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 "developer" ...

  • The Great Empire Zone Giveaway

    The Empire Zone program in New York is meant to "reward new and expanding businesses" but has been mistakenly doling out large sums to companies that do not merit them. For instance: an out-of-state power company was using century-old plants, and did not expand, but received $22 million a year. "Hundreds of companies changed their names to appear on paper to be new businesses, so they could collect the maximum tax breaks available to startup companies." Also, a shopping-mall developer promised expansion, but has been receiving $9 million a year with no new building. Of the top 10 companies receiving Empire Zone money (a total of $56 million a year for the group), some added workers, but others cut jobs.
  • Stacked Deck

    "'Stacked Deck' detailed how a well-intentioned federal program to provide affordable housing to the working poor created the type of political environment that resulted in an FBI investigation of Dallas City Hall. The program requires developers to garner political support from a range of office holders and neighborhood leaders or else lose the millions of dollars in federal funding. With those kinds of stakes, developers have an incentive to curry favor with local politicians in ways that are both legal and illegal."
  • Road to Nowhere

    Reporters Will Harper and Robert Gammon tell the story of the FBI's investigation into "links between senator Don Prata and a $40 million roadway project designed to enrich Alameda developer Ron Cowan." According to the Express, Cowan is a "close friend and a big campaign donor" to Perata, who pressured area public agencies to spend large amounts on a Beltway lobbyist to make sure the project would go forward.
  • When Dry is Wet

    By convincing lawmakers that it is the answer to saving the nation's weltands, the mitigation bankers of Florida have taken tens of millions of taxpayers dollars. The wetland the Florida banks were claiming to save were actually dry, and they sold credits to developers who were wiping out wetlands up to 80 miles away.
  • Barrio Land Deal

    In a poorer section of San Diego, a site was set aside for a development that would help a local rebirth. But the lot "sits vacant, surrounded by a fence, filled with trash." A KGTV investigation finds that while the city continues to pay an $8 million loan from Housing and Urban Development for the development of the area, nothing has happened on the property. The land continues to increase in value, and the developer continues to do nothing.
  • Inspecting the Inspectors

    "The Phoenix area is one of the fastest growing parts of the country. Developers and home construction companies are trying to keep up with demand, so homes go up quickly; some owners say too quickly." It turns out that building inspectors were taking half the time that experts say they should. They're work loads were high. Also the developer themselves were to blame in some cases. One developer "poured sub-standard slabs for homes to save money."
  • Clean and Green

    Taking advantage of a state program designed to limit suburban sprawl and preserve open space, Pennsylvania's Allegheny County has been providing tax breaks for country clubs, developers, and owners of million-dollar estates. Under the law, which allows for property assessment breaks, county assessment officials have approved hundreds of new applications since 2003, increasing the number of properties in the program by 50 percent. In return for the tax break, owners had agreed to open their properties to the public. But land owners interviewed for the story asserted their right to declare their homes private property. In addition, the investigation discovered that 60 properties - 5 percent of those in the program - have unpaid taxes totaling more than $100,000. In the wake of the initial story, a followup reported that the government declared the properties open to the public, since they received a tax break like public parks.
  • The KOZ Tax Giveaway

    This series examined Pennsylvania's Keystone Opportunity Zone development program. It found that some businesses that received tax breaks with a condition of job creation did not uphold their end of the arrangement. Penalties for this shortcoming went uncollected, while developers denied revenue to local school districts and failed to develop urban opportunity zones.
  • Land Grab: Affordable housing plan goes awry

    Loder investigated the sale of several public properties to nonprofits and found that the organizations were fronts for developers who used them to get deals on the land. These developers ignored agreements to build only low-income housing on the properties.
  • Hidden Hazards: A Legacy of Neglect

    Robert McCabe unmasked a failed environmental protection system on the local, state and federal level in Chesapeake, Virginia, that permitted developers to build housing on lands with serious pollution problems. In his first report, McCabe explained how in one subdivision, the lead contamination is so high that home buyers in part of the neighborhood will be forbidden to grow vegetables or to water their lawns with groundwater. Furthermore, their homes sit over an old dump site with high levels of underground combustible gas.