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.

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  • Governor'Security Detail Overtime Tops $1 Million

    A six-month long investigation reveals that, despite campaigning on promises of cutting overtime costs for state employees, Governor Dannel Malloy own security team has racked up more than $1.1 million dollars in overtime in his first two years in office. That is more than the combined overtime costs for the security details of both the previous governor and lieutenant governor. Much of the overtime comes from Governor Malloy's extensive national and international travel, something critics deride as Malloy's bid for national exposure. A follow-up story found costs for the Governor's highly criticized trip to the White House Correspondents' Dinner cost $4800, despite the administration's previous claims that there was no taxpayer expense involved in the trip. Since the stories aired, the trip costs and overtime expenses for Malloy's security detail have become a campaign issue.
  • The downfall of a jet-setting university president

    Evan Dobelle is a self-described visionary who compares himself to Apple founder Steve Jobs, and he charmed his way into the job of president at Westfield State University despite his checkered past. For years, Dobelle’s outsized personality dominated the western Massachusetts school -- until Globe reporters obtained copies of Dobelle’s outrageous business expense reports last July. Four months later, Dobelle resigned in disgrace on the heels of a series of investigative reports in the Globe that described hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable business expenses, including exotic travel, luxury hotels, limo rides and an entire “business” trip to San Francisco that appears to have been a sham. Dobelle now faces an attorney general’s investigation for allegedly filing false claims to collect expenses. The Globe stories raised difficult questions about the quality of supervision in Massachusetts state universities, which rely on unpaid trustees to oversee hundreds of millions in public spending. Dobelle, it turned out, had been fired for wasteful spending and dishonesty at the University of Hawaii, but Westfield State trustees hired him anyway, then looked away when he resumed his free spending ways in Massachusetts.
  • Biggest of the Smalls: The Rise of a Federal Contractor

    In the last decade, the federal government has made an unprecedented push to direct work to small businesses in order to help such firms gain a foothold in the U.S. economy. The amount of money devoted to small business contracting rose 70 percent to $90 billion annually during that period. In this tide of spending, one firm stood out as the paragon of success: MicroTechnologies LLC. Records show it received $1.4 billion in federal technology deals over nine years, much of it reserved for small firms own by minority and service-disabled veteran entrepreneurs. MicroTech became the fastest growing small contractor in the nation. Founder Anthony R. Jimenez, declared it to be the "Biggest of the Smalls." Those deals transformed Jimenez's lifestyle. He bought a mansion -- and then commissioned a quarter-million entertainment system for it. He began driving a $190,000 Mercedes coupe. And he became a top sponsor of multiple martial arts "cage fighting," routinely flying to Las Vegas at company expense. “I am living the American Dream,” he said in a letter to The Washington Post. But MicroTech's extraordinary ascent begged a simple-seeming question: How could such a large company still be eligible to receive contracts set aside for small firms? Until The Post's Robert O'Harrow Jr. dug in, no one in the media or government knew the answer or bothered to check. O'Harrow pushed ahead the old fashioned way: he issued Freedom of Information Act Requests for contracting documents and demanded government officials open their files. His investigation found that MicroTech had misled the government and the public about its ownership and operations to get access to preferential contracts and burnish its own image. In doing so, the firm abused taxpayers and deprived other small firms access to hundreds of million in deals. In response to those findings, the government suspended MicroTech from contracting and changed some contracting rules. Two inspectors general offices are investigating and Congress has launched its own probes.
  • Biggest of the Smalls: The Rise of a Federal Contractor

    In the last decade, the federal government has made an unprecedented push to direct work to small businesses in order to help such firms gain a foothold in the U.S. economy. The amount of money devoted to small business contracting rose 70 percent to $90 billion annually during that period. In this tide of spending, one firm stood out as the paragon of success: MicroTechnologies LLC. Records show it received $1.4 billion in federal technology deals over nine years, much of it reserved for small firms own by minority and service-disabled veteran entrepreneurs. MicroTech became the fastest growing small contractor in the nation. Founder Anthony R. Jimenez, declared it to be the "Biggest of the Smalls." Those deals transformed Jimenez's lifestyle. He bought a mansion -- and then commissioned a quarter-million entertainment system for it. He began driving a $190,000 Mercedes coupe. And he became a top sponsor of multiple martial arts "cage fighting," routinely flying to Las Vegas at company expense. “I am living the American Dream,” he said in a letter to The Washington Post. But MicroTech's extraordinary ascent begged a simple-seeming question: How could such a large company still be eligible to receive contracts set aside for small firms? Until The Post's Robert O'Harrow Jr. dug in, no one in the media or government knew the answer or bothered to check. O'Harrow's investigation found that MicroTech had misled the government and the public about its ownership and operations to get access to preferential contracts and burnish its own image. In doing so, the firm abused taxpayers and deprived other small firms access to hundreds of million in deals. In response to those findings, the government suspended MicroTech from contracting and changed some contracting rules. Two inspectors general offices are investigating and Congress has launched its own probes.
  • Chronic Crisis

