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 "business" ...

  • The Real Question

    Our 4 1/2-month investigation uncovered how The RealReal, a high-profile $1.5 billion public company that bills itself as the world's largest online marketplace for luxury merchandise, does not have experts authenticating every item as the company claims, leading to obvious counterfeits being sold on the website.
  • Tailspin

    “Tailspin” uncovered the financial, legal and security problems inside a fast-growing private jet company named JetSmarter. The private jet world gets little scrutiny, protected by a tightknit group of companies and elite customers. JetSmarter became the darling of the media and industry, led by a charismatic CEO and hyped by celebrities on social media. But our investigation found that the company sold memberships that quickly proved to be worthless. Its CEO touted its success as the first “flying unicorn” worth $1.5 billion, but we found JetSmarter was losing millions of dollars a month.
  • Memphis councilman Berlin Boyd’s business relationships entangled in FedEx Logistics move

    If you thought a person couldn’t be on more than two sides of a deal, our investigation will encourage you to think again. In a city that serves as the global headquarters to FedEx, the logistics giant looms large over civic life. But while there’s long been precedent of a rotating door between the company and the Chamber of Commerce and City Council, our investigation revealed new heights of dueling loyalties in the form of a local legislator, Berlin Boyd.
  • "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.
  • The TurboTax Trap

    Why Americans, unlike citizens of other developed countries, pay billions of dollars every year to perform the most basic civic act: file taxes. We revealed that Intuit, whose TurboTax business has helped the company become a $69 billion Silicon Valley colossus, has used lobbying, the revolving door and “dark pattern” customer tricks to keep tax filing difficult and fend off an IRS program to help most Americans file for free.
  • Easy Targets

    There are some sixty-three thousand licensed gun dealers in the U.S.—nearly twice the number of McDonald’s and Starbucks combined. But, unlike other businesses that deal in dangerous products, such as pharmacies or explosives makers, most gun stores face no legal requirements to secure their merchandise. As a result, there has been a sharp increase in gun-store thefts. This story focuses on a group of thieves who preyed on gun stores in North Carolina, stealing more than two hundred weapons over a four-month period. The Trace and The New Yorker relied on thousands of public records and more than fifty interviews to track these guns through a network of black-market profiteers.
  • Drilling Down: Big Oil’s Bidding

    When the government awards energy companies the rights to drill for offshore oil and gas, it’s supposed to make sure the American public, which owns the resources, doesn’t get screwed. The government is required by law to use “competitive bidding” and to ensure that taxpayers receive “fair market value.” However, decades of data suggest that the government has been falling down on the job, a Project On Government Oversight analysis found. Among POGO’s discoveries: Instead of taking the trouble to estimate the value of individual offshore tracts, the government has simply labeled many of them worthless and has awarded drilling rights on that basis. Energy companies have invested billions of dollars in tracts the Interior Department categorized as “non-viable”—in other words, worthless. Over the past 20 years, more than two-thirds of the leases that ultimately became energy-producing had been deemed worthless by the Interior Department.
  • Toronto Star: Rise of Ghost Hotels

    The data investigation began with the question: Is Airbnb exacerbating Toronto's rental crisis by enabling short-term operations to flourish at the expense of long-term rental stock? We analyzed more than 20,000 Airbnb listings data scraped by independent third-party website insideairbnb.com. We also filed requests for documents on business incorporation to validate our findings about commercial operators.
  • 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.
  • The Texas Observer and Grist with The Investigative Fund: Too Big to Fine, Too Small to Fight Back

    Citgo refineries spew thousands of tons of chemicals into the air, degrading air quality and putting human health at risk. Despite Citgo's revenues hitting north of $40 billion, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality lets the company off easy. For her investigation in The Texas Observer, in partnership with Grist and The Investigative Fund, Naveena Sadasivam dug into how the TCEQ has fined corporate polluters $30 million for air violations, not much more than the $24 million imposed on gas stations, a significant percentage of which are owned by immigrants, just for record-keeping errors. The disparity between TCEQ's treatment of mom-and-pop operations versus large corporations favors those with money and power. The agency rarely punishes big polluters, often because of a legal loophole, and when it does levy a fine, lawyers negotiate big reductions in penalties. As a result, environmental advocates and small business owners say there's a fundamental unfairness at work with the way TCEQ treats the businesses it regulates.