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 "luxury" ...

  • The Real Question

    Our 4 1/2-month investigation uncovered how The RealReal, a high-profile $1.5 billion public company that bills itself as the world's largest online marketplace for luxury merchandise, does not have experts authenticating every item as the company claims, leading to obvious counterfeits being sold on the website.
  • Opportunity Zones

    Trump’s only significant legislative achievement was his 2017 tax code overhaul. It contained a provision to help the poor, called “opportunity zones.” In 2019, ProPublica showed that while the benefits to the poor have not yet materialized, some people have already reaped the rewards: the wealthy and politically connected. We found that wealthy developers lobbied government officials and got their long-planned investments in luxury projects included in the program, despite its avowed goal of attracting new investment into poor areas. Critically, two of our stories feature areas that never should have been qualified for the program in the first place, but were allowed in by a deeply flawed implementation of the law by the U.S. Treasury Department. They were then selected by state governors after lobbying efforts by wealthy developers. Our articles, along with those of other outlets, led to Congressional calls for investigations into the designation process, as well as proposed reforms to make the program more transparent and to eliminate potential abuses by investors.
  • Hachette Books: Billion Dollar Whale

    In 2009, a mild-mannered graduate of the Wharton School of Business set in motion a fraud of unprecedented gall and magnitude—“like 100 heist movies strung together” (Matt Taibbi)—and one that would eventually ensnare leading bankers and even threaten the future of investment behemoth Goldman Sachs. The story of “the $5 billion swindle known as 1MDB” would become “a textbook case of financial fraud in the modern age" (New York Times). Over a decade, Jho Low siphoned billions from an investment fund—seemingly under the nose of financial watchdogs. He used the money to purchase luxury real estate, to throw champagne-drenched parties with celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Paris Hilton, and even to finance Hollywood films like The Wolf of Wall Street. As his scheme finally unraveled, with his yacht and private jet seized, Low disappeared. Billion Dollar Whale reveals the full story of the financial world’s most unlikely fugitive—a harrowing parable of hubris and greed in the twenty-first century.
  • Luxuries on public dime

    Based on public financial records obtained through an FOI request, a Belleville News-Democrat investigation found that more than $230,000 was spent on a taxpayer-supported American Express card over four years used by East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton. He used the card to buy construction materials, take Las Vegas trips, purchase gas for his private vehicle, and buy dinners and gifts for political friends. Hamilton pleaded guilty to federal charges for misusing public funds.
  • Amarillo Economic Development Corporation Travel Expenses

    This series looks at travel expenses from the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) during a three-year period. The AEDC is mostly funded with taxpayer money with the Amarillo city council approving the almost $2 million operating budget. The findings include luxury hotel expenses, purchases of alcohol, meals at high-end restaurants, late check-out fees and rounds of golf. Some receipts were hand-written, unreadable or not itemized. There is little to no oversight of these expenses either by the organization or the city. The AEDC has no “written” policies on travel and the president approves his own expenses. Many of the meals, trips and rounds of golf are considered an investment, but there is no record of who attended because the AEDC says the deals are confidential. The organization has existed for 26 years but has brought in 34 businesses during that time to Amarillo.
  • Michael LaForgia

    This report was the first interview with Swiss bank whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld since the banker had been released from federal prison and awarded $104 million for his role in revealing how thousands of Americans evaded taxes with secret Swiss bank accounts. Birkenfeld had been released years earlier, but had not spoken publicly about his massive new wealth. In our interview, the Boston-born banker gave a tour of his new luxury box at the Boston Garden, showed off his new Porsche, railed against the US Department of Justice, and alleged that unnamed American political figures had secret bank accounts in Switzerland. http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000375411 http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000375414 http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000375403 http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000375407 http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000375435 http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000375431
  • Hattiesburg taxpayers fund liquor, jewelry, and gifts

    WDAM uncovered misspending of taxpayer dollars at the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission. In summary, the city imposes an extra two percent tax on restaurant food purchases in the city to help fund tourism in the area. That money was instead spent on luxury items such as Tiffany jewelry and family vacations by the executive director and several people working for him. https://vimeo.com/151837779 http://www.wdam.com/story/28416053/investigation-hattiesburg-taxpayers-fund-liquor-jewelry-and-gifts
  • Aura of Power

    Through a series of stories, CBC Edmonton's investigative unit revealed the abuse of public resources by former Alberta Premier Alison Redford. The series revealed the premier had secretly ordered herself a luxury penthouse, flew her daughter on government planes dozens of times, and employed a scheme to block passengers from government flights so she could fly alone with a chosen entourage.
  • Brian Ross Investigates: A Murder, A Mobster and the FBI

    This story started as a local news investigation into a stolen car but quickly revealed a tale of corruption inside the federal government, with national implications. We found a former Russian mobster, operating a thriving luxury car business in Florida, had been accused of various crimes by consumers - but that those crimes were not pursued by local police. In looking further at Mani Chulpayev, we found he had been a highly-regarded government informant, snitching on those in the Russian crime world. In return, it appeared he was being given a pass for crimes he continued to commit himself. As a result, the FBI has launched an investigation into the agent who was Chulpayev's handler for years. And Chulpayev now awaits trial for what prosecutors say was his role in the murder of a local hip-hop artist, amid allegations that the murder investigation had stalled for a year due to his handler's interference.
  • The Gifted Life of a Governor

    Over months of in-depth investigative reporting, Washington Post reporters discovered Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell--a respected state leader and rising star in his party--held a secret: He and his family had accepted lavish gifts and large loans from the chief executive of a struggling dietary supplement manufacturer, even while working to promote the company. The gifts included luxury items such as designer clothes, a Cape Cod vacation, a Rolex watch and a catered wedding. The money totaled $120,000 in loans over about a year in 2011 and 2012, none repaid before the Washington Post started asking questions. After dozens of articles, the governor apologized for his actions and repaid the money. State and federal authorities opened criminal probes and leaders in both parties have promised to rewrite state ethics laws, long considered some of the most lax in the nation.