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 [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "California" ...

  • Lifting a Cloak of Secrecy

    The Los Angeles Times and Californians Aware waged a successful, year-long battle to pry loose public records surrounding the fate of the taxpayer-owned L.A. Memorial Coliseum.
  • Deadly Neglect

    Major change is now possible for residents at California’s 7,500 assisted living homes thanks to a team of reporters from U-T San Diego and the California HealthCare Foundation Center for Health Reporting at USC. It took a year’s worth of data-collection and analysis, examination of thousands of paper documents and shoe-leather journalism to produce “Deadly Neglect,” a series of stories that exposed death and abuse at assisted living facilities in San Diego County. The stories revealed that over the past seven years at least 27 deaths had occurred to assisted living residents in which negligence played a role. They found homes where residents were given wrong or no medication, and a state agency that didn’t keep track of the deaths it investigated. More than half a dozen state legislators,, outraged by the team’s findings, have announced the Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly Reform Act of 2014, a group of 14 reform bills that will be introduced in this year’s legislative session.
  • Hidden Cost of School Construction Loans

    A series of stories that revealed the hidden role of investment banks in steering California public school districts into costly borrowing schemes that will cost taxpayers as much as 20 times principal and take decades to repay.
  • Hollywood Sting

    When the FBI raided the offices of California State Sen. Ronald Calderon in June 2012, the state’s news media had little idea of what was really going on. Some reporters immediately speculated that the raid was related to links Calderon had with a Southern California water district. But they were wrong. Indeed, no one knew the extraordinary story behind that FBI raid until Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit obtained, through confidential sources, a 124-page sealed affidavit that laid out the government’s case against the embattled senator. In its series, titled “Hollywood Sting,’’ Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit exposed the sordid tale of Sen. Calderon’s alleged bribery and corruption and brought viewers and readers inside the unfolding narrative of an elaborate FBI sting. The network devoted more than an hour of on-air coverage to the story and published its findings on Oct. 30, 2013. The story prompted a “leak’’ investigation by the U.S. Justice Department into how Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit obtained the secret affidavit. DOJ announced the inquiry the day after we broke the story. Just last week, a special agent for DOJ’s Office of Inspector General contacted James Wedick, a former senior FBI supervisor who was interviewed for the story. The investigator sought to question Wedick about Al Jazeera correspondent Josh Bernstein’s contacts in the bureau. The investigator also contacted a lawyer representing Al Jazeera.
  • The Carissa Carpenter Saga

    For 16 years, a charismatic woman named Carissa Carpenter skittered across California and South Carolina, drumming up investors - and public support – for an extravagant, multi-billion-dollar movie studio project she vowed to deliver to the various rural regions, hungry for economic development. The problem? The lavish proposals never came to fruition and, until The Bee’s investigation, Carpenter was never held accountable – or even exposed - for the millions lost by investors or by local business associates, who were rarely paid for their work before she vanished again.
  • Dying to Get Back

    The death of Alfonso Martinez Sanchez, 39, in March 2012 sparked little attention. A construction worker and father of five who’d lived in Southern California for more than 20 years before being deported to Mexico, he was just another immigrant to die in the Arizona desert while attempting to cross back into the United States. But “Dying to Get Back,” a joint investigation by The Investigative Fund and PBS’s Need to Know, revealed that his death was part of a disturbing phenomenon: even as tighter border security has sent illegal border crossings plummeting, migrant deaths are on the rise — particularly among the deported parents of American children.
  • In Harm's Way

    "In Harm's Way" uncovers a pattern of poor government regulation and dangerous safety problems in the booming interstate bus industry, which now carries as many passengers from city to city as domestic airlines--700 million passenger rides a year. In an investigation that took most of the year, the KNBC I-Team exposed how federal regulators routinely allow unsafe buses to remain on the roads, sometimes with fatal consequences. In 2013, California had a record number of major bus crashes--11 of them--with hundreds of injuries and over a dozen deaths.
  • Pharma’s Windfall: The Mining of Rare Diseases

    In 1983, California congressman Henry Waxman helped pass the Orphan Drug Act to encourage research on rare diseases. The law offered financial incentives to drug makers in hopes they would tackle long-neglected disorders while breaking even or posting modest profits. Ever since, the Orphan Drug Act was lauded as government at its finest, praised for providing a boon in generating new pharmaceuticals. But by the act’s 30th anniversary, The Seattle Times found that the law’s good intentions had been subverted. In what amounts to a windfall, the pharmaceutical industry has exploited this once-obscure niche of the healthcare field, turning rare diseases into a multibillion dollar enterprise and the fastest-growing sector of America’s prescription-drug system. The series, “Pharma’s Windfall: The Mining of Rare Diseases,” uses extensive data from the FDA and NIH, along with financial reports from the SEC to show the financial incentives behind the system. For the human repercussions, the reporters found and told the stories of families struggling with rare disease.
  • Going Postal – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein's husband sells post offices to his friends, cheap

    CBRE Group. Inc. is a commercial real estate corporation which is chaired by Richard C. Blum, who is the husband of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California. In 2011, the United States Postal Service (USPS) awarded CBRE an exclusive contract to sell off postal real estate in cities and towns across America. Based upon examining hundreds of public records, Going Postal reported that CBRE has sold more than $200 million worth of post office real estate at under fair market values, often to the firm's clients and business partners. CBRE's contract with the USPS requires the company to obtain fair market prices for properties that it brokers on behalf of the public and to avoid such conflicts of interest.
  • Where Have All the Lawyers Gone?

    “Where Have All the Lawyers Gone?” identifies the shortage of affordable and pro bono legal services in Santa Barbara County and the impact that shortage has on society’s most vulnerable segments such as the homeless and working poor, especially in dealing with civil rights abuses, law enforcement issues, domestic violence, evictions and other legal issues that compound into bigger problems without accessible legal help. The story found that only about one-third of the legal needs of the county’s poor (14 percent of the county’s population lives under the poverty line) were being met. Although the California State Bar recommends that firms provide 50 hours of pro bono work a year, lawyers in the area admitted “there’s never been a culture of pro bono” in the area, and the firms that do participate are more likely to work with non-profits than poor individuals. An investigation revealed a glaring deficit in pro bono and affordable legal care in a town with more than its fair share of nonprofits and foundations dedicated to social issue