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.

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  • "Healthy Holly" and University of Maryland Medical System Investigation

    The “Healthy Holly” scandal began with a suggestion from a source, a state legislator who told Baltimore Sun reporter Luke Broadwater she thought there might be some irregular contracting practices going on at the University of Maryland Medical System. Broadwater, busy covering the General Assembly session, filed a public records request. The documents showed that Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and other members of the hospital network’s board of directors had no-bid contracts with the medical system -- though the extent of those contracts, especially Pugh's, were not fully described. Broadwater's story -- written quickly as a daily as soon as he received the documents -- was breaking news that got the attention of Maryland's political establishment: University of Maryland Medical System pays members of volunteer board hundreds of thousands in business deals. Immediately, Broadwater and other Baltimore Sun reporters followed their instincts and tips that were coming in -- including that Pugh had failed to print many of the books she’d been paid to produce, while thousands of others were sitting unread in a Baltimore school system warehouse. Meanwhile, Sun reporters pulled ethics forms, poured over tax records, filed public information requests and worked sources, breaking story after story that exposed a widening scandal that rocked the state of Maryland, perhaps more than any other series of articles in decades. Their work led to the resignation of the mayor, the UMMS CEO and other top officials, including every member of the medical system's board of directors.
  • Chicago Police kept secret dossiers on public speakers

    Tribune reporters discovered that Chicago Police were running secret background checks on public speakers at the police board’s monthly disciplinary meetings. Speakers included men and women whose loved ones had been killed by police, attorneys, activists, a religious leader, and even cops themselves. The police department secretly created profiles on more than 300 different speakers, potentially violating a court decree meant to prevent police spying on First Amendment activities. The Tribune also discovered a major discrepancy in how long police ran the secret checks, leading Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to order an inspector general investigation into the matter.
  • In Donors We Trust

    This entry features the Detroit Free Press' innovative and exhaustive look into irregularities in the management of the University of Michigan’s $11 billion endowment. The years-long investigation detailed how executives at some of the nation's top investment firms donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the University of Michigan while the university in turn invested as much as $4 billion in those companies' funds. More than $400 million of that amount was sent into funds managed by three alumni who advise the university on the investments of its endowment. Critics who reviewed the newspaper’s computational and statistical analysis said Michigan’s approach of investing with some of its top donors, who also help guide the university's endowment, creates a conflict. After the publication of more than a dozen stories throughout 2018, the university reformed its conflict-of-interest rules; its president apologized for a lack in oversight; a member of its board of regents returned more than $20,000 in campaign contributions from an investment fund leader; and voters ousted both board incumbents running for re-election.
  • Caregivers and Takers

    “Caregivers and Takers,” a multi-platform investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, uncovered rampant exploitation of caregivers at senior board-and-care homes across the United States. Many are poor immigrants who earn about $2 an hour to work around the clock with no days off while operators rake in millions. Some owners charge workers "room and board" for sleeping on a couch or in a garage. Caregivers are routinely harassed and fired if they complain. Some feared for their lives. Prosecutors liken these workplace conditions to indentured servitude. Many of these caregivers are immigrants, and evidence indicates that some were trafficked.
  • In Donors We Trust

    This entry features the Detroit Free Press' innovative and exhaustive look into irregularities in the management of the University of Michigan’s $11 billion endowment. The years-long investigation detailed how executives at some of the nation's top investment firms donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the University of Michigan while the university in turn invested as much as $4 billion in those companies' funds. More than $400 million of that amount was sent into funds managed by three alumni who advise the university on the investments of its endowment. Critics who reviewed the newspaper’s computational and statistical analysis said Michigan’s approach of investing with some of its top donors, who also help guide the university's endowment, creates a conflict. After the publication of more than a dozen stories throughout 2018, the university reformed its conflict-of-interest rules; its president apologized for a lack in oversight; a member of its board of regents returned more than $20,000 in campaign contributions from an investment fund leader; and voters ousted both board incumbents running for re-election.
  • WEWS-TV: Prescription for Failure

    In the last two decades, prescription opioids have taken an unrelenting hold on Ohio. The opioid crisis has claimed the lives of thousands of users, landing Ohio on a top five list no one wants to be on: the most opioid-related overdose deaths in the country. For years, media across the country and the state have reported about the devastating impacts of the crisis, but during its exclusive investigation, the WEWS 5 On Your Side Investigative team was the first to uncover the “why.” The team spent six months tracing the opioid crisis to its beginning as well as examining how the state medical board, the group charged with regulating doctors, played a role.
  • VicAd: Port Politics

    When disgraced former Congressman Blake Farenthold resurfaced as the Calhoun Port Authority's first full-time lobbyist at an annual salary of $160,000, the public was outraged. Farenthold later said in a deposition that he and the port board thought they could weather this initial storm and continue to do business as they always had outside the public view. All other state and national media quickly moved on from the story, but the Victoria Advocate kept digging and found that the public had a lot more to be outraged about.
  • DFP: Trooper tases teen on ATV. Police video reveals what happens next

    Readers had known about the tragic death of 15-year-old Damon Grimes, who crashed his ATV while running from State Police in Detroit. People knew a trooper had been charged with murder after leaning out of his patrol car to use his Taser on Grimes, causing the crash. But the details were limited. That’s until the Free Press used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain documents, raw video and radio broadcasts to reconstruct the scene before, during and after the accident. In a published story and never-before-seen video, the newspaper shined a spotlight on the actions of police that day. The video was made by piecing together hours of video and audio footage from police body cameras, dashboard cameras, surveillance tape and broadcasts. A Detroit officer whose inappropriate comments were caught on the video was reassigned.
  • The Deerfield Scroll: Gender discrimination and sexual violence alleged at elite boarding school

    Two respected teachers - also husband and wife - left our school abruptly with little public explanation. I investigated their departure and learned that the female teacher had filed an explosive lawsuit against my school alleging a years-long pattern of sexual discrimination and of alleged sexual violence against female students. I was under tremendous pressure by some faculty members and others to drop the story but I was determined to get it published so that my school could confront the serious issues raised in the litigation.
  • Something Suspicious in District 9

    Allegations of fraud led North Carolina’s Board of Elections to refuse to certify November election results from the 9th Congressional district. Our investigation revealed a complex ballot-harvesting operation, with people paid to collect absentee ballots from voters -- an act that is illegal in North Carolina.