; taxes; legislature

    By Penelope Lemov

    Governing

    1997