Resource Center


The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 26,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "Wayne County" ...

  • Concealing County Corruption: Anatomy of a Cover-Up

    Wayne Dolcefino saves the best for last. In his final investigation for KTRK-TV, he and the 13 Undercover Unit demonstrated relentless persistence as they attempted to shake up a county government with an abysmal record of policing itself. This submission begins with four reports detailing shocking evidence of corruption inside the downtown precinct of Constable Jack Abercia. 13 Undercover spent several months doing painstaking surveillance -- catching the Constable’s deputies running his personal errands, working extra jobs on the clock and stockpiling never driven county patrol cars while lawmen were being laid off. 13 Undercover then managed to get a hidden camera inside the chief deputy’s office as he and two deputies talked openly about corruption inside the precinct. The language is often foul mouthed and always revealing. The FBI nabbed Aberica and two top commanders in a bribery sting weeks later. The veteran former constable is now awaiting trial. Eventually, 13 Undercover turned our cameras on county leaders to say “enough is enough.” Not only was action not forthcoming, it quickly became clear that many in positions of power wanted this all to go away without getting their hands dirty, without ending decades of a patronage system that made deputies feel required to give money to their boss’s campaigns and charities to keep their jobs. That was not an option. This investigation demanded accountability and we held leaders to the promises they made to the public. In late summer, 13 Undercover scored a major public records victory that revealed what one commentator dubbed "a cover-up of Nixonian proportions." The series culminated with the long awaited, and previously unimaginable, indictment of one of the county’s most popular elected officials – precinct 6 Constable Victor Trevino. New county directives now prohibit constables from soliciting money from their deputies and legislation is expected to filed in Austin to protect county employees from further shakedowns.

    Tags: Corruption; county government; officials

    By Reporter: Wayne Dolcefino; Exec. Producer: Chris Hanson; Producer: Kevin Hirten; Producer/Photog: Colin McIntyre

    KTRK-TV (Houston)


  • Bronx Prosecutors Drop Staggering Loads of Cases

    A nine-month investigation by WNYC’s Ailsa Chang revealed that people accused of crimes in the Bronx have a greater chance of walking away without charges than anywhere else in New York City. Chang’s two-part series shows that the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office declines to prosecute thousands more cases than do the four other District Attorney offices. And the main reason is a troubling internal policy that no other prosecutors’ office in the city follows: In the Bronx, a case is dropped if a victim doesn’t cooperate within the first 24 hours after an arrest. Bronx prosecutors declined almost one quarter of all their cases in 2011. That’s nearly four times the average rate Manhattan and Brooklyn prosecutors declined cases.

    Tags: Crimes; charges; prosecutors; declined cases; victim cooperation

    By Reporter: Ailsa Chang; Editor: Karen Frillmann; Editor of Data News: John Keefe; Engineer: Wayne Shulmister



  • Wayne County Confidential: Government Run Amok

    In Michigan's largest counties, WXYZ-TV exposed a secret $200,000 severance paid to Turkia Mullin, the county's outgoing economic development czar in September while employees endured 20% pay cuts.

    Tags: Severance

    By Ross Jones; Heather Catallo; Randy Lundquist; Johnny Sartin; Ramon Rosario

    WXYZ-TV (Detroit)


  • Wayne County Confidential: Government Run Amok

    This investigation exposed a secret $200,000 severance paid out to a government employee while others endured a 20% pay cut. WXYZ found that the severance was never disclosed to county commissioners, who are supposed to approve all payments of $50,000. The reporting caused the county to cancel 16 other severance payments for voluntary resignations, including one for up to $350,000.

    Tags: severance payments; voluntary resignation; breaking news; broadcast

    By Ross Jones; Heather Catallo; Ann Mullen; Johnny Sartin; Ramon Rosario; Randy Lundquist

    WXYZ-TV (Detroit)


  • Detroit lags on vacant house demolitions

    The author investigated the Wayne County Medical Examiner's office and the mayor's office to see how well they were keeping up their promise to demolish vacant homes in the city.

    Tags: accountability; city government; mayor; promise; watchdog

    By Charlie LeDuff

    Detroit News


  • Not Enough Money or Time to Defend Detroit's Poor

    According to the 6th Amendment everyone is reserved the right to have adequate representation in court. Though, in Detroit, a national public defender crisis has broken out due to overworked and underpaid defenders. This is a problem throughout the national, but has reached crisis levels in Michigan. "More than 90 percent of criminal defenders in Wayne County cannot afford their own lawyers", so to make up for this public defenders are used for representation instead.

    Tags: court system; defense system; rights; public defenders; criminal defense; clients; law system

    By Ailsa Chang; Steve Drummond

    National Public Radio


  • Lost Paradise

    People who bought retirement or hunting property in north Arkansas learned too late that developer Wayne Watkins didn't record their sales at the county courthouse and that he used land he sold to them as collateral for $2.6 million in loans. When he defaulted, banks foreclosed. Because no legal record existed of the buyers' ownership interest, banks often sold the land again.

    Tags: banks; lending; housing; loans; fraud; housing scams; foreclosure

    By C.S. Murphy; Amy Upshaw

    Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock, Ark.)


  • The Email Trial

    After requesting records from the Harris County Sheriff's Office to investigate possible corruption of the local County Commissioner, over 750,000 emails were deleted.

    Tags: e-mail; slave labor; surveillance; ranch house; text message; shredding;

    By Wayne Dolcefino; Steve Bivens; David Defranchi

    KTRK-TV (Houston)


  • Off to Work We Go?

    KTRK-TV investigated the "work habits and use of campaign contributions by one of the state's most powerful public officials, Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole." They uncovered evidence that Eversole was "rarely working, and misusing campaign funds for personal use."

    Tags: state government; campaign funds; campaign contributions; politics; Texas; government contracts

    By Wayne Dolcefino; Steve Bivens; David Defranchi

    KTRK-TV (Houston)


  • The Buck Stops Nowhere

    KTRK investigates the number of crimes committed by illegal aliens, finding that the crime rate has grown largely because of lenient methods of dealing with immigrants accused of breaking the law. More than 12,000 non-citizens were charged with crimes in 18 months, including "murders tied to illegal immigrants who had been deported and returned, or had been jailed repeatedly and released without deportation." Also, the station found there were "dozens of sexual offenses committed by illegal immigrants that had been released from jail instead of" being deported. The station also found that Harris County kept the arrest of criminal aliens secret from the federal government.

    Tags: Illegal immigrants; deportation; criminal offenses; lenient jail sentences; Harris COunty

    By Wayne Dolcefino; Steve Bivens; David Defranchi; Ted Oberg; Rankee Sharma

    KTRK-TV (Houston)