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 "real estate" ...

  • 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.
  • Hachette Books: Billion Dollar Whale

    In 2009, a mild-mannered graduate of the Wharton School of Business set in motion a fraud of unprecedented gall and magnitude—“like 100 heist movies strung together” (Matt Taibbi)—and one that would eventually ensnare leading bankers and even threaten the future of investment behemoth Goldman Sachs. The story of “the $5 billion swindle known as 1MDB” would become “a textbook case of financial fraud in the modern age" (New York Times). Over a decade, Jho Low siphoned billions from an investment fund—seemingly under the nose of financial watchdogs. He used the money to purchase luxury real estate, to throw champagne-drenched parties with celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Paris Hilton, and even to finance Hollywood films like The Wolf of Wall Street. As his scheme finally unraveled, with his yacht and private jet seized, Low disappeared. Billion Dollar Whale reveals the full story of the financial world’s most unlikely fugitive—a harrowing parable of hubris and greed in the twenty-first century.
  • Arizona Daily Star: Evictions

    Reporter Emily Bregel spent seven months investigating the problem of evictions and lack of affordable housing in Pima County, Arizona. The series ran in print over three days and highlighted the chaotic fall-out following an eviction, the reasons why experts said evictions were about to surge in Pima County and the City of Tucson, as well as the failures in the justice court system that deals with eviction cases. The online story also featured an introductory video created by Emily Bregel and video editor Nick Murray, an interactive map of evictions, audio clips from relevant eviction hears and multiple graphics.
  • Trump Taxes

    Shattering Trump’s myth of self-made billionaire, an exhaustive inquiry showed how his father’s real estate fed him $413 million, relying on dubious tax dodges.
  • How Cash Sent the Portland Housing Market Spinning

    Cash is king in red-hot Portland real estate, representing a full one-third of single-family home sales in 2014. Lee van der Voo’s seven-part series on the Portland housing market has uncovered in stark outline the often-obscured influence of cash from developers, foreign buyers and Wall Street in driving affordable housing from the city. Twenty-six investors who purchased more than 10 homes for cash in the listed market in Multnomah County through the recession. Average Black and Native American households priced out of the city. A publicly traded company that is renting out more than 200 Portland-area homes in a new twist on the asset-securitization that drove the Great Recession. The pension funds of teachers and police officers invested in cash-rich Wall Street landlords who compete on the housing market with the very middle-class professionals whose pensions they hold. With van der Voo’s reporting, an economic crisis that everyone in town talked about but no one could explain was given names, faces and numbers — and a hope of being fixed.
  • Sprawl Developer Won't Take No For an Answer

    This was a two-person investigation into political corruption, environmental damage, public danger and regulatory capture presented by a developer’s attempt to build a suburban sprawl project in rural San Diego County. We spent two months diving into lawsuits, environmental reports, wildfire warnings and campaign finance disclosures to understand how billion-dollar real estate developments take shape outside of public eye, even if they contradict adopted regulatory guidelines. It resulted in an elected official, poised to enrich himself by voting in favor of the project, being forced to recuse himself from voting, which led to the project’s indefinite suspension.
  • Condo Takeover

    This “Condo Takeover” series looks at what happened to Florida condos after the real estate crash in 2008-9. [https://ajam.app.box.com/s/ndmvyhiqu6qzylupzhecfgp7vexuxr7o] [https://ajam.app.box.com/s/2m9j7cn06gh3fr18q2mjoqyqiraskhcx]
  • Valerie Jarrett Works To Close Tax Loophole – While Benefitting From It

    Top Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett was tasked with helping the president kill a controversial income tax perk used by the “wealthy and well-connected.” But a Better Government Association investigation uncovered Jarrett made a killing on a Chicago real estate deal by enlisting this very same benefit.
  • Towers of Secrecy

    Secret buyers, many of them foreign and superrich, are using shell companies to cloak their purchases of expensive U.S. real estate, allowing them to flout building codes and local laws, defraud people of their homes and shield huge cash purchases, raising questions of whether they are seeking to hide suspiciously obtained money.
  • Shortcut to the American Dream

    The longstanding yet little known EB-5 visa program allows wealthy foreigners to jump to the head of the immigration line, pumping capital into real estate from Seattle to Miami, but a Herald-Tribune investigation found the program is rife with fraud and that the government has no firm handle on who's getting in – raising questions of national security.