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 "investments" ...

  • In Donors We Trust

    This entry features the Detroit Free Press' innovative and exhaustive look into irregularities in the management of the University of Michigan’s $11 billion endowment. The years-long investigation detailed how executives at some of the nation's top investment firms donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the University of Michigan while the university in turn invested as much as $4 billion in those companies' funds. More than $400 million of that amount was sent into funds managed by three alumni who advise the university on the investments of its endowment. Critics who reviewed the newspaper’s computational and statistical analysis said Michigan’s approach of investing with some of its top donors, who also help guide the university's endowment, creates a conflict. After the publication of more than a dozen stories throughout 2018, the university reformed its conflict-of-interest rules; its president apologized for a lack in oversight; a member of its board of regents returned more than $20,000 in campaign contributions from an investment fund leader; and voters ousted both board incumbents running for re-election.
  • The New Food Economy and The Intercept: Amazon employees and the safety net

    As food stamps go online in the coming years, Amazon is poised to collect a large proportion of sales from the $70-billion program. Yet our investigation found that in at least five states, the company's own employees are disproportionately reliant on the program to feed their families. We framed these findings in contrast to the vast subsidies states and local governments provide the company in exchange for "good" jobs. Months before the conclusion of Amazon’s HQ2 search prompted mainstream outlets to wonder whether or not the company’s presence really benefits the communities that compete to host its operations, our reporting revealed that taxpayers subsidize Amazon's expansion every step of the way. It remains to be seen whether or not those investments pay off.
  • In Donors We Trust

    Everyone knows that college is more and more expensive to attend. So why are college and university endowments skyrocketing and now worth more than $567 billion? We started with the University of Michigan, lauded as one of the world’s best public universities which had stockpiled an endowment worth more than $11 billion. We found that university officials invested a good chunk of that endowment – one of the country’s largest among public institutions - in hundreds of private funds across the world. More importantly, our months-long investigation identified a select group who had secretly benefited: top university donors and alumni investment advisers who run private equity, hedge and venture capital funds and real estate investment firms. After our stories published throughout 2018, the university changed its investment policies; rerouted nearly $2 million into more student aid; made new investments based in the state; publicly released university executive compensation information after losing a FOIA lawsuit brought by the Free Press; and saw two university regents (i.e., trustees) lose their elections in November to those who promised more financial transparency and accountability based on our reporting.
  • NYPD Inc.

    In the wake of a massive corruption scandal in the New York City Police Department, WNYC investigated the outside finances of top NYPD officials. The reporting found numerous top cops earn money on the side with little oversight. Some of these side jobs and investments appear to be conflicts of interest, setting a bad example for the rank and file, and helping create a culture where corruption can breed.
  • A Hollywood Fraud

    CBS News investigated a securities scam by movie producers who convince Americans across the country to invest their savings in risky movie investments with the promise of huge returns. The story originated with a tip from a longtime law enforcement source about how people were being ripped off to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars for years through movie investment scams.
  • Can You Fight Poverty With A Five-Star Hotel?

    My story is about the World Bank’s private investing arm, the International Finance Corporation, the IFC. It reveals that the IFC is a profit-oriented, deal-driven organization that not only fails to fight poverty, its stated mission, but may exacerbate it in its zeal to earn a healthy return on investment. The article details my investigation through hundreds of primary source and other documents, dozens of interviews around the world and my trip to Ghana to see many projects first-hand, to recount that the IFC hands out billions in cut-rate loans to wealthy tycoons and giant multinationals in some of the world’s poorest places. My story details the IFC’s investments with a who’s who of giant multinational corporations: Dow Chemical, DuPont, Mitsubishi, Vodafone, and many more. It outlines that the IFC funds fast-food chains like Domino's Pizza in South Africa and Kentucky Fried Chicken in Jamaica. It invests in upscale shopping malls in Egypt, Ghana, the former Soviet republics, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. It backs candy-shop chains in Argentina and Bangladesh; breweries with global beer behemoths like SABMiller and with other breweries in the Czech Republic, Laos, Romania, Russia, and Tanzania; and soft-drink distribution for the likes of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and their competitors in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Mali, Russia, South Sudan, Uzbekistan, and more. The criticism of most such investments -- from a broad array of academics, watchdog groups and local organizations in the poor countries themselves -- is that these investments make little impact on poverty and could just as easily be undertaken without IFC subsidies. In some cases, critics contend, the projects hold back development and exacerbate poverty, not to mention subjecting affected countries to pollution and other ills.
  • Fleeced by Flees

    For the first time ever, this story uncovered a $337 billion financial trading market that even government regulators had ignored, allowing Wall Street's largest banks to sell investment funds to ordinary people who ended up paying 89 percent to 100 percent of all profits to the banks.
  • Locked Out

    The Oregonian spent six months investigating the location of subsidized housing in the Portland area and related failures under the nation's Fair Housing Act. Although the federal law was supposed to fight housing discrimination and end segregation, the newspaper found that investments controlled and funded by government have often been in the region's poorest neighborhoods and areas with high minority concentrations. Because people of color often have a greater need for subsidized housing, these spending decisions reinforce and perpetuate segregation in a largely white metro area.
  • Brando Beach

    Some of the best investigative stories begin with a question. Public radio journalist Austin Jenkins wondered, why is the Washington State Investment Board contracting with a global security firm to protect its account managers? That led to weeks of digging and sifting through difficult-to-obtain documents. What Jenkins found is that this "under the radar" state agency maintains holdings worth millions of dollars in emerging (and sometimes dangerous) markets all over the world. They include housing projects and shopping centers in Brazil, beach properties in Vietnam, warehouses in Eastern Europe, cement plants in India and grocery stores in Romania. Jenkins found that the state of Washington spent $200 million to build a resort on Marlin Brando's private island in Tahiti. All these exotic investments came about because the Washington State Investment Board is responsible for funding the pensions of 400,000 public sector workers and retirees. The task is so big that a traditional mix of stocks and bonds won't do. So Washington, like a lot of states, seeks out higher risk strategies that can return higher rewards. Washington is now a leader in private equity investments. But Jenkins found that the state agency has few limits on these investments. Critics, including some pensioners, say Washington is chasing profits at the expense of social values. Even leaders at the Investment Board admit that, with $85 billion in assets, the agency doesn’t have the staff to police every investment.
  • Strings Attached

    Councilwoman Helena Brown, known for her loony diatribes, is heavily -- some say completely -- influenced by senior advisor William Park, who last year was banned from the investments industry.