The Investigative Unit

  • Investigations

    Friday, Nov 15, 2019

    BART 'DERAILED': The Good, the Weird and the Dangerous

    BART 'DERAILED': The Good, the Weird and the Dangerous

    Most people in the San Francisco Bay Area seem to have a BART story, whether it's good, bad, or weird. The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit spent months recording on BART trains across the Bay Area, at all hours, to explore how...

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  • Investigations

    Tuesday, Dec 3, 2019

    Dubious Company Dissolves After NBC Bay Area Investigation

    Dubious Company Dissolves After NBC Bay Area Investigation

    Less than a week after NBC Bay Area published an investigation finding more than a dozen possible shell companies may have provided false employment records to thousands of foreign students, one of those companies filed paperwork...

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  • Investigations

    Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019

    SERIES: Who Owns Silicon Valley?

    SERIES: Who Owns Silicon Valley?

    These stories are part of a multi-newsroom investigative project involving Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, The Mercury News, KQED and Telemundo 48 Área de la Bahía.

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  • Investigations

    Tuesday, Dec 3, 2019

    Cal Fire Expert Casts Doubt on Tubbs Fire Finding

    Cal Fire Expert Casts Doubt on Tubbs Fire Finding

    Attorneys for victims of the October 2017 fire that left 22 people dead and destroyed whole neighborhoods in Santa Rosa contend Cal Fire got it wrong by excluding the utility as having sparked the fire.

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  • Investigations

    Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019

    Suspicious Companies May Be Exploiting Student Visa Program

    Suspicious Companies May Be Exploiting Student Visa Program

    A months-long joint investigation between NBC Bay Area and NBC News found thousands of foreign students may have used false employment records at more than a dozen potential shell companies to illegally stay in the country...

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  • Investigations

    Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019

    PG&E Inspections Flawed Before Camp Fire: CPUC Investigators

    PG&E Inspections Flawed Before Camp Fire: CPUC Investigators

    State regulators have cited PG&E for violating a dozen utility safety regulations in the Camp Fire last year, saying the company failed to heed warning signs about the aging tower blamed for the fire and its pre-fire inspection...

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  • Investigations

    Friday, Nov 22, 2019

    How Can CA's High Speed Rail Project Get Back on Track

    How Can CA's High Speed Rail Project Get Back on Track

    High Speed Rail’s latest construction spending numbers show that the promise of "rammed up construction" over the summer of 2019 barely materialized, putting the overall project further behind schedule and threatening to derail...

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  • Investigations

    Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

    Small Businesses See Costs, No Benefits From High-Speed Rail

    Small Businesses See Costs, No Benefits From High-Speed Rail

    Central Valley Small Business advocates say the High-Speed Rail project's delays and failures to obtain proper rights of way before beginning construction have nearly put companies out of business.

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  • Investigations

    Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

    Critical Repairs on PG&E System Near Camp Fire 632 Days Late

    Critical Repairs on PG&E System Near Camp Fire 632 Days Late

    A new regulatory audit of PG&E’s transmission system where the Camp Fire broke out found the company was late in fixing 900 problems on its towers and other equipment, including two critical threats that regulators say languished...

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  • Investigations

    Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

    The Struggle to Protect Students From Predatory Colleges

    The Struggle to Protect Students From Predatory Colleges

    In a national collaboration with NBC stations around the country, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has been looking into federal student loans, the nation’s fastest growing form of consumer debt, and found that California...

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  • Investigations

    Thursday, Nov 7, 2019

    Stolen Phone Pipeline Ran From Hayward Cell Shop, Police Say

    Stolen Phone Pipeline Ran From Hayward Cell Shop, Police Say

    Fremont Police say they just shut down the largest Bay Area fencing operation trafficking in stolen electronics. Detectives say a Hayward cell shop was the beginning of an international stolen cell phone pipeline that spanned four...

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  • Investigations

    Thursday, Nov 7, 2019

    8 PG&E Towers Passed Pre-Camp Fire Inspections, Failed After

    8 PG&E Towers Passed Pre-Camp Fire Inspections, Failed After

    An NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit analysis of newly obtained inspection records reveals that eight towers on the aging PG&E transmission system blamed in the Camp Fire had passed inspections just days before the blaze, only...

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  • Investigations

    Monday, Nov 4, 2019

    2 Tech Titans' Takes on Silicon Valley's Housing Crisis

    2 Tech Titans' Takes on Silicon Valley's Housing Crisis

    With the proposed development of downtown San Jose, one giant tech company takes a different approach compared to the recent development of the “Spaceship” campus down the road. Even so, thousands of current residents will...

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  • Investigations

    Sunday, Nov 3, 2019

    Who Owns Silicon Valley: Stanford?

