Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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

Search results for "Chicago" ...

  • Terrance Carter

    In the summer of 2014, Terrence P. Carter, a highly regarded “school-turnaround” administrator from the Chicago-based Academy for Urban School Leadership, was hailed by public officials and the local press in New London, Connecticut, as an innovator who could revive that city’s failing school system. After a national search, the school board in June voted unanimously to hire him as its new superintendent, effective Aug. 1. In early July the local newspaper, the Day of New London, reported that when Carter toured the city, he was welcomed with praise such as a pronouncement by the mayor that he was “the right fit at the right time for New London." But everything changed on July 18, when the Courant published an investigative story on its website documenting a pattern in which Carter had repeatedly claimed to have a doctorate, and referred to himself as “Dr.” or “Ph.D” for more than five years, without actually holding such a degree.
  • Suburban Pension Peril

    Police and fire retirement plans in suburban Chicago are woefully underfunded by more than $3 billion, an investigation by the Better Government Association found. Not only is this bad news for pension plan members but it also puts taxpayers on the hook for potential bailouts. In a follow-up piece, we analyze the prospects for municipal bankruptcies brought on by the funding shortfalls.
  • Obama Aide, Daley Pal Cash In On Chicago FBI Building Project

    The FBI is paying about $280 million in rent and operating expenses over 14 years for a 10-story Chicago office – more than double what it cost to build the structure. What's more, politically connected developers made big money on the deal. Among the beneficiaries: Penny Pritzker, a top campaign fundraiser for President Obama who later appointed her U.S. Commerce secretary.
  • The Rise and Fall of a Patrón

    Our investigation showed how powerful political alliances helped United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) grow from a community group into a multimillion-dollar enterprise operating 16 taxpayer-funded charter schools, a janitorial firm and other businesses. We found a lack of oversight of charter school finances and operations cleared the way for alleged abuse. Specifically: UNO received more than $280 million in public money over the past five years but neither Chicago Public Schools nor the Illinois State Board of Education closely monitored how funds were spent. A large portion of the public money UNO collects goes to management fees, debt service and consultants rather than classrooms.
  • How Kids Get Caught in Chicago's Deadly Gun Trap

    Told through the perspective of a killer out on parole, this is the story of how gang members influence kids, teaching them to sell drugs and shoot guns to get money, power and respect. The story also reveals that if juveniles do get caught with guns in Chicago, they still rarely get punished. Even fewer get sent to juvenile detention. Gangbangers use that to their advantage to lure kids into violent lives of crime.
  • Rule 14 and Cops Who Lie, Testing the Public Trust

    DNAinfo.com Chicago reporters Mark Konkol and Quinn Ford revealed a little known provision in the Chicago Police Department's disciplinary code that has a major impact on Chicago. Known as Rule 14, the rule bars lying by officers in their official capacities and is supposed to result in firings if found guilty. Konkol and Ford, however, found most officers don't lose their jobs, fostering a code of silence in the department.
  • The Forgotten Dead

    Columbia College Chicago students spent a year investigating unsolved homicides in Chicago, determining that police repeatedly failed to follow department policy that required detectives to have occasional contact with murder victims' families. Despite numerous roadblocks - including being denied even basic information about dozens of homicide cases and police officials refusing to be interviewed - students were able to give voice to the families and friends of homicide victims.
  • UNO: For insiders, charter schools pay

    This investigation exposed millions of dollars in insider deals made by a major operator of taxpayer-financed, privately run charter schools in Chicago. It prompted: the freezing of state funding; the ouster of the organization's top two officials; two state investigations; and one federal investigation.
  • Heroin LLC

    Heroin, LLC is a multimedia investigation by WBEZ and The Chicago Reader that explores the supply chain and impact of heroin in the Chicago metro area and the Midwest. Heroin overdose deaths are up in Illinois. The drug is purer, it’s readily available, and the street price has plummeted. WBEZ and the Chicago Reader set out to examine how heroin gets to Chicago, how it moves throughout the city and suburbs, and how it is moved then throughout the Midwest. Our focus was this supply line, and the lives affected--often ruined--along the way.
  • Faces of Failure

    More Illinois children are dying from abuse or neglect than at any time in the past 30 years. The Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ partnered to take a closer look at the circumstances of those children who are dying. We found that not only are more children dying, but more are dying even after Illinois’ child welfare department had investigated the family for abuse or neglect in the past year.