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 "renovations" ...

  • Tax evasion in Princeton's eating clubs

    This was an investigation into how Princeton's eating clubs raise millions of dollars to pay for lavish renovations of their social facilities, including taprooms, lounges and dining halls. The investigation found that the leadership of the 12 eating clubs had over time set up a handful of "educational" foundations to hand out tax breaks to their donors. These donations directly violated IRS guidelines. Had the donors given money directly to the clubs, they would have received no tax benefits.
  • Not all of Hinchey's earmarks live up to billing

    One of the leading politicians in central New York is longtime US Rep. Maurice Hinchey. He has been unapologetic and prolific crafting earmarks that steer federal funds into his sprawling district. Many in the Hudson Valley can see the results: a pedestrian bridge that spans the Hudson River, renovations for an historic opera house and help to at-risk youth. There are dozens and dozens of others. By one estimate, two years ago the senior Democrat was among the nation's top 12 earmarking members of Congress. But a review found his earmarks have not always lived up to billing. Money for solar energy companies that did not create hundreds of promised jobs. A presidential helicopter that was supposed to be built largely in Owego, NY, is scrapped, and was decried by President Obama and US Sen. John McCain, among others, as an extremely wasteful. Also not fulfilling promises was a military contractor where dozens of jobs were predicted. While Hinchey had been identified in the past as prolific with earmarks, even the past two years finding ways to work around Congress’ ostensible ban on earmarks, no one had gone back through the public record to examine on a large scale whether key projects lived up to promises. The students obtained and examined federal databases on earmarks, read the public record on pronouncements at the time the earmarks were issued, and identified key projects that did not live up to billing.
  • Hospital at Risk

    My investigation of the Minnesota Security Hospital, a state-run facility that provides psychiatric treatment to nearly 400 adults deemed "mentally ill and dangerous," uncovered high rates of violence and injuries of employees and patients at the facility, a critical shortage of psychiatrists, and widespread confusion among employees about what to do when a patient becomes violent. I found that much of confusion was the result of the abrasive, threatening management style of head administrator David Proffitt, who was hired in 2011 to reform the facility. I began investigating Proffitt and found he was hired without a basic background check. I uncovered many troubling details from Proffitt's past, including domestic violence, a PhD from a now-defunct online degree mill, a forced resignation from his previous job as the administrator of a private psychiatric hospital in Maine, and other failings. The state ordered Proffitt to resign and the Minnesota legislative auditor began an audit of the department's hiring practices. The assistant commissioner of the Department of Human Services who led the hiring search also resigned. The governor proposed $40 million in renovations to address safety concerns. Regulators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration visited the facility for the first time in 21 years. The facility also implemented new training for employees to reduce violence. My investigation of the facility continues.
  • UDC

    The 16-part investigative series exposed out-of-control spending by the president of the University of District of Columbia, the only publicly-funded university in the nation's capital. The story shows how the university president used taxpayer dollars on first-class travel, a luxury automobile and home renovations... all when he was doubling student tuition.
  • UDC

    An exposure of out-of-control spending by the president of the University of District of Columbia, the only publicly-funded university in the nation's capital. The investigation showed how President Allen Sessoms used taxpayer dollars on first-class travel, a luxury automobile and home renovations, all while he was doubling student tuition.
  • Flip This House

    This story details the con man behind the reality show "Flip This House," who swindled thousands of dollars from dozens of victims. Also, the reporters discovered that behind the scenes, "the home renovations were shoddy, open house events were staged and so-called profitable home sales were actually faked."
  • Blowing the Whistle on a Casino Giant

    The Review-Journal found that remodeling at one hotel in Las Vegas was registered as cosmetic work, thus exempting it from permits or inspections. However, the work was far from cosmetic and the continued renovations threatened public and employee safety.
  • Death in the air: Asbestos Exposure

    An American-Statesman investigation discovers that most asbestos removal projects in major Texas cities are "violating state and federal safety laws without getting caught, thereby exposing thousands of construction workers to dangerous levels of the health-damaging fibers." As most building owners and construction contractors are leery to get their buildings inspected for asbestos before starting renovation or demolition, construction workers get repeated long-term exposure that is likely to cause asbestos diseases, the newspaper reports. The unprotected employees have been "mostly Hispanic day laborers hired to do the dirtiest jobs." After the series was published, the state enforced new laws that prohibit "city building officials from issuing permits for renovations or demolitions unless the building owner shows they have had the building surveyed for asbestos by a licensed inspector."
  • Lingering asbestos troubles schools; Asbestos laws baffle schools

    The Star-Telegram found that many Texas schools had "faulty asbestos surveys, had hired unqualified companies to remove the material, did not consider asbestos when undertaking renovations, did not train employees who came in contact with the material and did not maintain documentation required by state and federal laws." Every school district in Texas had violations due to inadequate staffing to enforce health laws and provide oversight. This story resulted in many schools updating asbestos surveys and one district announced it would instigate a "comprehensive air quality management plan."
  • Vice President's Quarters Draw Fund-Raisers' Bucks

    "This story details how political friends and patrons of Vice President (Al) Gore gave money and gifts to the Vice President's Residence Foundation, a non-profit fund started in 1989 to fund renovations and improvements to the Vice Presidential mansion." Includes backgrounds about some of the "most generous contributors."