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 "property records" ...

  • Hard Rock Hotel Collapse

    When an 18-story hotel under construction collapsed catastrophically on a Saturday morning in October, we immediately began trying to understand what went wrong. Initially, this involved sharing video of the collapse with experts to seek opinions about possible causes. In the days and weeks that followed, we spoke with workers who were on the job and reviewed building plans and inspection reports to determine where missteps were made. We also uncovered a video, narrated in Spanish by a worker on the site, that was posted several days before the collapse, in which the worker spotlights a number of alarming flaws in the building.
  • Tax Dodgers

    A WTAE-TV investigation found serious problems with Pittsburgh's tax collection procedures as the city grappled with municipal bankruptcy. The two stories found that the city had more than $21 million in delinquent taxes, or half its deficit at the time, and that some of the biggest banks in Pittsburgh, and around the country, were failing to pay their taxes.
  • Insider Trading at City Hall?

    This 11-month investigation linked the mayor, Rick Filippi, to a series of deals for land near the International Paper Co. that was lying vacant. Filippi, along with a few associates, used information from the mayor's office to personally profit from the deals and in one instance offered inside information to a longtime friend and campaign financier, Rolf Patberg.
  • Overtown and the CRA: Agency May Have Wasted Millions

    When Oscar Corral of the Miami Herald began questioning the location of parking lots being built by the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), he quickly realized something was "seriously awry with the CRA's management." The nearly year-long investigation that followed centered on Overtown, one of Miami's poorest neighborhoods -- and discovered "a pattern of mismanagement, questionable spending decisions and failed projects. The result: The community has virtually nothing to show for $70 million in spending over the past decade," and the neighborhood "remains a near-wasteland of poverty and substandard housing." The primary program charged with "revitalizing the neighborhood" spent millions of dollars, but "completed only five of 36 proposed projects and has not pushed a single housing initiative." What's more, back-door dealings resulted in dubious contracts being awarded, some of which were never fulfilled despite the CRA paying for them -- and the nepotism even included the hiring of a former prostitute and thief to run errands for the CRA chairman. More than 50 interviews with frequently elusive sources, along with numerous documents and computer-assisted analyses of databases including enforcement cases, delinquent loans, property records and building demolitions, went into getting the stories -- which resulted in city, state, and FBI investigations into the CRA.
  • The American Nightmare

    WNDU-TV reports on a fraudulent mortgage scheme in which families had their homes foreclosed even though they were making mortgage payments. The fraud affected families who bought homes on land contract because they had bad credit. The fraud was done by Money Solutions, a local company owned by Tamara Sexton. According to FBI, the problem is not confined to Southern Indiana but has become commonplace all over the country, WNDU reports.
  • The Property Tax Riddle

    Due to an inconsistent and poorly designed system, people in lower income areas are often paying higher property taxes than those in high income regions. This tax gap reinforces the disparity between the rich and poor in the area. Wood and CAR specialist Ciotta used databases to analyze the millions of property records in the Philadelphia area.
  • Slicing through the rules: Genesis of a land deal"

    A Toronto Star investigation reveals that "the best friend of Mike Harris, the Premier of Ontario (the political equivalent of a U.S. governor), succeeded in overturning long-standing government policies to pave the way for the building of a luxury golf course and subdivision. The friend and his fellow investors - who also included ranking members of Harris' hometown political machine - stood to make millions as a result of the change."
  • Painting over Danger: How the government fails to protect children from lead poisoning

    A Post-Standard investigation reveals that in Syracuse, at least 48 children since 1995 were poisoned by lead in homes that government inspectors previously had declared safe. "In each case, a child has been poisoned earlier in the home, the landlord made repairs, the county declared the property safe, tenants returned and second child was poisoned," Perez reports. Small children and pregnant women are the two risk groups most vulnerable to lead poisoning.
  • Homes' Tax and Sale Values out of Synch

    The News Tribune "acquired a database of more than 270,000 property records from the Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer's office. The records included several fields of information about every property in the county." Sullivan found that although "property owners in Pierce County have known for the last few years that the sky-high home prices in Seattle/King County were trickling south, ... one thing we didn't know was how fast they could change and where they were changing the fastest."
  • Flipping, Fraud, and Fantastic Profits

    WBAL-TV reports "an investigation that focuses on a real estate scheme in which longtime landlords and speculators "flip" deteriorating properties to unknowing buyers and investors for highly inflated prices. The extent of the scheme .. as many as 2500 properties in the city of Baltimore are involved. The scheme has caused a dramatic increase in mortgage foreclosures and personal bankruptcies and has further contributed to the demise of many struggling neighborhoods."