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 "Houston Press" ...

  • Inventors Suing InventHelp Want to Know Why George Foreman Represents the Company

    Customers of InventHelp paid thousands of dollars – many took out loans through a company associated with InventHelp – sinking into debt without ever realizing either product or profit.
  • We Sell Houses (and Sometimes Ruin Lives)

    Scott Wizig is a Houston-based real estate king with an appalling track record in Houston, Buffalo, and Baltimore. Houston Press first reported on Wizig in 2004, after he was run out of Buffalo. They decided to follow up on him in 2014 after a group of community non-profits in Baltimore sued him for sitting on dozens of vacant, blighted homes that were deemed health and safety hazards. The Texas Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending appears to be the only Texas entity keeping an eye on Wizig, but even though he's repeatedly violated disclosure laws, the penalties are a pittance. Wizig also has exploited flaws in county record-keeping and eviction courts that have allowed him to foreclose on property he doesn't really own.
  • Placed in the Discard Pile

    The Houston Press reports that "about to be booted from the Fourth Ward, poor people are being told they are too poor to qualify for public housing in Houston."
  • Judging Rory

    Houston Press investigates the conduct of Rory Olsen, judge of Probate Court 3 in Harris County, Texas. The court presides over wills and administers mental health hearings. The investigation finds that judge Olsen has recused himself more than any other judge in the state; his fellow Republicans are his most fiery critics; imposes huge expenses on affluent people who go to court for will probations; fails to communicate with mentally ill people who enter his court.
  • 180 Days In The Hole; Learning To Survive (at) CEP; Letting Go; Backing Off

    In this series the Houston Press looks at how the Houston Independent School district has provided at-risk students with a single disciplinary option: 180 days at a Community Education Partners facility. These facilities, run privately and for profit, have a $17.9 contract guaranteeing them a 2,500 student enrollment. Students do their work on computer terminals without instruction by certified teachers and often grade each other's papers. The environment, which is designed for disruptive kids functioning below grade level, is like a millstone for kids who work at or above their grade level, who have perhaps committed a single, minor infraction.
  • The Little-People Tax

    The Houston Press reports on the disparity between the property taxes paid by middle class and the rich. Several state laws, such as one that protects the secrecy of sales prices, foster this disparity.
  • Carlos Chaves, Mall Surgeon

    The Houston Press reports on a doctor doing cosmetic surgery out of a Texas mall. "Dr." Carlos Chaves, who was not licensed to practice medicine in the United States, had been also practicing unlicensed surgeries out of a home in Miami. Immigrant doctors face a difficult time getting licensed in the U.S. Chaves, and others like him, mostly serve a clientele of Spanish-speaking immigrants who are unlikely to complain or seek legal remedies, if something goes wrong.
  • Billie Bob's (Mis)fortune

    The Houston Press profiles lottery winner Billie Bob Harrell, who took his life less than two years after winning a $31 million jackpot. Harrell never found Easy Street. Winning the lottery lead Harrell into divorce and financial overextension. He cashed in his half of 10 years worth of lottery payments worth 6 million for $2.25 million -- still five weeks later he took his own life. "Winning the lottery was the worst thing that ever happened to me," he said.
  • Reeling

    This Houston Press investigation examines the reasons for several fish kills in Sam Rayburn Reservoir in East Texas, which "has been considered one of the premier largemouth bass fisheries in the nation." The story reveals that the lake has a pollution problem, although "the cause for Rayburn's woes cannot be answered with certainty," The investigation exposes multiple discrepancies in the studies of the state environmental agency and the fact sheets provided by the largest pollutant, a " huge paper mill on the reservoir's upper reaches." The reporter predicts that the pollution problem may get worse, as the state environmental agency is "leaning toward approving a proposal from the paper mill to downgrade the lake's water quality standards."
  • Trouble in mind

    The Houston Press reports that "as many as 17 percent of those (140,000) inmates are either mentally ill or mentally retarded, yet the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has fewer than 4,600 beds designated for the mentally impaired... the number of state-funded nonprison beds for the mentally challenged has dropped from 8,000 to fewer than 5,500. In essence, the state of Texas is warehousing its mental patients in its prison system..."