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Must reads: Texas watchdog journalism roundup for June 18, 2017

Apartments owned by David Starr

Low-income landlord David Starr gets tax breaks despite allegations of poor living conditions | San Antonio Express-News

“Over the last 25 years, Starr has used property tax breaks, state tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build a real estate empire throughout Texas and in Florida, Illinois, Kansas and other states. Most of his local complexes have been financed through two nonprofits he runs: American Opportunity for Housing and American Agape Foundation. Those nonprofits have a long history of allegations of poor and sometimes dangerous living conditions, according to court filings, complaints filed with the city of San Antonio and interviews with more than a dozen current and former residents. Read more …

Interactive map: How the major candidates fared in the 2017 San Antonio mayoral election

Campaign workers at Huebner Elementary in the May 2017 election

After every election, Bexar County officials release voting-precinct data that make for interesting reading for anyone who wants to know how their neighborhood voted or how each candidate fared in different parts of the community. For the 2017 mayoral race in San Antonio, here’s how the results look in an interactive map we made based … Read more

Interactive map shows how Bexar County voted in the 2016 presidential election

Election Day in Bexar County

Hillary Clinton lost the election — but not in Bexar County. We can see which parts of the county and San Antonio supported Clinton or GOP presidential winner Donald Trump thanks to the Bexar County Elections Department, which releases precinct-level voting results after every election. This interactive map we created from the data follows a … Read more

How to check safety inspections for any elevator or escalator in Texas

View from the Tower of the Americas

The elevators at the Tower of the Americas in San Antonio look like something out of the Jetsons. Yet every once in a while, the futuristic contraptions get stuck, stranding people hundreds of feet in the air. Last week it happened again. Firefighters rescued 14 people, including two children, who were trapped inside a stalled … Read more

San Antonio lawyer Alberto Acevedo says he bribed judge, got favorable treatment

Express-News Reporter Guillermo Contreras, who covers the federal-courts beat, has been writing scoop after scoop about an FBI investigation at the Bexar County courthouse in San Antonio. The latest bombshell is a story about this plea deal for local defense lawyer Alberto “Al” Acevedo Jr., who lays out in excruciating detail how he bribed Bexar … Read more

Check out the San Antonio bars and restaurants that raked in the most money in alcohol sales

Last night Jen and I enjoyed a rare date night at one of our favorite restaurants downtown, Bohanan’s, a swanky oasis of cocktails, jazz — and no screaming Tedesco children. If you’ve ever wondered exactly how much money your favorite haunt makes in alcohol sales, there’s now an easy way to find out. Joe Kokenge, … Read more

‘San Antonio 4’ set free after doubts raised in bizarre criminal case

Express-News reporter Michelle Mondo spent 18 months investigating the bizarre case of the “San Antonio Four” — four women accused of sexually assaulting two girls over the course of a weekend filled with debauchery and Satan worship. Michelle’s meticulously researched article raised questions about the evidence and the credibility of the accusers, who might have … Read more

Former San Antonio official Fernando De Leon faces federal charges in alleged bribery scheme

In March 2010, San Antonio police detectives and FBI agents visited the city’s Planning and Development Services Department, the place where real estate projects go to live or die based on whether the necessary permits are approved. One of the officials who signed off on those permits was Fernando De León, the department’s friendly, soft-spoken … Read more