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 "state records" ...

  • Stolen Wages

    In the last eight years both the Washington Legislature and the Seattle City Council passed laws to address wage theft, which happens when employers withhold wages or deny benefits rightfully owed to an employee. It’s a misdemeanor under city and state law. And yet in hundreds of cases annually, InvestigateWest learned, Washington fails to retrieve workers’ shorted wages. Meanwhile, the city ordinance has yet to bring about even a single prosecution of employers who withhold pay. The Washington Department of Labor & Industries has sped up wage complaint investigations over the past several years, yet four in 10 cases take longer than the legally mandated 60 days. And the department collects less than $6 out of every $10 it says workers are owed, an analysis of state records by InvestigateWest found. These shortfalls reported by InvestigateWest threaten to undermine a flagship achievement of worker advocates and Seattle city leadership: the new $15-an-hour city minimum wage that will begin to go into effect this year.

    Tags: wages; workers; misdemeanor; benefits; theft

    By Allegra Abramo; Jason Alcorn; Robert McClure

    InvestigateWest

    2014

  • Oversight of Indiana Tiger Exhibit Big on Growl, Light on Teeth

    KyCIR’s radio/online/print investigation found that a Louisville-area nonprofit that houses wild animals has a troubled record; that state and federal officials have done little to address complaints; and the handling of lions and other exotic animals is potentially putting the public's safety at risk. The facility, Wildlife in Need, has a history of repeat violations of the Animal Welfare Act and for two years, federal inspectors cited the owner for not having cages tall enough to prevent tigers and lions from escaping. They found that despite these citations federal inspectors did not remove the animals, fine the owner or force him into compliance. Because of an obscure provision in Indiana law, state officials have no power to investigate or inspect the facility -- even after a neighbor shot and killed a 48-pound leopard that many believe was housed at the facility.

    Tags: kentucky; wild; animals; welfare; life; fines; violations

    By Kristina Goetz; Erin Keane; Brendan McCarthy

    Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting

    2014

  • Crude oil in Pittsburgh

    North America is now one of the biggest producers of crude oil in the world, partly because of fracking in North Dakota and other Western states. With a lack of pipelines in place to move the oil, much of it has been pushed onto the rails. Much of that oil is moved in tank cars found to spill their loads when accidents occur. With the increased traffic, accidents have piled up across North America. Refineries processing much of the crude from the Bakken formation in the West are in the Philadelphia area. In May, the federal government told the railroads to give that information to states where they shipped large quantities of crude. Many states made the information public, but Pennsylvania was one of the states that opted out, citing that the information was “confidential” and “proprietary” to railroads. The state emergency response agency denied our public records requests (as well as other news agencies requests) for the information. PublicSource wanted to show people where trains were traveling in Pittsburgh and the potential affected population living around those lines.

    Tags: crude; pipelines; Philadelphia; fracking; refineries; safety

    By Natasha Khan; Alexandra Kanick

    PublicSource

    2014

  • A Season Of Drama At The San Diego Opera

    When the board of the San Diego Opera, one of the region’s most prominent arts institutions, abruptly announced it would close after nearly 50 years, the shock reverberated nationally. San Diego’s opera had been held up as a well-run organization with a balanced budget. But suddenly, it was shutting down and essentially blaming the audience. But a KPBS/inewsource investigation found there was plenty of blame to go around, enough to eventually prompt the state Attorney General to open an inquiry. Public records, leaked documents and sound sourcing revealed questionable financial practices at the opera and a 58-member board of directors more interested in socializing than running an arts organization with a multi-million dollar budget. It also exposed a highly compensated, intransigent leadership whose arrogant insistence on expensive, grand opera over consumer-friendly innovations nearly doomed the institution.

    Tags: opera; corrupt; budget; attorney general

    By Angela Carone; Lorie Hearn

    KPBS/inewsource

    2014

  • DC Council Contracts

    Lawmakers in the District of Columbia routinely approved lucrative city contracts for businesses that made hefty campaign contributions at the time of the contract vote. That was one of the most eye-opening findings of a months-long investigation by WAMU and the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University. It’s a power unique among state legislatures in the country; every contract worth a million dollars or more must be approved by the 13-member council. There was little oversight of this process until reporter Patrick Madden and students from the Workshop started delving into these contracts. The team analyzed nearly a decade worth of public records — and over 100,000 campaign contributions — to find out which companies were winning contracts and how much campaign cash they gave to the council members approving their contracts.

