Buildings across U.S. are wrapped in same panels that fueled deadly London fire

An investigation by The Wall Street Journal found that thousands of buildings across the United States and around the world are wrapped in the same exterior panels that fueled the deadly fire in London’s Grenfell Tower. Typically made of polyethylene, these panels are highly combustible and safety experts warn that they shouldn’t be used in…

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Developer for proposed Trump-branded Dallas hotel has history of unfinished projects, legal woes

An investigation by the Dallas Morning News found that Mukemmel “Mike” Sarimsakci, the developer who was planning to help launch the Trump Organization’s new Scion brand with a hotel in downtown Dallas, has a history of unpaid debts and legal trouble. Sarimsakci, who refers to himself as the “Turkish Trump” and is an admirer of the President,…

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Risk of asbestos exposure increases with renovation boom

As renovation work soars in Massachusetts, the risk of running into asbestos embedded in old buildings also increases, putting some laborers in grave danger. After analyzing five years of enforcement cases, The Eye and WBUR found that huge gaps exist between what state and federal regulators say are mandated safety standards and what’s actually happening…

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Vermont governor had indication of alleged EB-5 fraud

The latest investigation into Jay Peak resort by Vermont Public Radio and independent journalist Hilary Niles has found that, despite ongoing inquiries, Gov. Peter Shumlin’s administration allowed Jay Peak Resort to resume marketing securities to fund developments in northern Vermont.  The move that returned Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros and president Bill Stenger to the international…

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How San Diego’s vision for a world-class waterfront vanished

The waterfront along downtown San Diego’s North Harbor Drive is some of the most valuable property in Southern California, and in 2001, its future was seemingly mapped out: The waterfront would be turned into large parks and public spaces. Today, however, the waterfront is filled with piers reserved for cruise ships and tourists, parking lots…

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Poor families pushed out of apartments in order to sell buildings to Habitat for Humanity

In 2010, the New York City affiliate of Habitat for Humanity launched a project in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. The project was funded by a $21 million federal grant that was intended to be used for a neighborhood affected by the foreclosure crisis. However, according to an investigation by ProPublica, in order for developers…

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HUD backs millions in loans on projects worth a fraction of the debt

A government-funded luxury retirement complex with a pool, fitness center and a restaurant with a wildlife observation deck isn’t always the best thing, especially when the whole project goes bankrupt and leaves the Department of Housing and Urban Development on hook for more than $47.3 million in fees and interest. HUD inspector general’s Special Agent…

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Small farms – exempt from workplace safety rules – see more and more deaths

As workplace accidents across the country have declined over the last decade, the number of Midwestern farm deaths has climbed 30 percent. And even though farms have eclipsed mines and construction sites as deadly workplaces, government safety regulators rarely investigate farm workers’ deaths, according to a four-part investigation by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  Farmers are…

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Construction of a NASA test tower continued long after the rocket project was scrubbed

NASA spent $349 million building a new test tower it didn’t need, according to a report by The Washington Post. The agency in June finished construction of the Mississippi tower, which was designed for a rocket program canceled in 2010, after Congress ordered NASA to finish building it. NASA will now spend about $700,000 a…

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Do hidden cracks imperil Bay Bridge?

“On June 8, The Sacramento Bee reported that in 2006 the California Department of Transportation approved an inexperienced Chinese company, unaccustomed to  U.S. construction rules, to fabricate the new Bay Bridge suspension span tower and roadway. The choice partly explains why costs ballooned to $6.5 billion and misgivings emerged about the quality of the bridge.…

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