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Posted inMoney and Politics

Cassity family funeral businesses create $600 million fraud scheme

The collapse of a St. Louis funeral business called National Prearranged Services might represent the worst financial scandal to hit the U.S. funeral industry, with claimed losses of $600 million. From start to finish, it was a family affair, federal prosecutors and plaintiffs’ lawyers have said in court. The enterprise’s driving force was James “Doug” […]

Posted inMoney and Politics

Subprime lending execs back in business 5 years after crash

Financial company executives testify before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee in 2007. At the time, Andy Pollock (far right) was president of First Franklin, a subprime mortgage lender whose risky loans hastened the downfall of Merrill Lynch. Today, he’s co-CEO of Rushmore Loan Management Services, a company that traditionally collected payments on loans and now […]

Posted inImmigrationMoney and Politics

Firm tied to Willie Brown gets political boost for Hunters Point plan

Former Mayor Willie Brown speaks during the Hunters Point groundbreaking. On its website and in company brochures, the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Center refers to Brown as a “principal,” but he denies knowledge of the investment firm.Michael Short/For The Center for Investigative Reporting House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee […]

Posted inMoney and Politics

Homeowner fighting foreclosure wins trial loan modification

Ricardo Rodriguez (holding bullhorn) participates in a protest against Bank of America in early March, recounting his story of fighting foreclosure on the steps of a branch in the San Francisco’s Mission District.Amy Julia Harris/Center for Investigative Reporting Ricardo Rodriguez, a San Francisco resident who has been fighting to save his home from foreclosure, has […]

Posted inMoney and Politics

Calif. agencies often fail to protect confidential information, data shows

When a thief rang up $2,000 in charges at Victoria’s Secret, Gymboree and Gap on Rosa Franco’s credit card, she quickly surmised the reason – the state of California had mistakenly left her credit card and Social Security numbers exposed. Twice. The state Department of Developmental Services, which serves Franco’s 5-year-old daughter and thousands of […]

Posted inMoney and Politics

Video: The Sacramento Squeeze

When California politicians talk about “juice,” they don’t always mean citrus. In Sacramento, the state capital, “juice” often refers to campaign cash and political clout. Our new animated video takes a look at how the speaker of the Assembly, John A. Pérez, squeezes the juice. Guess what? California’s Assembly Democrats pumped $5.8 million into 2012 […]

Posted inMoney and Politics

Gender doesn’t give LA mayoral contender a boost with women donors

Los Angeles mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel have raised almost equal amounts of money from women. In total contributions for the primary and  runoff elections, Greuel has raised .45 million from women compared with Garcetti’s .4 million, according to campaign finance records through May 4.Associated Press photo, Wendy Greuel campaign file photo The […]

Posted inMoney and Politics

California speaker gives Assembly’s juiciest jobs to biggest fundraisers

Assemblyman Chris Holden (left), D-Pasadena, talks to Speaker John A. Pérez during a legislative session at the state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. The freshman legislator donated 9,000 to Pérez’s targeted 2012 campaigns, and the speaker chose Holden to be majority whip.Max Whittaker / Prime In May 2012 and again in June, Speaker John A. Pérez […]

Posted inMoney and Politics

Interest groups play major role in Democrats’ campaign funds, analysis finds

When they needed political money – to make donations urged by Speaker John A. Pérez and to pay for their 2012 campaigns – Democrats in the California Assembly turned to interest groups with a big stake in state government decisions, a Center for Investigative Reporting analysis shows. For last year’s state elections, Assembly Democrats together […]