Big Stories

8 Memorable Investigations We Published This Year

A con man who snagged an Ebola cleanup contract and a pig farmer who turned to arms dealing. A warehouse empire and laws that imprison battered women. A recluse at the heart of a Hollywood scandal and a coal miner dead from black lung. The year in Buzzfeed News investigations.

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Mr. Ten Percent: The Man Who Built — and Bilked — American Soccer — Ken Bensinger

Vladimir Rys/Bongarts / Getty Images

American soccer has become an athletic and economic powerhouse, due substantially to the contributions of Chuck Blazer. Along the way, Blazer raked in more than $21 million from the sport, much of it paid to offshore shell companies. He ultimately would be called a swindler by the very organization that he led for 21 years.

The Elusive Man at the Heart of a Hollywood Sex Abuse Scandal — Ellie Hall, Nicolas Medina Mora, David Noriega

BuzzFeed

Missing from all the coverage of the Bryan Singer scandal was the man who was at the very heart of it: Marc Collins-Rector. Last seen publicly in 2007 in London, he managed to disappear. But Buzzfeed News found him. This is the tale of how the the man who once raised at least $24 million for his video streaming startup and partied with Hollywood's A list came to live alone and infirm in a European port city.

How a Pig Peddler Helped the U.S. Flood War Zones With Guns — Aram Roston

BuzzFeed

The U.S. government is one of the world’s biggest buyers of AK-47s and other Soviet bloc weapons, which it has poured into Afghanistan, Iraq, and other hot spots. The tale of Ara Dolarian, a one-time pig-peddler from Fresno, highlights how the U.S. relies on small but important defense-contracting bottom fish to arm some of the world’s most violent and unstable military forces.

Battered, Bereaved, and Behind Bars — Alex Campbell

BuzzFeed

Arlena Lindley’s boyfriend Alonzo Turner beat her for months and murdered her child — so why was she sent to prison for 45 years? A BuzzFeed News investigation exposed how laws across the country turn battered women into criminals.

Last Breath — Chris Hamby

Courtesy of the Day Family, F. Brian Ferguson/Center for Public Integrity

After toiling in the coal mines of West Virginia for almost 35 years, Steve Day thought it was obvious why he inhaled oxygen from a tank 24 hours a day. But a unit of doctors at Johns Hopkins effectively denied his black lung claim. After Day died this summer, he got a final, grim vindication: His autopsy showed he had a particularly severe case of black lung. After the story ran, Day's widow finally got his benefits.

Warehouse Empire — Jessica Garrison

Jesse Kaplan for BuzzFeed News

Behind the largest undercover bribe the FBI ever paid to a public official is the story of how our whole consumer economy has been transformed, bringing lung-stunting pollution and, in some cases, political corruption.

Shakeup at the NSA — Aram Roston

Top National Security Agency official Teresa Shea left her position following BuzzFeed News reports on her and her husband’s financial interests. Buzzfeed News found that Shea, a multimillionaire, had a SIGINT “contracting and consulting” company registered at her house, even while she was the SIGINT director at NSA. The resident agent of the company was listed as her husband.

The Con Artist Hired to Clean Ebola — Alex Campbell and Andrew Kaczynski

Richard Drew / AP Photo

The wild story of how a mortgage scammer and convicted felon persuaded a dead man’s sister to turn over his business, his truck, and his resume — and got a government contract to clean up Ebola. This investigation is ongoing: Here's a recent story of how a signature on a corporate document might be fake, and there's more to come.

Jessica Garrison is a senior investigative editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.

Contact Jessica Garrison at jessica.garrison@buzzfeed.com.

Pulitzer-prize winner Mark Schoofs is the investigations and projects editor for BuzzFeed News. While working at The Village Voice, Schoofs won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for his series on AIDS in Africa.

Contact Mark Schoofs at mark.schoofs@buzzfeed.com.

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