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 "contracts" ...

  • Superintendent's contract

    The Gazette’s investigation into contacts awarded the superintendent of Medina City Schools revealed unprecedented benefits, including the payment of more than a quarter million dollars in educational expenses that included college debts more than a decade old. The lucrative contract provisions remained hidden from the public because of the failure of the school board to properly publicize the contracts, in violation of Ohio’s Sunshine Law. They educational payment also escaped public notice because they were made from a county fund that was not included in the school district’s financial reports or annual audits.
  • South Bay DA: Exposing the "Gift of Time

    We exposed how the Santa Clara County District Attorney, Jeff Rosen, circumvented the county’s time-off policy, giving thousands of hours of extra vacation to his appointees-“lead attorneys,” some of the highest paid employees in the county- as a secret perk. We uncovered that this "gift of time" was to make up for a bonus these lead attorneys lost during budget negotiations. Our investigation revealed DA Rosen directed staff to alter their time sheets: vacation and sick time were changed to "administrative leave," thus allowing select attorneys to bank their time and cash out later. Our report raised questions from unions across the county whose contracts with the county all contained a clause stating: if one union did not take their contractual cuts, no one had to do so. Consequently, the DA’s move to undercut the contract put millions of dollars at risk. Several unions filed complaints with the county in response to our story asking for comparable payment. Our reporting prompted the Attorney General to open a civil investigation into the DA’s office. The county executive ordered the time off be paid back by attorneys, and imposed an annual cap on the number of administrative leave hours that can be given to attorneys to prevent this from happening again.
  • In The Name Of The Law

    This 5-part series examines the secrecy surrounding police misconduct in Hawaii and the effect that lack of disclosure has on the public. In1995, after local college journalists had fought and won a court battle to gain access to police disciplinary files, the politically powerful statewide police union convinced the Legislature to keep the records out of public view. We wanted to explore the effects of this major public policy decision and, nearly 20 years later, determine if police and other government officials were doing a good job overseeing misconduct and ensuring that the public was being protected from bad cops. Since the public can’t scrutinize police behavior themselves, we wanted to see what safeguards are in place so we can be confident our police officers, with their extraordinary power over ordinary citizens, are professional and competent. It turns out that police officers throughout the state are regularly disciplined for egregious offenses -- violence, lying, even criminal convictions. But there’s no way to know if they are being effectively disciplined, and it appears police administrators are at the mercy of strong union contracts. Local police commissions and prosecutors either ignore serious cases or can’t do anything about them under the current system.
  • Big Brands on Campus

    "Big Brands on Campus" was a six-month investigation of the apparel contracts between universities and Nike, Adidas and Under Armour. At a time of boiling controversy about big money in amateur sports, it raised alarming questions about the influence of sneaker companies on college campuses. The series included three exhaustive print stories, two interactive maps, two databases, six slideshows and a dozen blog posts as well as extensive interaction with readers on Twitter.
  • Public Service, Private Benefit

    This two-year-long investigation by AP reporter Mike Baker focuses on a Washington state retirement system for law enforcement officers and firefighters, exploring how some retirees managed to spike their pension values with late raises, how exorbitant medical expenses in the system are hampering local governments, how extreme numbers of disability retirements are costing the government tax revenue, and how some have been able to secure retire-rehire deals despite state efforts to stop such arrangements. The series is based on more than 100 public records requests, many dozens of interviews, the analysis of more than 30 government datasets and the review of thousands of pages of government emails, meeting notes, contracts and actuarial reports. Lawmakers, state officials and a pension oversight board have all taken action in response to the AP series, and the state Legislature is expected to consider alterations to the system during the 2014 session. Leaders in the state retirement system have conducted a variety of audits targeting the cases identified in AP’s stories and are now seeking to collect overpayments and recalculate benefits for some of those former workers. State officials believe they can collect or save nearly $1 million as a result of investigations completed so far, and the state expects to announce additional enforcement actions in the coming months.
  • The Birdsall Files

    Star-Ledger reporter Christopher Baxter left no stone unturned last year in telling how one of New Jersey’s most prolific and politically influential engineering firms greased the palms of politicians throughout New Jersey to win millions of dollars in public contracts.
  • Broken Bonds

    A Tribune investigation revealed how Chicago’s leaders blew through nearly $20 billion in bond money – a reckless pattern of borrowing that undermined the city’s future by spending on worthless projects, structuring financial deals in ways that could run afoul of Internal Revenue Service rules and piling an unsustainable level of debt onto the shoulders of future generations.
  • Hosed!

    “Hosed” was an investigation on a controversial water services contract proposed between the City of St. Louis and the multinational French corporation Veolia. There were several concerns here, especially given that the deal was done very quietly. The first concern was that the contract was gained through political cronyism, second that the main goal of the contract was a secret plan to privatize city water, and third that as a result of the contract, the city water division would be slashed to bare bones both in terms of staff and safety standards. The latter concern was raised based on the reputation of Veolia in other markets.
  • License to Swill

    The Better Government Association and NBC 5 found that numerous Illinois police and fire labor contracts allow police officers and firefighters to arrive at work with a blood-alcohol level up to and including 0.079 – just below 0.08, at which drivers are legally considered intoxicated in Illinois. Turns out such contract language is, in many cases, decades-old and carried from one labor agreement to the next with little thought. The hazards of first responders being allowed to work “buzzed” is obvious: They deal with life-and-death decisions – whether in burning buildings or while pointing guns at suspects – that demand good decision-making and proper reaction times that alcohol can compromise. Our story came on the heels of the City of Chicago approving a $4.1 million settlement to the family of an unarmed man fatally shot by an on-duty Chicago cop who had been drinking alcohol prior to his shift.
  • WTAE Investigates Fire Chief's Truck Deal

    Our stories resulted in a City of Pittsburgh investigation at the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire that is still ongoing at this time. The stories revealed that the City of Pittsburgh spent millions of dollars buying fire trucks from a company that formerly employed the Pittsburgh fire chief. Records obtained by WTAE showed the chief's former company won three consecutive contracts even though it was not the low bidder. The chief never disclosed his relationship to his boss or the agency that bought the trucks. The story also exposed a little-known city agency that operates in secrecy.