    The investigation explored why mental health care in Milwaukee County is especially ineffective. We found that Milwaukee politicians for decades have ignored calls for reform, clinging to an outdated system that preserves union jobs at the expense of better care. Milwaukee has the most lopsided system in the country, spending more on emergency and in-patient care than any other. Doctors are bound by the strictest time constraints in the country, allowing them 24 hours to observe patients considered dangerous, even in cases when patients are unconscious from suicide attempts. Our data analysis found people returning for care at an alarming rate. One woman had been seen 196 times in six years, an average of once every 11 days. One man had been brought in by police 10 times in one month. A big part of this project was not just to show the problem but to identify ways that Milwaukee County could improve. This required us to travel to other cities — including Geel, Belgium — to look at communities that do a better job.
  • Following the Money: Indiana Storm Sausage

    This 6-month WTHR investigation exposed how Indiana diverted millions of dollars in disaster recovery grant money to private corporations that weren't impacted by any of the state's widespread disasters. While flood victims and hard-hit communities received little direct financial assistance, state leaders quietly allocated $20 million to fund pet projects for businesses. Their justification -- creating jobs in disaster-impacted areas -- proved unfounded, and WTHR discovered much of the money was wasted or simply disappeared. Using dogged research, thorough reporting and creative storytelling, WTHR exposed a grant program plagued by poor oversight, questionable spending and missing money.
  • "Swiped Again"

    Our stories launched investigations by the Inspector General, District Attorney, and Legislative Auditor. It pushed a board to fire two employees and force those employees to repay thousands of dollars. We uncovered tens of thousands of dollars of questionable expenses by a state agency.
  • Louisiana Purchased

    “Louisiana Purchased” is the most comprehensive look at the big business of campaign financing in the history of Louisiana. The series - a first of its kind collaboration between WVUE and NOLA.com/The Times Picayune – used the investigative teams’ collective resources to pull back the curtain on a labyrinthine system hidden within millions of pieces of data. “Louisiana Purchased” highlighted illegal activities, questionable practices, and toothless ethics enforcement. The investigative team uncovered that over the course of four years (2009-2012) nearly $204 million poured into the campaigns of Louisiana’s state and local candidates. One-third of the $204 million donated was financed by less than one percent of the donors, .3 percent to be exact. Those donors made up an elite “Top 400” campaign contributor that subsequently became the driving force behind much of “Louisiana Purchased”. From that list, the team uncovered patterns that showed high dollar donors with choice board appointments, lavish campaign spending and politicians collecting more money than the law allowed. As a result, lawmakers admitted they broke the law and paid back the money and according to the state treasurer, ethics enforcement will get more financial backing as a direct result of our stories.
  • Body of Evidence

    “Body of Evidence” unveils a complex system of corruption and abuse tucked away in an affluent New Orleans suburb. Until Lee Zurik and WVUE started digging, it was virtually unknown that the coroner of St. Tammany Parish (County), a bedroom community north of the city, was the highest paid elected official in the state, making as much as Vice President Joe Biden. “Body of Evidence” went on to peel back layer upon layer of questionable spending, taxpayer waste, and eventually illegal activities. WVUE’s findings included lavish meals charged on a public credit card and hundreds of thousands in raises for the coroner and top staff members after convincing the public to vote for a tax to increase his budget. But that was just the beginning. Zurik eventually discovered Galvan was cashing in tens of thousands dollars in supposed unused sick and vacation time all while jet-setting around the globe. Within weeks “Body of Evidence” sparked an unprecedented recall effort. Within three months, he then had a lucrative contract cancelled, and the FBI opened its own investigation. By the five month mark, state law was changed and stripped the coroner’s power over his own budget. At month eight, the coroner resigned and pleaded guilty in federal court.
  • Sandy charities investigation

    An investigation into a major illegal charity set up as superstorm Sandy hit the New Jersey shore, and the lack of spending of millions of dollars of Sandy-specific contributions by some of the largest established charities in the nation.