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 "code violations" ...

  • Broken Homes, Broken System?

    It's a no-win situation. Families can stay in an unsafe home or call Code Enforcement for help and risk eviction and fines. We compared inspection reports from Code Enforcement with eviction records from Magistrate Court. We found a system breakdown that allows bad landlords to keep tenants in unsafe homes. The deeper we dug into city records, the more we uncovered. Our investigation lead to a change in city code. The city adopted stricter fines. Code Enforcement developed a follow-up system for complaints. Magistrate began looking at prior code violations before ruling on an eviction.
  • California Prosecution Fees

    The Desert Sun uncovered how residents of three cities in the Coachella Valley were being billed massive fees that paid for private attorneys the city had contracted to go after the residents' for minor city code violations. Petty offenses, like having a messy yard or hanging a Halloween decoration on a street light, led to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars being demanded of the residents. If they couldn't pay, liens were assessed. Following the reporting, the cities stopped the practice, state lawmakers made it illegal in California and a class-action lawsuit led to at least one city refunding the residents.
  • Nearby restaurants cited with health concerns

    The Oklahoma Daily compiled a database of health code violations of surrounding campus restaurants. The Daily then counted the restaurants with the most violations and named the ones that were the worst offenders in the last three years.
  • War Zone: The Destruction of an All-American City

    The hour-long documentary War Zone: The Destruction of an All-American City takes an unprecedented look at the impact of corruption on the East St. Louis, Illinois area, one of the poorest and most violent communities in America. The program was broadcast twice during prime time; Tuesday night at 8 pm on August 28, and the following Saturday night at 7 pm. This project was the result of an ongoing decade-long probe of government waste, corruption, police misconduct, and violence in East St. Louis and the surrounding villages by investigative reporter Craig Cheatham. Our documentary begins with a detailed look at police misconduct and corruption, how it has contributed to the breakdown of public safety in the East St. Louis area, and why local politicians tolerated such outrageous behavior by their officers. The second part of our documentary focuses on the impact of derelict and vacant housing, the slumlords who own the property and the people who live in some of the worst housing in the metro area. Our investigation also uncovered new connections between politicians and legendary slumlord Ed Sieron, who was business partners with a longtime mayor. In addition, KMOV revealed that of the 500 mostly rundown properties that Sieron owns in East St. Louis, only 13 were cited for code violations. That lack of accountability for the notorious slumlord, empowered him and made the people living in his homes feel powerless. War Zone also exposes the way East St. Louis communities have sold their economy to vice-driven businesses like strip clubs, liquor stores, a casino, and convenience marts that had a long history of selling illegal synthetic drugs. Our investigation found that nearly all of these businesses failed to employ a significant number of East St. Louis residents, even though they received millions of dollars in tax incentives that are paid by East St. Louis residents. At the same time East St. Louis is handing out tax breaks to wealthy out-of-town businessmen, it repeatedly refused to provide the same tax incentives for local residents who wanted to create family friendly businesses that would employ people living in the East St. Louis area.
  • Chicago Takes on Bad Developers, With Mixed Results

    Some Chicago neighborhoods face a troubling conundrum. Thousands of condominiums that were built during the "housing boom" are "proving to be poorly built." Leaks and electrical issues are only a couple of the problems homeowners are facing. In an effort to help the homeowners, the city of Chicago filed lawsuits against the condo developers. The effort has backfired. Many developers have fled the country, which leaves the homeowners with thousands of dollars in repairs that are needed to fix the code violations.
  • Forced Out

    This series from the Washington Post investigates the corrupt practices of landlords driving tenants from their homes under the guise of refusing repairs or forcing families to live without heat, hot water or electricity. This was in response to a law meant to give tenants a voice in the city's redevelopment. In recent years, tenants had fled more than 200 rent-controlled apartment complexes without the chance to vote on redevelopment. With empty buildings, landlords quickly reaped $328 million in condominium sales and avoided $16 million in conversion fees.
  • Missouri's Mental Health System

    KCUR's investigation found that "Missouri's mental health system is in crisis." Group homes had violations, medication errors were made and more. "The state also fined at least five facilities, between 2004 and 2007, for abuse or neglect that led to resident deaths."
  • One Small Lot, One Big Mess

    Long Island development group Utopia Studios, Ltd. "proposed a major development for the southeastern Connecticut region," with their takeover of "one of the most vital pieces of property in the region" approved by Preston, Connecticut voters. Utopia promised "a $1.6 billion project with theme parks and movie studios and 22,000 new jobs" and thus gained a lot of political support. But the Day "discovered that the principle Utopia developer, Joseph Gentile, had been sued in conjunction with a condominium project in New York City." Reporter Paul Choiniere investigated further, and found that Gentile's dealings on that property were questionable.
  • Series on Flushing Lanlord Nicholas Haros

    An investigation into the landlord Nicholas Haros housing code violations revealed that there was difference between city department rule and official city law. This allowed Haros to collect tax benefits despite his violations.
  • Lost Among the Ruins

    With at least 100,000 apartment units and more than 500,000 people, "the D.C. Attorney general's office "has prosecuted only four landlords for housing-code violations since 2001, or less than one case per year." In addition, the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs "had no agency-wide process for collecting fines and is owed more than $8.8 million in outstanding fines and penalties in more than 22,000 housing-violation cases." The Legal Times touches on these issues, as well as the story of convicted slumlord David Nuyen, "who is still renting apartment units in D.C. despite a court order for him to get out of the rental business."