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 "contracts" ...

  • "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.
  • Bribery Division

    The Bribery Division, an international investigation into Latin America’s largest construction company, reveals fresh evidence of hundreds of millions of dollars in suspicious payments linked to major infrastructure projects. Brazilian multinational Odebrecht has been implicated in a cash-for-contracts scandal that the U.S. Department of Justice has described as “the largest foreign bribery case in history.” The Bribery Division investigation unveils dramatic new information in taking readers inside the belly of the beast: Odebrecht’s Division of Structured Operations, a specialized unit created for the primary purpose of managing the company’s graft. A team of more than 50 journalists across the Americas, led by ICIJ, examined more than 13,000 Odebrecht documents from a secret communication platform used by the Structured Operations unit. The team’s sprawling expose revealed Odebrecht’s cash-for-contracts operation was even bigger than the company had acknowledged to prosecutors and had involved prominent figures and massive public works projects not mentioned in the criminal cases or other official inquiries to date.
  • Newsday Investigation: Pathway to Power

    In a panoramic, 30,000-word narrative, reporters exposed the underpinnings of Long Island’s corrupt political system through the life of a onetime street hoodlum who would eventually own a castle-like estate that became the Island’s unofficial political clubhouse and the site of a startling attempt on his life. Drilling deep below decades of numbing public scandals, the project is the defining document of how local power works on Long Island, how the public gets exploited and why unscrupulous operators persistently prevail.
  • VPR: Watch Your Speed

    Law enforcement in Vermont issued more than 24,000 tickets worth upwards of $4 million in fines to drivers in 2017. A quarter were issued in three small towns. This investigation revealed how one county sheriff has profited from his traffic contracts with two of the towns. It also showed how issuing traffic tickets allowed another town to maintain an unusually low tax rate.
  • TX Observer: Prison by Any Other Name

    Since the 1990s, Texas has run a controversial, constitutionally dubious “civil commitment” program that keeps hundreds of sex offenders in intensive monitoring and treatment long after they’ve finished their prison sentences. In 2015, after the agency running the program nearly imploded amid mismanagement, Texas lawmakers essentially turned civil commitment over to a scandal-ridden private prison contractor eager to gobble up contracts at the intersection of incarceration and therapy. The result: non-existent treatment, shoddy medical care, and a new taxpayer-funded, privately operated lockup in middle-of-nowhere Texas, where men under civil commitment are now confined indefinitely. Since the facility opened, only five men have been released — four of them to medical facilities where they later died.
  • Title: The Desert Sun: An Empire in the Desert

    These stories reveal the stunning influence that a single farmer in California's Imperial Valley, Mike Abatti, has exerted over the region's Colorado River water and energy industry. Abatti has benefited from decisions made by his friends in elected office, a judge with ties to his family, and a district attorney whose second-in-command is his sister-in-law.
  • The Verge with The Investigative Fund: Palantir has Secretly Been Using New Orleans to Test Predictive Policing Technology

    For the past 6 years, the data-mining firm Palantir — co-founded by Peter Thiel — has used New Orleans as a testing ground for predictive policing, Ali Winston reported for the Verge, in partnership with The Investigative Fund. Palantir has lucrative contracts with the Pentagon, U.S. intelligence and foreign security services. The partnership with the NOPD was similar to the "heat list" in Chicago that purports to predict which people are likely drivers or victims of violence. Yet, not only did the program not go through a public procurement process, key city council members in New Orleans didn't even know it existed.
  • The Daily News: Yellow School Bus Crisis

    This Daily News series dealt with yellow school buses and a crisis that included extensive delays, fraud in hiring bus staffers with criminal pasts, and how bus contracts were awarded.
  • PublicSource: Revelations of police technology problems spark FBI scrutiny, alleged retaliation and unfinished work

    For the first time, PublicSource reported how Pittsburgh's reform-minded police chief touched off an FBI investigation into how city employee's handled software contracts. Included were projects that were never implemented by 2018, though they were fully paid for five years earlier using federal funds. The federal investigation ended without any charges, but internal investigations in the city were ongoing. A former officer also claims he faced retaliation for reporting concerns about tech projects, specifically from one of the city's highest ranking public safety officials. He is currently suing the city over several of the same concerns first publicly reported in our stories. Our stories led directly to internal changes in city purchasing and increased scrutiny of purchasing by City Council.
  • Daily Herald: Illinois tollway series

    The Illinois tollway, governed by a nonelected board of political appointees, is the only option to get around the Chicago region for millions of drivers who spend $1.3 billion annually to use the system. While hardworking customers paid tolls, tollway executives and board directors were quietly hiring political insiders for high-paying jobs, handing lucrative contracts to firms where their relatives worked, and weakening bylaws to water down the tollway board’s conflict-of-interest rules. As the Daily Herald exposed nepotism, patronage and excessive spending at the tollway, the agency’s leaders fought back. Tactics included denying FOIAs, concealing information and accusing the newspaper of harassment. The Daily Herald’s investigation caught the attention of other media, two governors and state lawmakers who ultimately fired the tollway board of directors in early 2019. Legislators credited the Herald’s investigative series with alerting the public about what Gov. J.B. Pritzker referred to “unethical behavior.”