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 "public works" ...

  • Bribery Division

    The Bribery Division, an international investigation into Latin America’s largest construction company, reveals fresh evidence of hundreds of millions of dollars in suspicious payments linked to major infrastructure projects. Brazilian multinational Odebrecht has been implicated in a cash-for-contracts scandal that the U.S. Department of Justice has described as “the largest foreign bribery case in history.” The Bribery Division investigation unveils dramatic new information in taking readers inside the belly of the beast: Odebrecht’s Division of Structured Operations, a specialized unit created for the primary purpose of managing the company’s graft. A team of more than 50 journalists across the Americas, led by ICIJ, examined more than 13,000 Odebrecht documents from a secret communication platform used by the Structured Operations unit. The team’s sprawling expose revealed Odebrecht’s cash-for-contracts operation was even bigger than the company had acknowledged to prosecutors and had involved prominent figures and massive public works projects not mentioned in the criminal cases or other official inquiries to date.
  • The Profiteers

    The tale of the Bechtel family dynasty is a classic American business story. It begins with Warren A. “Dad” Bechtel, who led a consortium that constructed the Hoover Dam. From that auspicious start, the family and its eponymous company would go on to “build the world,” from the construction of airports in Hong Kong and Doha, to pipelines and tunnels in Alaska and Europe, to mining and energy operations around the globe. Today Bechtel is one of the largest privately held corporations in the world, enriched and empowered by a long history of government contracts and the privatization of public works, made possible by an unprecedented revolving door between its San Francisco headquarters and Washington. Bechtel executives John McCone, Caspar Weinberger, and George P. Shultz segued from leadership at the company to positions as Director of the CIA, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of State, respectively. Like all stories of empire building, the rise of Bechtel presents a complex and riveting narrative. In The Profiteers, Sally Denton, whom The New York Times called “a wonderful writer,” exposes Bechtel’s secret world and one of the biggest business and political stories of our time.
  • Insider Deals at Airports Authority

    The Washington Examiner's Liz Essley exposed government nepotism and corruption with her coverage of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which oversees two airports and one of the largest ongoing public works projects in the nation, the $6 billion Silver Line. In addition to a series of stories detailing insider deals and nepotism, Essley's July 31 report on a $180,000 job given to former board member Mame Reiley the day after she resigned from the board caused the nation's top transportation official, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, to demand immediate reform at the authority, as he stated in an interview with the Washington Post Aug. 13 and before a Congressional committee Nov. 16.
  • Deeply Buried Doubts: Errors and Fraud Threaten California’s Costliest Bridge

    This year-long investigation examined construction and testing of the new $6.4 billion San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and found widespread errors and malfeasance. The new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is the most costly public works project in California history. Its designers valued one quality above all others: the strength to withstand the strongest anticipated earthquake. This investigation raised questions about the structural integrity of the span that are not easy to answer. It revealed flaws in tests of the main tower’s foundation, chronicled the troubled work history of the technician who conducted many of the tests and had fabricated data on other structures. The series also revealed bridges throughout the state burdened with similar issues – raising calls for new safety examinations. Until contacted by The Bee, the California Department of Transportation had overlooked the problems with the Bay Bridge. But the findings of the initial stories of the series – validated by top experts in the construction and testing of such massive foundations – forced them to act. Two Caltrans employees – the technician and his supervisor – were fired as a result of the Bee stories, prosecutors launched investigations and state legislative committees convened to examine the department’s practices and culture. The stories were based on a review of about 80,000 pages of technical plans, test results, internal emails and personnel documents, and interviews with numerous insiders. The Bee showed how officials failed to conduct a thorough investigation of testing fabrications, years after learning of the problems. After the initial story in 2011 (not part of this award application, but included in the submission for context only), Caltrans’ “peer review” experts examined the Bay Bridge– and gave it a clean bill of health. Piller showed soon after that they were compromised by serious financial and professional conflicts of interest with Caltrans and bridge contractors.
  • Fabricated and Flawed Integrity Tests Threaten Public Safety and an Iconic $6.3 Billion Bridge

    The investigation found that a technician who tested the structural integrity of the other new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge fudnation had fabricated results on othe structures and committed numberous testing errors, callling to question the stability of California's costliest and most important public works project ever, among other freeway structures statewide.
  • What Trinity Toll Road Backers Didn't Tell Us

    In 2007, Dallas voters rendered a judgement on the largest public works project in city history, casting ballots in a referendum that had become a surprisingly close, all-in-battle between grassroots activists and the Dallas business and cultural establishment. The question- should the city's multi-billion plan to transform Dallas' long-neglected riverfront into a massive series of parks, forests, white-water rapids, and other natural wonders be built, as planned, with a $2 billion high-speed toll road running right through it?
  • Structural Failures

    A series of stories examined the potential causes for the failure of a parking garage fa�ade that fell, killing a teenager walking to a music festival.
  • Public Works, Hidden Violations

    Several construction companies were given "tens of millions in federal stimulus contracts," even though they violated several laws and regulations. Also, a few had been "convicted of defrauding taxpayers on previous projects" and others had previously paid fines for violating regulations. These should have been revealed when filling out the forms to be approved for the stimulus contracts.
  • Race Gap Found in Pothole Patching

    The Milwaukee Department of Public Works was found to have clear geographical and racial disparities in how it allocated city workers to fix potholes throughout the area. A database of pothole locations with repair times were mapped out by the reporters and U.S. Census data was used to assess the poor response times.
  • Bay Bridge: A Special Investigation

    This investigation of the Bay Bridge centered on allegations made by 20 welders who worked on the construction of a new Bay Bridge span -- the largest ongoing transportation public works project in the country. The workers alleged they were pressured to conceal substandard welds in the bridge's foundations and that they witnessed the contractor concealing injuries from health and safety regulators. The investigation continues, with pending results of the attorney general investigation, lawsuits and the state audit.