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 "construction" ...

  • Hidden Cost of School Construction Loans

    A series of stories that revealed the hidden role of investment banks in steering California public school districts into costly borrowing schemes that will cost taxpayers as much as 20 times principal and take decades to repay.
  • Dying to Get Back

    The death of Alfonso Martinez Sanchez, 39, in March 2012 sparked little attention. A construction worker and father of five who’d lived in Southern California for more than 20 years before being deported to Mexico, he was just another immigrant to die in the Arizona desert while attempting to cross back into the United States. But “Dying to Get Back,” a joint investigation by The Investigative Fund and PBS’s Need to Know, revealed that his death was part of a disturbing phenomenon: even as tighter border security has sent illegal border crossings plummeting, migrant deaths are on the rise — particularly among the deported parents of American children.
  • The Battle of Belo Monte

    In the Brazilian state of Pará, an army of 25,000 workers is building the world’s third largest hydroelectric plant, a controversial construction project –because of the dam’s low efficiency, its environmental impact and its effects on the Indians, riverbank-dwellers and the inhabitants of Altamira. Folha’s reporters spent three weeks in the region to put together the most comprehensive coverage –with 24 videos, 55 pictures, and 18 infographics– of the country’s largest infrastructural investment. The pros and cons of the dam are presented in five chapters: Construction; Environment; Society; Indigenous Peoples; History.
  • Deals for Developers, Cash for Campaigns

    Construction cranes can be seen throughout Washington, D.C. Less visible are the symbiotic relationships between land developers and city officials awarding tax breaks and discounted land deals. Those government subsidies are meant to revive neighborhoods, and to create jobs and affordable housing. But in some cases, the benefits never materialized, or the subsidies simply weren’t needed. And what began as a targeted economic development tool now looks to some like government hand outs that could have paid for other city services. A WAMU investigation found the D.C. City Council awarded $1.7 billion in real estate subsidies to 133 groups in the past decade — and more than a third of the subsidies went to ten developers that donated the most campaign cash over that time. What’s more, less than five percent of the subsidies went to the city’s poorest areas with a fourth of the city’s population, and developers failed to deliver on pledged public benefits for at least half the projects examined.
  • "Adams County: Exposing a Culture of Corruption"

    This KMGH-TV investigation that began with uncovering of millions of dollars in no-bid contracts in exchange for gifts and free construction and landscape work at the homes of top county officials, has resulted in the convictions of those officials and the owner and employees of a county subcontractor for cheating taxpayers out of millions of dollars. The investigation spanned five years and prompted a fundamental change in county government and reforms in policies, procedures, and the county charter through voter referendum to insure transparency and best practice. We believe this long term investigation represents the important role journalists play in representing the citizenry, holding government accountable through in-depth reporting, and prompting significant structural change for the long term benefit of the community.
  • Lawrenceburg Driveways

    This investigation revealed how a small Indiana city illegally spent millions of taxpayer dollars on a sweet deal for those who received it - free or drastically reduced price concrete construction projects for homeowners and businesses. The "off-right-of-way" concrete program continued for years, despite state regulators telling city officials to stop. We found haphazard and incomplete billing- some people paid more than others for the same work. And because so many people did not pay at all, the program kept building up a deficit.
  • Deeply Buried Doubts: Errors and Fraud Threaten California’s Costliest Bridge

    This year-long investigation examined construction and testing of the new $6.4 billion San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and found widespread errors and malfeasance. The new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is the most costly public works project in California history. Its designers valued one quality above all others: the strength to withstand the strongest anticipated earthquake. This investigation raised questions about the structural integrity of the span that are not easy to answer. It revealed flaws in tests of the main tower’s foundation, chronicled the troubled work history of the technician who conducted many of the tests and had fabricated data on other structures. The series also revealed bridges throughout the state burdened with similar issues – raising calls for new safety examinations. Until contacted by The Bee, the California Department of Transportation had overlooked the problems with the Bay Bridge. But the findings of the initial stories of the series – validated by top experts in the construction and testing of such massive foundations – forced them to act. Two Caltrans employees – the technician and his supervisor – were fired as a result of the Bee stories, prosecutors launched investigations and state legislative committees convened to examine the department’s practices and culture. The stories were based on a review of about 80,000 pages of technical plans, test results, internal emails and personnel documents, and interviews with numerous insiders. The Bee showed how officials failed to conduct a thorough investigation of testing fabrications, years after learning of the problems. After the initial story in 2011 (not part of this award application, but included in the submission for context only), Caltrans’ “peer review” experts examined the Bay Bridge– and gave it a clean bill of health. Piller showed soon after that they were compromised by serious financial and professional conflicts of interest with Caltrans and bridge contractors.
  • Hidden Wealth of Azerbaijan President

    The President of oil-rich Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has been compared to a Mafia crime boss in US diplomatic cables, and man analysts refer to him as a dictator. OCCRP looked deeper than those labels and found that the Aliyev family has systematically grabbed shares of the most profitable businesses in the country. Investigative reports by OCCRP and Radio Free Europe have revealed and more importantly proven for the first time that the ruling family has secret ownership stakes through offshore companies in the country’s largest businesses, including banks, construction companies, gold mines and phone companies. The government Aliyev runs gave these shares. The family also has secretly amassed high-end property in places like the Czech Republic. The Azeri government responded to the revelations first with silence and now claims that OCCRP is an agent of the rival Armenian government. Aliyev’s administration also failed to investigate the harassment and blackmail of OCCRP and RFE journalist Khadija Ismayilova earlier this year. While Azerbaijan has worked at improving its image worldwide, OCCRP’s reporting makes clear that a petty dictatorship remains in control.
  • Universitiy Building Boom

    An unprecedented multibillion-dollar building boom is under way at U.S. universities and colleges—despite budget shortfalls, endowment declines and seemingly stretched resources. Some $11 billion in new facilities have sprung up on American campuses in each of the last two years—more than double what was spent on buildings a decade ago, according to the market-research firm McGraw-Hill Construction—even as schools are under pressure to contain costs.
  • Bureaucratic collapse: St. Anne Lofts project

    What started as scanner traffic and a daily story about a partial collapse of a building under construction in downtown East Lansing, Mich., became a two-month investigation that revealed the project’s developer violated state law by building without a permit and that city administrators knew about the unpermitted and unauthorized construction for months and did not shut it down. “Bureaucratic collapse” was the result of multiple FOIA requests and a review of city documents dating back several years to piece together the sequence of events surrounding the troubled building project. It traced the development from beginning to end and drew readers’ attention to the lapse in oversight from city staff. The city restructured departments as a result of the building problems and promised a tougher approach to enforcement. The story also featured an interactive digital timeline that walked readers through the events and linked to public documents from East Lansing that they could navigate at their own pace, offering a richer and deeper experience with the content.