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 "city government" ...

  • Free ride: While schools suffer, hundreds get free city cars and fill-ups

    In this ongoing series that exposes mismanagement, incompetence and corruption inside Yonkers City Hall, the newspaper examined the city's car-lease program for employees, questionable ethics among officials, and a handshake deal for garbage service that allowed businesses to pay their bills in cash. The investigation found the city spent more than $820,000 on 54 car leases -- far more than similarly sized cities -- including leases for SUVs and other expensive cars. Council members were awarded lucrative contracts while in office, and they had failed to file financial disclosure forms for five years as required by law. The garbage deal defied a city code and cost taxpayers $175,000 annually.
  • Paygo: Where did the money go?

    This investigation revealed the abuse of more than $1 million from a discretionary fund of the City Council. Although some council members defend the fund as necessary to support unforeseen expenses, particularly for poorer communities, others describe the fund as "fraught with temptation" and a "criminal case waiting to happen" because city council members were able to secretly dip into the funds without any oversight from the city administration. A former council member and two city employees were sentenced to prison in connection with fund abuse
  • Firings have cost county $1.5 million

    This investigation found that Allegheny County has paid out more than $1.5 million since 1996 to end lawsuits filed by fired employees who claimed politics cost them their jobs. The newspaper found that after every recent change in the county's administration, the newly elected officials have fired employees who claimed they had been dismissed for their political support of the prior administration.
  • Slow construction zone: Why Omaha road work takes so long

    This investigation examines why road projects in Omaha take so long to get completed. Although the slow pace has been attributed to cold winters and wet springs that make for a short construction season, the newspaper found a number of man-made issues as the cause: Contractors take on numerous projects instead of assigning crews to finish a few jobs as quickly as possible; utility line work is often poorly coordinated; and city government rarely gives contractors deadline dates for completions, incentives to hurry or penalties for being late.
  • Clout on Wheels

    This investigation revealed the waste and corruption within the city's Hired Truck Program, in which the city hires dump trucks and low-wage drivers to haul debris and material at city work sites. The newspaper found that many trucks sit idle while the company reaps payments from the city. One trucking company owner admitted paying bribes to city officials to get work, while others doled out campaign contributions to city officials. Following the series, the FBI arrested the man who ran the city's program, and 14 other people, including 10 current or former city employees, were arrested.
  • City Hall Scandals

    "These articles delved the influence of money and politics in Los Angeles city government and revealed a system in which government officials pressure private firms to make sizable political donations in return for contracts, a contractor made large sums of money padding the bills it submitted to city government, and the city's mayor used a public relations firm under contract with the water department to advance his own agenda, and a favored mayoral fund-raiser bounced checks to business associates and political candidates, including the mayor, with impunity.
  • In no time, valuations are reduced: Douglas County Board members, alone or in pairs, cut almost $60 million from tax rolls this summer in unreviewed decisions

    "A World-Herald analysis shows that the seven Douglas County board members, working alone or in pairs, cut almost $60 million from county tax rolls in cases that the full board rubber-stamped -- but never reviewed. Individual board members made decisions on the spot, often with little evidence or little time to examine property owners' claims. Most property owners obtained at least some reduction. In one noteworthy example, a lone commissioner cut nearly $11 million from the valuations of a campaign contributor who owns numerous apartments and office buildings -- reductions that were opposed by the county assessor's office and not supported by the board's own professional advisor. Some of his decisions took as little as one minute, and the whole process lasted less than an hour."
  • Mental Illness

    This report by KPIX - TV looks at how homeless people in San Francisco don't always get the help they need. As this report reveals, despite the fact that the San Francisco city government spends at least 178 million dollars a year on services to help the homeless. Many of the people who need help are also mentally ill and use drugs. In this undercover investigation, the reporters find out how all the money allotted to help the homeless is used.
  • "Yonkers Inside Out"

    While examining the politics, economics and development efforts of Yonkers as it rebuilds downtown, the newspaper found a history of legal disputes and financial difficulties with a high-profile developer. The investigation raises questions about how Yonkers picks developers for large projects. A related story shows how state officials plan to sell an 84-acre office park for less than $9 million to a private corporation set up by city officials. The corporation, independent of the city and not subject to local oversight, might resell the property for more than 10 times the purchase price.
  • The Ticket Man

    This story reveals that one city official dismissed more than 125,000 parking tickets over a period of six years. This included parking tickets issued to people with political connections. The story also looks at the parking -tickets system which poses a problem to many people in Philadelphia.