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 "bond ratings" ...

  • Pension Crisis

    Jacksonville’s Police and Fire Pension Fund is in crisis. The fund has about 43 cents available for every dollar promised to its retired police officers and fire fighters. Now $2.88 billion, the multiplying city debt is threatening the city’s financial stability. Bond ratings have been downgraded. City projects have been scuttled. Bankruptcy is feared. The recent recession isn’t the only thing that crippled the fund. Deals done in secret, deals hidden for more than a decade and sweetheart deals that allowed a select few to skirt regulations and retire from public service jobs with hundreds of thousands of extra dollars they weren’t entitled to are also to blame.
  • 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.
  • (Untitled)

    Over the course of 1996, the Benchmarks team of reporters, artists and editors developed 43 measurements of civic performance and used them to compare the Pittsburgh region to 14 other similar America cities. Their findings highlighted Pittsburgh weaknesses in exports, job growth, business startups, new and expanded facilities, construction, population growth, population age, migration, labor force participation, unemployment, per capita income, smart government, bond ratings, cost of living, black infant mortality, medical costs, and air quality. In particular, their work put a spotlight on the hidden costs of civic fragmentation, best illustrated by the fact that Allegheny County, the metro county surrounding Pittsburgh, is home to 130 other independent municipalities, each wit its own taxing powers, bureaucracy and debt structure. (March 31, June 30, October 20, December 1, 29, 1996)