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 "land development" ...

  • Stanford University: Wildland Development Escalates California Fire Costs

    The Camp Fire is just the latest mega-fire in California — and the cost of fighting such fires has risen dramatically. California dwarfs other states in fire-suppression costs, an analysis by a Stanford journalism class has found. The Stanford class analyzed daily reports from the most expensive fires in every state from 2014 to 2017, and found that dense development at the border of wildlands — in communities like Paradise, Cobb, and Santa Rosa — helps explain California fires’ exceptional damage and expense to put out.
  • "The Panhandle Paradox"

    Hal Herring investigates the land developments of the St. Joe Company in the Florida panhandle. On the surface, development plans seem to be environmentally sound, but upon closer inspection, the company's developments threaten to destroy major ecosystems harboring many "endangered species."
  • The Loudoun Network

    "In Loudoun County one of the nation's fastest-growing counties, local officials who routinely voted on billion-dollar building projects worked closely with the developers they regulated."
  • A Trail of Broken Promises

    The story follows an agency, known as the Southeastern Economic Development Corp., as the president used a legal settlement to get a small business owner to remove its claim on a piece of coveted land. The agency then ignored the settlement and allowed a developer with business ties to the chairman to take over the land. The broken settlement cost the small business owners their expansion plans and their business.
  • Desert Dealer

    "Las Vegas homebuilder Jim Rhodes became the most influential developer in the East Valley when he bought more than 1,000 acres of state trust land, and the right to master plan an additional 6,700 acres. The State Land Department made no attempt to check his background before selling the land and planning rights, which will set the tone for 275 squares miles of trust land in the area. Had they checked, Land Department officials would have found that Rhodes has admitted illegally using his money to aid powerful politicians, and had close ties to corrupt public officials in Nevada. He also has repeatedly and successfully been sued for fraud, self dealing and theft; and has a long history of complaints for shoddy construction."
  • 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.
  • Land of Confusion

    At Country Club of the Poconos, some residents of this large home development "weren't conveyed any land with their home purchases." The land had never been subdivided for individual ownership "on plans approved by the township and recorded in the deeds office." and a new property owners association eventually obtained the deed on the land as "open space." While that association has a property tax exemption for the open space, individual home buyers are still paying taxes "on property they don't own."
  • The Speculators

    Reporters investigated a small group of politically connected investors who are shaping the growth and character of one of the biggest land booms in the country. Because of their connections they operate unfettered by restrictions or requirements. If the deals go bad, the speculators face few consequences and quickly re-emerge unscathed while they continue to play fast and loose with other peoples' money.
  • Forgery claim blurs tribe's fate

    Forged documents were used as part of a land development deal involving the ousted leader of the Amah Mutsun Indian Tribe and her San Diego-based development partner. The Bureau of Indian Affairs remained neutral on the matter even after learning that the documents were forged.
  • Paper Paradise

    The investigation focused on hundreds of undevelopable land parcels being aggressively marketed on the internet for thousands of dollars over their appraised price, hindering environmental attempts to preserve the land. The department set up to stop this practice in the 1960's, the Division of Land Sales, was unaware of its resurgence until contacted by the journalists.