An original investigative series that revealed misuse of public funds, corruption and fraud
This series of stories started on a simple tip – a coroner charged a number of meals on a public credit card. That led Lee Zurik and the WVUE-TV team to dig through thousands of pages of public documents, doing a more thorough audit of that office. Zurik discovered that the public official, the coroner, was abusing his constituents’ trust – giving himself unheard of pay raises that eventually rivaled even the Vice President of the United States. All of this just a few years after he convinced those same constituents that he needed more money to run his office. The reporting was restrained, extensive and original. Zurik’s straightforward investigative work made a difference in the public interest.
Lee Zurik, chief investigative reporter; Donny Pearce, photographer and editor; Wes Cook, interactive manager; Tom Wright, web editor; Greg Phillips, assistant news director and special projects director; Mikel Schaefer, news director.
To learn more about the duPont-Columbia Awards visit: journalism.columbia.edu/dupont