Projects

The rise and fall of ‘Economan’

These stories detail a massive, Madoff-style fraud perpetrated by Al Parish, a flamboyant economics professor. Parish’s Ponzi scheme burned through roughly $70 million, money that he squandered on sports cars, private plane trips and diamond encrusted pens. Parish was sentenced to 24 years in prison in June 2008.

Timeshares: No matter how you slice them

This three-part series detail the myriad ways that consumers are duped by the time-share industry and the anemic regulation and toothless laws that fail to stop the fleecing. After publication, lawmakers filed to strengthen South Carolina’s time-share laws and moved to funnel more money to oversight of the industry. This package was nominated for a Gerald Loeb Award.

Death at the water plant

A coroner sited “natural causes” in an on-the-job death at a water-treatment plant, but a Post and Courier review found that the fatal symptoms — including blood-soaked lungs — were consistent with exposure to ammonia and other toxic chemicals used in the facility. A review of the log-book also showed that there had been a leak around the time of death. After publication, the coroner changed the cause of death to “undetermined” and the utility settled a worker’s compensation claim with the widow of the deceased.

Power play

Born from months of Freedom of Information requests, this series of stories detailed a secret plan by Gov. Mark Sanford to sell Santee Cooper, one of the nation’s biggest public utilities. The articles sparked a series of Senate hearings that ousted several of the utility’s board members and incited a law that stripped the governor’s office of power over the company.

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