How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic City Casinos, but Still Earned Millions

Russ Buettner and Charles V. Bagli, How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic City Casinos, but Still Earned Millions. The New York Times, 11 June 2016. “[Trump’s] audacious personality and opulent properties brought attention — and countless players — to Atlantic City as it sought to overtake Las Vegas as the country’s gambling capital. But a close examination of regulatory reviews, court records and security filings by The New York Times leaves little doubt that Mr. Trump’s casino business was a protracted failure. Though he now says his casinos were overtaken by the same tidal wave that eventually slammed this seaside city’s gambling industry, in reality he was failing in Atlantic City long before Atlantic City itself was failing.”

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Hundreds allege Donald Trump doesn’t pay his bills

Steve Reilly, Hundreds allege Donald Trump doesn’t pay his bills. USA Today, 9 June 2016. “Donald Trump casts himself as a protector of workers and jobs, but a USA Today Network investigation found hundreds of people–carpenters, dishwashers, painters, even his own lawyers–who say he didn’t pay them for their work.”

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Resettling the First [US] American Climate Refugees

Coral Davenport and Campbell Robertson, Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’. The New York Times, 3 May 2016. Part 1 of an 8-part series on Carbon’s Casualties. “Articles in this series explore how climate change is displacing people around the world…. In January [2016], the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced grants totaling $1 billion in 13 states to help communities adapt to climate change, by building stronger levees, dams and drainage systems. One of those grants, $48 million for Isle de Jean Charles, is something new: the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change. The divisions the effort has exposed and the logistical and moral dilemmas it has presented point up in microcosm the massive problems the world could face in the coming decades as it confronts a new category of displaced people who have become known as climate refugees.”

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Insult to Injury: The Demolition of Workers’ Comp

Michael Grabell, ProPublica, Howard Berkes, NPR, Lena Groeger, ProPublica, Yue Qiu, ProPublica, and Sisi Wei, ProPublica, Insult to Injury: The Demolition of Workers’ Comp. ProPublica and NPR, 4 March 2016. “Over the past decade, states have slashed workers’ compensation benefits, denying injured workers help when they need it most and shifting the costs of workplace accidents to taxpayers.”

One of three winners of the 2016 IRE (Investigative Reporters & Editors) Award for Investigative Journalism. “Judges’ comments: This project masterfully details how states across the nation have dismantled their workers’ comp programs, cutting benefits and sticking taxpayers with a growing bill for injured workers. Tackling an often overlooked topic, the reporters built databases tracking legislative changes in each state over the past dozen years, obtained benefit plans from some of the country’s largest companies and combed through thousands of pages of depositions. They used heartbreaking stories and interactive tools to present complex material in an elegant way. Their work paid off in legislative changes in several states, investigations and a wider discussion about needed changes. We are awarding this project an IRE Medal for its wide impact and its fresh approach to showing how employers continue to benefit at the expense of workers.”

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New Koch: Rebranding the Koch Brothers

Jane Mayer, New Koch: Rebranding the Koch Brothers. The New Yorker, 25 January 2016. “The billionaire brothers are championing criminal-justice reform. Has their formula changed?… On the night of November 2nd [2015], well-dressed Wichita residents formed a line that snaked through the lobby of the city’s convention center. They all held tickets to the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce’s annual gala, which had drawn thirty-five hundred people. The evening’s featured speaker, Charles Koch, had lived in town almost all of his eighty years, but few locals—even prominent ones—had ever laid eyes on him. Charles, along with his brother David, owns virtually all of the energy-and-chemical conglomerate Koch Industries, which is based in Wichita and has annual revenues of a hundred and fifteen billion dollars. Charles’s secretive manner, right-wing views, and concerted campaign to exert political influence by spending his fortune have made him an object of fascination, especially in his home town. “You never see him,” one local newsman whispered.”

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The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare

Nathaniel Rich, The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare. The New York Times Magazine, 6 January 2016. “Rob Bilott was a corporate defense attorney for eight years. Then he took on an environmental suit that would upend his entire career–and expose a brazen, decades-long history of chemical pollution.”

