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 "debt" ...

  • Soccer Stadium Investigation

    The Hartford Courant's investigation revealed that the would-be developer of a $50 million professional soccer stadium in the city was a convicted embezzler, that he and a business partner billed the city for hundreds of thousands of dollars in work that was never done, and that the pair siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars from their own development company, leaving it unable to pay its debts. As a result of the stories, the FBI launched a criminal investigation, which is underway.
  • Killers Inc.

    Killers Inc. investigates the attempted assassination of the prominent Russian banker and businessman Gherman Gorbuntsov in London in 2012. The documentary traces the origins of the attempt to The Republic of Moldova, where our reporters meet Renat Usatii, a controversial pro-Russian Moldovan politician who Gorbuntsov says orchestrated his assassination attempt. As the investigation unfolds in real-time, our reporters come face to face with the employer of Gorbuntsov’s alleged assassin, Ion Druta, who takes us down a rabbit hole where the forces behind the assassination attempt are revealed. Major Findings: •Renat Usatii, a powerful Moldovan politician, was allegedly sent from Russia to Moldova to represent the interests of the powerful Russians from who Gorbuntsov stole money. •Gherman Gorbuntsov, a former banker for the Kremlin-run Russian Railways, allegedly stole hundreds of million dollars from businessmen connected to the Russian Railways and Russian organized crime groups. •Renat Usatii allegedly received support from Russian intelligence services and other influential Russian figures in his bid to build a pro-Russian Moldovan political party. •Vitalie Proca, Gorbuntsov’s alleged assassin, is part of an organized crime group based in Transdniestria and Moldova that offers criminal services for oligarchs, politicians and other crime groups who are soliciting murder, extortion or debt collection. The group is led by a Vor v Zakone named Nicu Patron.
  • Municipal Court Abuses

    Many municipal courts in St. Louis County, particularly in struggling areas, have become major sources of revenue for their cities. As these towns came to rely more on traffic fines and court fees to fund their operations, people on the bottom income rungs found themselves buried in debt to the courts and facing arrest when they didn't show up for hearings because they couldn't pay. At the same time, the courts corrupted the points system designed to keep bad drivers off the road by turning moving violations into "illegal parking in a park" -- for a fee.
  • The secret world of government debt collection

    CNNMoney’s report, The Secret World of Government Debt Collection, exposes an industry rife with political corruption, aggressive tactics and legal loopholes. In this world, forgotten tolls can snowball into hundreds of dollars in debt and unpaid speeding tickets can land people in jail. We found that thanks to legal exemptions, collectors working for government agencies typically don’t have to follow the main federal law that regulates the debt collection industry, and state consumer protection laws often don’t apply either. All of this opens the door for steep fees that other debt collectors couldn’t dream of charging, and allows them to threaten consequences as dire as arrest. The report focused on one of the industry’s biggest players, Texas-based law firm Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson. Through our reporting, we uncovered this little-known firm’s massive influence and controversial political ties. For example, Linebarger spends more on state lobbying than Texas giants Exxon and Halliburton, and it pours millions of dollars into political campaigns. It even has current elected officials on its payroll and has become entangled in multiple bribery scandals. CNNMoney discovered it is also currently linked to an ongoing FBI investigation. But Linebarger continues to rake in lucrative government contracts, making its top executives and founders rich while the debtors it goes after are left scrambling to pay its steep fees. And because firms like Linebarger are powered by government agencies, consumers are left with little recourse.
  • One Year Later: CNNMoney Investigates Ferguson

    After a scathing report from the Department of Justice finding rampant policing for profit in Ferguson, the city touted changes to the police department and court system, while lawmakers heralded a new state law aimed at limiting the use of court fines as revenue generators. But we didn’t want to take the city’s word for it, and in an exclusive analysis eventually discovered that even after the DOJ report, the city continued to issue thousands of warrants over the same kinds of minor offenses the DOJ had highlighted. We also found that the problem goes far beyond Ferguson. Policing for profit has raged on in Ferguson’s neighboring towns -- keeping many of the area’s low-income residents stuck in a cycle of court debt and jail stints. Like a pastor who was jailed countless times for minor traffic tickets, a 27-year-old who has spent more than a decade trying to pay off tickets she got as a teenager, or a young mom who was arrested over not having a residency sticker on her car.
  • Tobacco Debt: How Cash From Big Tobacco Went From Boon to Burden

    A landmark 1998 settlement with Big Tobacco awarded states billions of dollars a year to offset the health-care costs of smoking. But what seemed like a boon quickly became a debt trap for many state and local governments when they used it to promise investors billions in the future in exchange for cash advances.
  • Pension Crisis

    Jacksonville’s Police and Fire Pension Fund is in crisis. The fund has about 43 cents available for every dollar promised to its retired police officers and fire fighters. Now $2.88 billion, the multiplying city debt is threatening the city’s financial stability. Bond ratings have been downgraded. City projects have been scuttled. Bankruptcy is feared. The recent recession isn’t the only thing that crippled the fund. Deals done in secret, deals hidden for more than a decade and sweetheart deals that allowed a select few to skirt regulations and retire from public service jobs with hundreds of thousands of extra dollars they weren’t entitled to are also to blame.
  • Borrowing Trouble

    For years, Chicago taxpayers have been paying an exorbitant price for the faulty financial decisions of school officials – only they didn’t know it. Not surprisingly, leaders of the city’s public schools weren’t advertising the high costs of the losing bets they had placed in a risky debt market. Over the life of the deals, Chicago Public Schools will likely end up paying $100 million more than it would have if officials had stuck with traditional fixed-rate bonds. The story implicated state lawmakers, the school district's financial advisors, and the current school board president in the disastrous deals.
  • Rogue Debt Collector Unmasked

    News 4 Investigative reporter Chris Nagus confronts the man behind a debt collection scheme targeting people across St. Louis. Harassing phone calls, threatening letters and unwanted visits from a phony business but it’s unclear whether the people actually own any debt. Chris Nagus confronted the man behind the bogus business and learns this phony debt collector was using the St. Louis Prosecutor’s office to get payment.
  • Unforgiven: The Long Life of Debt

    The way lenders and collectors pursue consumer debt has undergone an aggressive transformation in America. Collectors today don’t give up easy, often pursuing debts for years. It’s now routine for companies to sue debtors, then seize their wages or the cash in their bank accounts. For many people, these changes have profoundly affected their lives.