    Who Owns Silicon Valley: Stanford?

    From Hewlett-Packard computers to Google search engines, Stanford University is credited with some of Silicon Valley’s biggest innovations. But is the university also partly to blame for the region’s biggest problem – the...

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  • Investigations

    Friday, Nov 1, 2019

    Who Owns Silicon Valley?

    Who Owns Silicon Valley?

    An analysis of 500,000 property records from Santa Clara’s Property Assessor’s office from 2018 shows which organizations and corporations own the most land and control the most property value in Silicon Valley.

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  • Investigations

    Monday, Nov 4, 2019

    Bad Science Making California Fires Worse, Says Congressman

    Bad Science Making California Fires Worse, Says Congressman

    Congressman Ro Khanna says U.S. Forest Service policy to clear cut after a wildfire is making California’s forest fires spread faster and burn hotter. Khanna points to the work of nearly 300 scientists whose research backs him up.

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  • Investigations

    Wednesday, Oct 30, 2019

    PG&E: Shutoffs Helped Prevent Fires From Sparking

    PG&E: Shutoffs Helped Prevent Fires From Sparking

    PG&E told a federal judge Wednesday that inspections done after mass power shutoffs earlier this month uncovered 56 instances of damage that could have sparked wildfires across its territory.

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  • Investigations

    Wednesday, Oct 30, 2019

    A Major Push for Citizenship for Deported Vets

    A Major Push for Citizenship for Deported Vets

    A law proposed this week on Capitol Hill aims to pave the way for bringing deported veterans back to the United States.

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  • Investigations

    Monday, Oct 28, 2019

    Study Finds Some Local Towns Have Limited Evacuation Routes

    Study Finds Some Local Towns Have Limited Evacuation Routes

    Almost two dozen smaller Northern California cities and towns are at risk of gridlock in the event of an evacuation such as the ones ordered this past weekend because of the Kincade wildfire, according to a recent analysis by...

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  • Investigations

    Monday, Oct 28, 2019

    PG&E Says Equipment Involved in Lafayette Fires

    PG&E Says Equipment Involved in Lafayette Fires

    PG&E acknowledges in reports filed with state regulators Monday that its equipment was involved in sparking separate fires on both sides of Highway 24 in Lafayette, but noted the fires were not in high fire threat areas subject to...

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  • Investigations

    Thursday, Oct 24, 2019

    PG&E Cut Power to Area After Kincade Fire Started

    PG&E Cut Power to Area After Kincade Fire Started

    PG&E told regulators in a report filed Thursday that a broken jumper cable on a transmission tower may have been to blame for the Kincade Fire on Wednesday, confirming that the company had not turned off power to its highest...

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  • Investigations

    Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

    PG&E Inspections Missed Equipment Damage Exposed in Shutoff

    PG&E Inspections Missed Equipment Damage Exposed in Shutoff

    As more PG&E power shutoffs loom, a federal judge has given PG&E until the end of the month to account for the more than 100 problems apparently missed by its inspectors and tree trimming crews before the massive shutdown revealed...

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  • Investigations

    Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

    SF Grapples With How to Fight Firestorm After Next Big Quake

    SF Grapples With How to Fight Firestorm After Next Big Quake

    San Francisco’s Marina was ravaged by fire during the Loma Prieta earthquake, centered 60 miles away. Thirty years later, experts say, as much as a third of the city is still largely unprotected against the massive fires they fear...

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  • Investigations

    Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

    Workers Fled Crockett Fire, Didn't Activate Fire Suppression

    Workers Fled Crockett Fire, Didn't Activate Fire Suppression

    Firefighters who rushed to battle the raging fire at the NuStar tank farm in Crockett found the front gate locked, and the employees had scattered without activating the facility’s automated fire suppression system, NBC Bay Area’s...

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  • Investigations

    Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

    591 Buildings at State Colleges Have Seismic Deficiencies

    591 Buildings at State Colleges Have Seismic Deficiencies

    When the next big earthquake hits, hundreds of student buildings on college campuses across the state could pose a serious hazard to everyone inside, according to seismic reports obtained by the NBC Bay Area Investigative

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  • Investigations

    Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

    NuStar Tank Farm Fire Prompts Call for Stronger Oversight

    NuStar Tank Farm Fire Prompts Call for Stronger Oversight

    The dramatic fire at the NuStar tank farm Tuesday prompted a Contra Costa County supervisor to call for more rigorous oversight of at least six petrochemical facilities that he says are currently exempted from his county’s...