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Exxon’s Oil Industry Peers Knew About Climate Dangers in the 1970s, Too

Neela Banerjee, Exxon’s Oil Industry Peers Knew About Climate Dangers in the 1970s, Too. InsideClimate News, 22 December 2015. “The American Petroleum Institute together with the nation’s largest oil companies ran a task force to monitor and share climate research between 1979 and 1983, indicating that the oil industry, not just Exxon alone, was aware of its possible impact on the world’s climate far earlier than previously known.”

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Not So Securus: Massive Hack of 70 Million Prisoner Phone Calls Indicates Violations of Attorney-Client Privilege

Jordan Smith and Micah Lee, Not So Securus: Massive Hack of 70 Million Prisoner Phone Calls Indicates Violations of Attorney-Client Privilege. The Intercept, 11 November 2015. “An enormous cache of phone records obtained by The Intercept reveals a major breach of security at Securus Technologies, a leading provider of phone services inside the nation’s prisons and jails. The materials — leaked via SecureDrop by an anonymous hacker who believes that Securus is violating the constitutional rights of inmates — comprise over 70 million records of phone calls, placed by prisoners to at least 37 states, in addition to links to downloadable recordings of the calls. The calls span a nearly two-and-a-half year period, beginning in December 2011 and ending in the spring of 2014.”

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Lives on the Line: The Human Cost of Cheap Chicken

Oxfam Research Report, Lives on the Line: The Human Cost of Cheap Chicken. Oxfam America, 26 October 2015. “Chicken is the most popular meat in America , and the poultry industry is booming. Profits are climbing, consumer demand is growing, and executive compensation is increasing rapidly. But one element remains trapped at the bottom: the workers on the poultry processing line. Poultry workers 1) earn low wages of diminishing value, 2) suffer elevated rates of injury and illness, and 3) often experience a climate of fear in the workplace. These problems affect the entire industry, but the top four chicken companies control roughly 60 percent of the domestic market: Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s, Perdue, and Sanderson Farms. As industry leaders, these companies can and should implement changes that will improve conditions for poultry workers across the country.

The full report explores industry history and trends in consumption, documents the realities and challenges of life working on the line, and offers concrete recommendations to improve conditions.”

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How Startup Theranos Has Struggled With Its Blood-Test Technology

John Carreyrou, How Startup Theranos Has Struggled With Its Blood-Test Technology. The Wall Street Journal, 16 October 2015. “On Theranos Inc.’s website, company founder Elizabeth Holmes holds up a tiny vial to show how the startup’s “breakthrough advancements have made it possible to quickly process the full range of laboratory tests from a few drops of blood.” The company offers more than 240 tests, ranging from cholesterol to cancer. It claims its technology can work with just a finger prick. Investors have poured more than $400 million into Theranos, valuing it at $9 billion and her majority stake at more than half that. The 31-year-old Ms. Holmes’s bold talk and black turtlenecks draw comparisons to Apple Inc. cofounder Steve Jobs. But Theranos has struggled behind the scenes to turn the excitement over its technology into reality. At the end of 2014, the lab instrument developed as the linchpin of its strategy handled just a small fraction of the tests then sold to consumers, according to four former employees.”

Winner of the 2015 George Polk Award for Financial Reporting. “The award for Financial Reporting will go to John Carreyrou of The Wall Street Journal whose investigation of Theranos, Inc. raised serious doubts about claims by the firm and its celebrated 31-year-old founder, Elizabeth Holmes, that its new procedure for drawing and testing blood was a transformational medical breakthrough in wide use at the firm’s labs. Carreyrou’s well-researched stories, reported in the face of threats of lawsuits and efforts to pressure some sources to back off of their accounts, led to a reevaluation of Theranos’ prospects among investors and have been followed by regulatory actions against the company and widespread discussion that publications and institutions from Fortune and The New Yorker to Harvard and the White House may have been too quick to hail Holmes, a Stanford dropout whose personal wealth at the height of her startup’s rise was an estimated $4.5 billion, as a success story in the tradition of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.”

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