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 "projects" ...

  • Corruption in Iraq

    Before the Iraqi district of Sinjar in Ninewa province fell into the hands of the Islamic State, foul drinking water was making people sick with preventable diseases. The U.S. tried to fix the problem by digging wells and treatment facilities, but poor oversight and shoddy work from contractors left the area no better than it had started, despite millions of dollars spent in reconstruction money. An investigation into Iraqi efforts to fix the problem after the U.S. withdrew showed that projects remained unfinished, but money for maintenance and fuel continued to pour into the pockets of local officials. In an area where extremists use frustration over corruption to recruit followers. the implications of this corruption couldn’t be more serious.
  • Contract to Cheat

    Contract to Cheat told an overlooked and poorly understood story of a construction industry dominated by companies willing to cheat on the backs of laborers and honest competitors. Using payroll records submitted for federally funded projects, reporters in eight McClatchy papers, the company's D.C. bureau and ProPublica examined the extent of the problem and exposed the government regulators who let it happen.
  • Contract to Cheat

    McClatchy Newspapers is proud to submit "Contract to Cheat" for consideration in the Philip Meyer Journalism awards "Contract to Cheat" relied upon federal payroll records submitted by private companies building public projects. The records enabled reporters to estimate the lost tax revenue associated with the illegal practice of treating workers who should be employees as independent contractors. Tens of thousands of pages of payroll records formed the backbone of our report, while the construction workers and company owners listed on the reports allowed us to capture the human impact of the labor scheme. Wrestling the records into usable and compelling data was a significant - though worthwhile - challenge for McClatchy staff.
  • The Fenimore Fumes

    A series of reports, aired over a period of months, exposed serious problems related to a redevelopment project at the Fenimore Landfill, resulting in a state takeover and a new law changing how remediation projects are handled in the future. The investigation found that dangerous fumes were being released, putting thousands of residents at risk; that the project may not have been necessary; that new homes were built adjacent to a leaking toxic site without proper disclosures to buyers; that the project was entrusted to a convicted felon (contrary to state law) who had bribed public officials in a project; and that the entire project was based on illegal contracts as the man who signed them claiming to be the developer owned neither the property not the development company.
  • Deals for Developers, Cash for Campaigns

    D.C. routinely awards real estate subsidies to encourage development but there has been little scrutiny of them and plenty of questions. For instance, how much have the subsidies cost taxpayers over time and are they really needed when the city has one of the country’s hottest real estate markets? The reporters examined thousands of pages of city documents on 110 developments receiving city subsidies in the past decade and nearly 100,000 campaign contributions for council, mayoral and other local races over that time. The investigation found the city awarded $1.7 billion in subsidies in the past decade — and more than a third went to ten developers that donated the most campaign cash over that time. A dozen developers spent the most campaign cash the year their subsidy was approved and there were 10 dates in which three or more companies developing a project together donated to a single candidate on the same day. 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.
  • Rural Center investigation

    Reporting that revealed questionable grant making, overstated job creation claims, breaking of rules, political influence, conflicts of interest and a large built-up cash balance of taxpayers money at the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, the longtime leading agency for rural development in North Carolina. This reporting led to the creation of a new state agency to oversee and administer millions in rural grants in North Carolina; the transfer of about $100 million back to the state, including $27 million that had not been earmarked for any projects in rural areas. The reporting, along with a state audit that was subsequent to the reporting, also contributed to the abrupt resignation of the longtime president at the Rural Center and its chairman of the board. More than a half dozen board members recused from making decisions immediately after a story spotlighted conflicts and potential conflicts.
  • Public Salary project

    This entry consists of stories culled from a massive request for government compensation from hundreds of government agencies, cities, counties, school, college and special districts. This projects follows the money. The data is made public through data bases on our web sites and culled through by investigative reporter Thomas Peele, who roots out stories from deep in the data, including ones about secret pension boosting perks, officials paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for not working, government managers sitting on huge banks of unused vacation time to cash in at retirement, part-time elected officials who do little work while being paid hundreds of dollars and an hour, long forgotten politicians receiving free life-time government health insurance decades are leaving office. The project routinely ferrets out information about the spending of public money that not even those in charge of government agencies are aware of until Peele tells them: "Wow,” said James Fang, a member of the board of the BART transit district when informed data showed the agencies former general manager, who had resigned two years earlier in the midst if being fired, had remained in the agency's payroll for years, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars and jacking up her future pension. “She was still on the payroll? I did not know this. It’s startling.”
  • Broken Bonds

    A Tribune investigation revealed how Chicago’s leaders blew through nearly $20 billion in bond money – a reckless pattern of borrowing that undermined the city’s future by spending on worthless projects, structuring financial deals in ways that could run afoul of Internal Revenue Service rules and piling an unsustainable level of debt onto the shoulders of future generations.
  • Deals For Developers

    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.
  • Can You Fight Poverty With A Five-Star Hotel?

    My story is about the World Bank’s private investing arm, the International Finance Corporation, the IFC. It reveals that the IFC is a profit-oriented, deal-driven organization that not only fails to fight poverty, its stated mission, but may exacerbate it in its zeal to earn a healthy return on investment. The article details my investigation through hundreds of primary source and other documents, dozens of interviews around the world and my trip to Ghana to see many projects first-hand, to recount that the IFC hands out billions in cut-rate loans to wealthy tycoons and giant multinationals in some of the world’s poorest places. My story details the IFC’s investments with a who’s who of giant multinational corporations: Dow Chemical, DuPont, Mitsubishi, Vodafone, and many more. It outlines that the IFC funds fast-food chains like Domino's Pizza in South Africa and Kentucky Fried Chicken in Jamaica. It invests in upscale shopping malls in Egypt, Ghana, the former Soviet republics, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. It backs candy-shop chains in Argentina and Bangladesh; breweries with global beer behemoths like SABMiller and with other breweries in the Czech Republic, Laos, Romania, Russia, and Tanzania; and soft-drink distribution for the likes of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and their competitors in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Mali, Russia, South Sudan, Uzbekistan, and more. The criticism of most such investments -- from a broad array of academics, watchdog groups and local organizations in the poor countries themselves -- is that these investments make little impact on poverty and could just as easily be undertaken without IFC subsidies. In some cases, critics contend, the projects hold back development and exacerbate poverty, not to mention subjecting affected countries to pollution and other ills.