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" ...

  • How Much are you Overpaying in Property Tax?

    In 2016, an apartment building in Athens County took out a loan for $48.3 million. Yet it was paying property tax as if it were valued at $13.8 million, a whopping $35 million difference. When the Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported on this in 2018, it got us thinking: there's a lot of great data out there that we could put together to see how much this actually costs our readers.
  • Toronto Star - Secrets of the Four Seasons

    In the middle of one of the hottest real estate markets in the world, a surprising number of residents in Toronto's most luxurious condo development are selling at a loss. The Toronto Star dug deep to figure out why and discovered that the Ontario property market is open to abuse because people can buy and sell anonymously. While other hot markets like New York, London and Vancouver have made moves to increase transparency, Toronto remains vulnerable to money laundering and tax evasion.
  • The New Republic and The Investigative Fund: Political Corruption and the Art of the Deal

    President Donald Trump has railed against the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it a crime for U.S. companies to bribe foreign officials or partner with others who are doing so. But reporter Anjali Kamat uncovered an extensive history of lawsuits, police inquiries and government investigations connected to the Trump family's real estate partners in India, reporting that appeared as the cover story of the April The New Republic and formed the basis of two episodes of Trump Inc., a podcast series from WNYC and ProPublica that digs deeply into the secrets of Trump's family business.
  • North Bay Bohemian: Sonoma Trifecta

    The three interlocking stories uncovered a real estate investor-banking-media network that illuminates the shape of Sonoma County’s “shadow” government. A development partnership angling for a county contract includes a county official who partners with a banker who flaunts ethics regulations in a fire disaster rebuild area. An owner of a major local newspaper is a board member of the bank which receives favorable press coverage in the newspaper for its fire deals that do not disclose the ownership connection. Another owner of the newspaper, a real estate investor and political consultant, is found to have defrauded a local Indian tribe in a real estate deal and in cahoots with the son of a U.S. Senator. As we go to press, the newspaper fails to report on the fraud when confronted with the relevant court documents, publishing only a 900 word story on a “dispute” that our 3,500 story unveils as fraud and breach of contract. The need for surviving alt-weeklies to keep publishing hard-hitting LOCAL investigative journalism is reaffirmed.
  • 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.