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" ...

  • UTOPIA

    Behind vaunted promises of lightning-speed Internet access and an economic boon for 11 Utah cities lay a basic budgetary fact: The municipal fiber-optic network known as UTOPIA had been in operation for more than 10 years while consistently losing taxpayers millions of dollars annually and never reaching completion. So when a state audit flagged chronic fiscal problems with the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency, The Salt Lake Tribune took an in-depth look at all aspects of the troubled project — from the point of view of its sponsoring city governments whose budgets were jeopardized by mounting UTOPIA debts. Wading through thousands of city documents, meeting minutes and technical specs obtained through open-records requests and interviewing dozens of sources, Tribune reporters brought to light a picture of mismanagement and financial crisis even more dire than one painted by state investigators.
  • Unfulfilled Promise

    When the NextGen Aviation Research and Technology Park was first announced in 2005, it brought with it hopes for diversifying Atlantic City region's casino dependent economy with the promise of 2,000 high-paying engineering jobs. The series of stories produced by The Press of Atlantic City showed that the project's expectations had been grossly overstated and several opportunities for progress were squandered while political interests kept the project afloat. Subsequent investigations revealed that a quasi-governmental agency at the forefront of the project had fallen into significant debt and stopped completing audits. Meanwhile, the agency's leader continued to receive significant raises without required board approval.
  • NextGen Aviation Research

    When the NextGen Aviation Research and Technology Park was first announced in 2005, it brought with it hopes for diversifying Atlantic City region's casino dependent economy with the promise of 2,000 high-paying engineering jobs. The series of stories produced by The Press of Atlantic City showed that the project's expectations had been grossly overstated and several opportunities for progress were squandered while political interests kept the project afloat. Subsequent investigations revealed that a quasi-governmental agency at the forefront of the project had fallen into significant debt and stopped completing audits. Meanwhile, the agency's leader continued to receive significant raises without required board approval.
  • Phantom Debt Collectors

    Hundreds of thousands of cash-strapped Americans were being targeted by abusive debt collectors operating out of overseas call centers, part of what authorities were calling a massive scam that targeted struggling Americans -- especially those who have gone online to apply for payday loans. Armed with personal information from those pilfered applications, the threatening callers, who claimed to be debt collectors poised to initiate legal action, managed to pry loose millions of dollars from their victims -- even when the victims never owed money in the first place. It's what the Federal Trade Commission calls a "phantom debt collection scam." An ABC News investigation pried into the scam and found that, working through call centers in India, the fake debt collectors had dialed at least 2.5 million calls, persuading already cash-strapped victims to send them more than $5 million. Some reported receiving dozens of calls per hour. ABC News tracked down the man to whom FTC officials say all roads led from the scam. For the first time, the most prolific scam to hit Americans in years finally had a face.
  • The Cost of Doing Time

    Since 2010, Philadelphia has embarked on a massive criminal justice debt collection, with the city’s courts attempting to collect on an estimated $1.5 billion dollars in old debts: unpaid bail, fees and fines that date back to the early 1970s. “The Cost of Doing Time” is 23-min radio documentary, reported by Amanda Aronczyk for the BBC World Service, exploring the complexity of criminal court debt and its collection.
  • Indentured Students

    In a year-long series, Bloomberg detailed how the $1 trillion in outstanding student loans has imprisoned borrowers in a lifetime of debt, enabling a host of predatory collections practices, misleading financial-aid offers and out-of-control college spending -- while politicians for decades ignored mounting danger signals.
  • Debt Deception?

    Although the financial crisis exposed the perils of predatory lending, some of the worst practices continue to elude regulators. The Center for Public Integrity's "Debt Deception" series takes a penetrating look at some of the most egregious lending practices afflicting consumers today.
  • California's Public Pension Dilemma

    The Contra Costa Times found that California public employee pension systems are grossly underfunded; the benefits far exceeded the private sector and are regularly understated by the pension systems; the debts for state and local governments are huge; and the cost is being transferred over to future generations.
  • Debt and Debtor

    "Debt and Debtor" examines New York University as a prolific generator of student debt. In fact, NYU create more student debt than any other not-for-profit school in the country- some students end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars paying back and servicing the debt for their undergradaute NYU educations.
  • Factory Slaves

    The investigation into the plight of migrant workers follows the story of a young girl who left her home in Cambodia on the promise of a good factory job but arrived only to become a debt-bonded slave.