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 "Debbie Cenziper" ...

  • Citizen 865: The Hunt for Hitler’s Hidden Soldiers in America

    Through insider accounts, Justice Department documents and research in four countries, Citizen 865 chronicles the setbacks, failures and great successes of a small team of federal prosecutors and historians that spent decades working to expose a brutal group of Nazi war criminals living in the United States. In 1990, in a basement archive in Prague, two American historians made a startling discovery: a Nazi roster from 1945 that no Western investigator had ever seen. The long-forgotten document, containing more than 700 names, helped unravel the details behind the most lethal killing operation in World War Two. In the tiny Polish village of Trawniki, the SS set up a school for mass murder and then recruited a roving army of foot soldiers, 5,000 men strong, to help annihilate the Jewish population of occupied Poland. More than 1.7 million Jews were murdered in fewer than 20 months, the span of two Polish summers. After the war, some of these men vanished, making their way to the U.S. and blending into communities across America. Though they participated in some of the most unspeakable crimes of the Holocaust, “Trawniki Men” spent years hiding in plain sight, their secrets intact. In a story spanning seven decades, Citizen 865 details the wartime journeys of two Jewish orphans from occupied Poland who outran the men of Trawniki and settled in the United States, only to learn that some of their one-time captors had followed. A team of prosecutors and historians pursued these men and, up against the forces of time and political opposition, battled to the present day to remove them from U.S. soil.
  • Homes for the Taking: Liens, Loss and Profiteers.

    In the nation’s capital, predatory investors took hundreds of homes from the elderly and poor over tax debts as small as $44 in a devastating series of foreclosures unchecked by city leaders. In 2013, The Washington Post launched an unprecedented investigation of the District of Columbia’s century-old tax-lien program, finding investors who routinely tacked on thousands in fees to tax bills, turning $500 delinquencies into $5,000 debts and making it impossible for families to save their homes. A 95-year-old church choir leader lost her house while she was in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s. So did a flower shop owner in a coma. “Homes for the Taking” outraged the District like few other scandals in years, with city leaders immediately approving reforms to protect the city’s most vulnerable homeowners.
  • District of Columbia tax office scandal

    The District of Columbia struck an unprecedented number of deals behind closed doors this year with prominent commercial property owners who had appealed their tax assessments, reducing the city's tax base by $2.6 billion. The settlements were kept from the public for months until The Washington Post started mining public records and filing FOIAs, which the city routinely denied until the newspaper's lawyers got involved. The Post also learned that city leaders had kept critical internal audits about the tax office in "draft" format to prevent their release under FOIA. Through sources, The Post obtained the undisclosed reports -- along with a dozen other audits that had been kept from public view -- and published the findings for the first time. The series prompted the City Council to change the law to require the tax office to immediately make public all of its reports -- bringing a new level of transparency to a once secretive agency. The Securities and Exchange Commission also launched a probe to see if the city had kept critical findings from audits used to determine bond ratings. The inquiry is ongoing.
  • D.C. Tax Office Scandal

    The District of Columbia struck an unprecedented number of deals behind closed doors this year with prominent commercial property owners who had appealed their tax assessments, reducing the city's tax base by $2.6 billion. The settlements were kept from the public for months until The Washington Post started mining public records and filing FOIAs, which the city routinely denied until the newspaper's lawyers got involved. The Post also learned that city leaders had kept critical internal audits about the tax office in "draft" format to prevent their release under FOIA. Through sources, The Post obtained the undisclosed reports -- along with a dozen other audits that had been kept from public view -- and published the findings for the first time. The series prompted the City Council to change the law to require the tax office to immediately make public all of its reports -- bringing a new level of transparency to a once secretive agency. The Securities and Exchange Commission also launched a probe to see if the city had kept critical findings from audits used to determine bond ratings. The inquiry is ongoing.
  • Million-Dollar Wasteland

    "This series investigates the federal government's largest housing construction program for the poor. It found that the program has squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on stalled or abandoned projects and routinely failed to crack down on derelict developers or local housing agencies that funded them."
  • Forced Out

    This series from the Washington Post investigates the corrupt practices of landlords driving tenants from their homes under the guise of refusing repairs or forcing families to live without heat, hot water or electricity. This was in response to a law meant to give tenants a voice in the city's redevelopment. In recent years, tenants had fled more than 200 rent-controlled apartment complexes without the chance to vote on redevelopment. With empty buildings, landlords quickly reaped $328 million in condominium sales and avoided $16 million in conversion fees.
  • Blind Eye

    This series analyzes the problems and failures of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The center lacks funds and up-to-date instruments, and sometimes expensive equipment fails in severe weather conditions. The two hurricane hunter turboprop planes that belong to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are frequently unavailable to track hurricanes because they are diverted to other jobs that have little or nothing to do with weather.
  • The Long Road to Clemency

    Florida bans more ex-felons from recovering their civil rights, including the right to vote, than any other state. Almost half a million people are caught up in the state's error-ridden system to restore civil rights. Since Jeb Bush took office, the system has slowed to a crawl; it could take decades to clear the backlog of cases. In Bush's six years as governor more than 200,000 applicants, many of them non-violent ex-felons, have been blocked from voting again. The issue took on particular significance in the 2000 presidential election when George W. Bush won the state of Florida by only 537 votes. Included are two follow-ups that cover prominent Florida Republicans taking the lead in asking Governor Bush to automatically grant clemency to ex-felons.
  • Death checks due for review

    A follow-up article to The Charlotte Observer's "Grave Secrets" series about the breakdown in North Carolina's death investigations. Following the series, this article relates how state leaders "are calling for a review of the state's troubled medical examiner system and organizing two groups to quickly chart the changes."
  • Crumbling Schools

    "Fueled by a $980 million bond referendum, Miami-Dade County Public Schools 15 years ago launched the nation's biggest and most aggressive construction program. But the school district has busted its budget on at least 39 of 44 new schools analyzed by The Herald, or about nine out of 10 since 1988." In its five-part series, The Miami Herald found "tens of millions wasted in slow, sloppy construction", missteps in the building process, delays and poor planning.