Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Times' journalists win top investigative reporting honors

Three St. Petersburg Times journalists have won a 2010 Investigative Reporters and Editors award for "Under the Radar," their investigation into a bogus Navy veterans charity and its elusive founder.

Recently retired reporter Jeff Testerman, news researcher John Martin and former editor Richard Bockman are sharing the IRE award in the category for newspapers with circulations from 250,000 to 500,000 with the Seattle Times, which was honored for its stories about abuse and neglect in homes for the elderly.

Testerman and Martin "uncovered an exceptionally brazen fake charity scheme that had collected millions of dollars in the name of veterans and funneled money to conservative politicians across the nation," IRE said.

The U.S. Navy Veterans Association claimed offices in 41 states and nearly 67,000 members. But Testerman and Martin found no evidence that any of the people listed on the association's elaborate website as members of the national board of directors or state officers even existed.

The group's founder, who used a false identity, Lt. Commander Bobby Thompson, is now on the lam. As a result of the Times' series, federal authorities are investigating, and an Ohio grand jury has indicted "Thompson," alleging theft, racketeering and money laundering.

In addition, Times reporters Sydney P. Freedberg and Kris Hundley, computer-assisted reporting specialist Connie Humburg, news researchers Shirl Kennedy and Carolyn Edds, and Bockman, who left the paper in January to work at a Tampa law firm, were finalists for IRE's Freedom of Information Medal for their work on Florida's pension fund. The Washington Post won the medal for its work tracking where guns used in crimes were bought.

Times' journalists win top investigative reporting honors 04/11/11 [Last modified: Monday, April 11, 2011 10:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash


    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle


    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  5. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators


    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.