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  • Investigations

    Monday, Oct 14, 2019

    PG&E Ordered to Fix Power Shutoff Plan

    PG&E Ordered to Fix Power Shutoff Plan

    The head of the state’s Public Utilities Commission on Monday ordered PG&E to revamp its power shutdown program to avoid the kind of chaos and breakdowns that were evident in last week’s planned blackouts.

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  • Investigations

    Friday, Oct 11, 2019

    PG&E Files Report on September’s Preemptive Power Shutdown

    PG&E Files Report on September’s Preemptive Power Shutdown

    In its official accounting of the first two planned power shutdowns last month, PG&E acknowledges mistakes but also tells regulators the shutoffs allowed it to safely repair wind-driven tree limb damage to its system in Oroville...

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  • Investigations

    Friday, Oct 11, 2019

    PG&E Holds Wine Tasting Event on Anniversary of Deadly Fires

    PG&E Holds Wine Tasting Event on Anniversary of Deadly Fires

    Having already issued a massive apology for its handling of this week’s power shut offs, PG&E is now also apologizing for a wine tasting event the company held on the second anniversary of the North Bay wildfires – in the...

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  • Investigations

    Thursday, Oct 10, 2019

    Inspection Found Power Problems with Caldecott Last Year

    Inspection Found Power Problems with Caldecott Last Year

    Long before Caltrans announced Tuesday night it was planning to close the Caldecott Tunnel due to planned PG&E outages, there were already signs a major power outage could cripple the tunnel. State inspectors, using guidelines...

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  • Investigations

    Wednesday, Oct 9, 2019

    PG&E Questioned for Going Overboard With Outage Warnings

    PG&E Questioned for Going Overboard With Outage Warnings

    A key state lawmaker is calling on state regulators to more aggressively oversee PG&E’s unprecedented wildfire safety power shutoff that could impact as many as 2.5 million people.

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  • Investigations

    Monday, Oct 7, 2019

    EPA to Study Air and Groundwater Contamination in Sunnyvale

    EPA to Study Air and Groundwater Contamination in Sunnyvale

    Seven years after NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit uncovered how pervasive and fast that plume of toxic chemicals under Moffett Field was growing, the Environmental Protection Agency announced two companies will help pay to clean...

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  • Investigations

    Friday, Oct 4, 2019

    $65M Deal With State Regulators Over PG&E's 811 Program

    $65M Deal With State Regulators Over PG&E's 811 Program

    State regulators and PG&E have a struck a $65 million deal in the regulatory action over PG&E’s troubled 811 locate and mark program that ratepayer and safety advocates consider a slap on the wrist to the bankrupt company.

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  • Investigations

    Tuesday, Oct 1, 2019

    ICE Agents Violate Rules That Protect Immigrant Vets

    ICE Agents Violate Rules That Protect Immigrant Vets

    Even though the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has policies in place that can protect immigrant US veterans from deportation, NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit has learned that ICE officials have not regularly followed...

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  • Investigations

    Tuesday, Oct 1, 2019

    PG&E Says Tree Trimming Effort Is Behind Schedule

    PG&E Says Tree Trimming Effort Is Behind Schedule

    PG&E acknowledged to a federal judge Tuesday that it is currently running well short of its tree-trimming goal this year as it heads into the heart of the fire season. The utility says it is having trouble finding enough people to...

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  • Investigations

    Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

    Presentation High Launches Probe Into Sex Abuse Allegations

    Presentation High Launches Probe Into Sex Abuse Allegations

    Presentation High School in San Jose announced Thursday it is launching a full investigation into allegations of past sexual abuse nearly two years after NBC Bay Area broke the story.

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  • Investigations

    Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

    Photos Show PG&E Lines Sparked Tubbs Fire: Expert

    Photos Show PG&E Lines Sparked Tubbs Fire: Expert

    New photographic evidence indicates tree contact with two PG&E power lines – not the private hilltop electrical system state investigators have blamed – caused the devastating Tubbs fire, according to an expert with four decades of...

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  • Investigations

    Tuesday, Sep 24, 2019

    Brain Exams Aim to Predict Violent Behavior, Stop Killers

    Brain Exams Aim to Predict Violent Behavior, Stop Killers

    Cutting-edge research is revealing new ways to potentially prevent violent acts, including mass shootings, years before the thought of violence ever crosses the minds of murderers. A study of roughly 1,000 prisoners revealed...

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  • Investigations

    Monday, Sep 23, 2019

    PG&E Starts Power Shutoffs, Seeks $1B Safety Rate Hike

    PG&E Starts Power Shutoffs, Seeks $1B Safety Rate Hike

    As PG&E announced wildfire safety shutoffs in the Sierra foothills on Monday, one top official with the bankrupt company sought to convince regulators to back a $1 billion rate hike to help counter the long-term fire threat.

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