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 "behind closed doors" ...

  • Schoolgirls for Sale

    Japan's obsession with cutesy culture has taken a dark turn, with schoolgirls now offering themselves for "walking dates" with adult men. Last year the US State Department, in its annual report on human trafficking, flagged so-called joshi-kosei osanpo dates (that's Japanese for "high school walking") as fronts for commercial sex run by sophisticated criminal networks. In an investigation, VICE News host Simon Ostrovsky brings the readers to Tokyo's busiest neighborhoods, where girls solicit clients in their school uniforms, to a concert performed by a band of schoolgirls attended by adult men, and into a café, where teenage girls are available to hire by the hour. But the true revelations come behind closed doors, when schoolgirls involved in the rent-a-date industry reveal how they've been coerced into prostitution. (https://news.vice.com/video/schoolgirls-for-sale-in-japan)
  • Government Behind Closed Doors

    The most powerful local government body in rural, mountainous western North Carolina is the county commission. And once that body enters into closed session -- that is, removes itself from the public eye to discuss vital issues affecting thousands of people and hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funds -- residents are essentially cut out of decision making, or, in some cases, even knowing what decisions are being made at all. This Carolina Public Press investigative series removed the secrecy to bring the public back into the process, in an investigation that ultimately prompted the release of meeting details and, in some cases, the first-time development of local policies regarding closed county commission sessions.
  • 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.
  • Behind Closed Doors, Kentucky City Buys Controversial Building For $1.3 Million

    Danville, Kentucky’s purchase of the former Boyle County Industrial Storage Facility, better known as the BISCO building, drew a lot of controversy along with legal battles during the second half of 2012. During its Aug. 13 meeting, Danville City Commission unanimously voted to buy the building at auction for $1,237,550. However, a bidder hired by the city had already won the property in auction three days before. Also, on the day of the auction city officials had cut a check for 10 percent of the BISCO building’s purchase price. Residents raised concerns about the secretive nature of the purchase, especially since then-Commissioner Ryan Montgomery’s father, Mike, had a long-standing business relationship with the building’s former owner Mitchell Barnes. After being publicly prodded, Mayor Bernie Hunstad also acknowledged that his wife, Susan, worked for the bidder the city hired to handle the auction process.
  • 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.
  • Billboard Confidential

    This story was an investigation into the billboard industry in the City of Los Angeles. They found a business blatantly breaking the law by placing thousands of illegal signs all over the city, and government officials doing nothing to stop it. The story revealed the Los Angeles City Council made sweetheart deals with certain sign companies, allowing them to break the city's own zoning laws. Some of these deals were done behind closed doors, with no input from the community. This relationship seemed to benefit both parties. The journalists revealed every single council member received campaign contributions from members of the billboard industry, who in turn made millions -- if not billions -- off of LA's streetscapes
  • The Money Trail

    ABC News went behind closed doors at political conventions, finding numerous lavish events where top members of Congress were honored by the industries they regulate and the lobbyists that court them. This investigative team has followed the money trail at political conventions for three election cycles, and have offered an inside look at the wheelings and dealings far from the convention floor.
  • Operating Behind Closed Doors

    " 'Operating Behind Closed Doors' illustrates the failures of Virginia's system for protecting patients from dangerous doctors by focusing on the last decade of the career of a Virginia Beach Surgeon, Dr. Robert G. Brewer. This doctor was permitted to practice at least 11 years after serious questions were raised about his competence, in spite of mounting complaints, complications and even deaths. His story exposes a system of private agencies, individuals and government authorities that is shrouded in secrecy, designed to protect livelihoods, not lives."
  • State's lawmakers doles out dollars behind closed doors

    Discretionary funds are often ladled out beyond the seeing eyes of the public. Dworkowitz set out to discover how billions of dollars in state budget money ends up in local block associations or in other public entities. He discovered some politicians received 30 times as much money as their fellows. This story is how those discrepancies affect the local areas.
  • City Council Sunshine

    In Florida, the state's landmark Government-in-the-Sunshine Law prohibits elected officials from discussing government business behind closed doors. The law is among the strictest in the nation, prohibiting two or more members of the same council from meeting with one another unless the public is notified and invited. But records reviewed by the Sentinel indicate that since 1996, Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood and members of the City Council held more than 200 semiprivate meetings to talk about important city issues, in effect deciding the people's business outside the public eye. They held more of these shadow meetings, in fact, than regular council meetings. The unofficial meetings were ostensibly open to the public, but in reality were often kept quiet and held in the mayor's private office, in restaurants and private clubs, or even in some council member's homes.