    Tags: washington dc; city contracts; businesses; contributions

    By Patrick Madden; Patrick Madden; Chris Baronovski; Rachel Baye; Hoai-Tran Bui; Elyssa Pacchico; David Donald; Christina Animashaun; Carrie Moskal

    WAMU

    2014

  • KRIS-TV: The Trouble with TEA

    Series focused on the lengths educators will go to cover up teacher misconduct by focusing on one teacher, in particular, who bounced from school district to another, always leaving amid accusations of misconduct with female students. Our reporting uncovered the uncomfortable fact that: *All too often, a teacher can break local and state rules on professional conduct but, because the misconduct never leads to formal criminal charges, the teacher is protected. *School districts will deliberately alter public records to protect a teacher from unflattering publicity. *The investigative arm of the state education agency is woefully understaffed and overwhelmed. *School districts cannot always afford to pursue termination proceedings due to the threat of a costly lawsuit from the teacher. Instead, they'll let the teacher resign. *Even state lawmakers now admit the investigative arm of the state education is in dire need of changes.

    Tags: schools; teachers; misconduct; sexual; students

    By Rick Spruill; Andrew Ellision; Lee Sausley; Jennifer Lira; Paul Alexander; Hollis Grizzard; Greg McAlister; Cameron Gorman

    KRIS-Corpus Christi

    2014

  • Undue Force

    For six months reporter Mark Puente investigated how widespread police brutality was in Baltimore. He used court records and trial transcripts, but the heart of the reporting came from coaxing subjects to tell their stories. In addition, to the human toll, the investigation revealed that the city was paying millions in lawsuits involving police brutality and misconduct, shocking officials who said they were unaware of the scope of the problem. Puente's work resulted in a U.S. Justice Department review of the police department, local reforms and proposals for state legislation.

    Tags: brutality; court; lawsuits; misconduct

    By Mark Puente; Dave Rosenthal; Algerina Perna

    Baltimore Sun

    2014

  • State of Confusion

    Reporters Perla Trevizo and Carli Brosseau collected thousands of records documenting local law enforcement calls to Border Patrol to check a person’s immigration status. Their conclusion: Although the intent of Arizona's toughest-in-the-nation immigration law was to standarize local immigration enforcement, more than a year after its most controversial provision took effect, the state is left with a patchwork of policies and interpretations across jurisdictions. Data collection is so inconsistent and so incomplete that there’s no way to determine how police are implementing the law — or whether they are committing the systemic civil-rights violations opponents feared when SB 1070 was passed.

    Tags: border; patrol; arizona; civil rights; policy

    By Perla Trevizo; Carli Brosseau; Jill Jorden Spitz

    Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Ariz.)

    2014

  • How to Call 911 at the USPS

    Call 911 in the event of a medical emergency. It’s what we have been taught and it’s what we teach our kids. But producer Liz Wagner, reporter Vicky Nguyen and photographer Felipe Escamilla uncovered that at the United States Postal Service, the rules governing what to do in an emergency are very different. And those rules may have caused critical delays in life and death situations. Through interviews with sources, internal postal service documents and public records, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit exposed that USPS policy instructs employees to call their supervisors and then security in the event of a medical emergency—not 911.

    Tags: postal; service; emergency; delays; death

    By Liz Wagner; Vicky Nguyen; Felipe Escamilla

    NBC Bay Area

    2014

  • The Invisible Threat

    This series reveals a threat that seeps into every nook and cranny of the United States. The country's network of natural-gas distribution lines, which is distinct from interstate transmission lines, covers almost 1.3 million miles of pipeline, some of it dating to the 1800s, Accidents involving those lines have killed more than 120 people, injured more than 500 others and caused more than $775 million in damage since 2004, a Tribune-Review analysis of federal records shows. Yet the location, age and safety of more than a million miles of those pipelines remain shrouded in secrecy. Not even government regulators and emergency responders have pipeline maps.

    Tags: natural; gas; interstate; lines; injuries

    By Mike Wereschagin; Stephanie Strasburg; Andrew Russell; Bob Newell; Denise Shean; Jim Wilhelm

    Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

    2014