Skip to main content

‹ Back to profile

Stories by Brad Racino

This photograph from Oct. 15, 2007, shows a Maa...

Controversial UCSD Genital Mutilation Study Keeps Getting Rejected

Sept. 11
By Brad Racino / inewsource, Jill Castellano / inewsource

For years, a distinguished UC San Diego economist has wanted to stop young girls in Kenya from undergoing genital mutilation by offering them and their families money toward education.

The UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translatio...

A UCSD Whistleblower Alleges Problems With University’s Human Research Protections Program

Aug. 14
By Brad Racino / inewsource, Jill Castellano / inewsource

A UCSD whistleblower claims the research university is putting thousands of research subjects at risk each year because it’s not following basic rules and values money over safety.

This undated illustration shows an eye and a pe...

Eye Experts Around The World Question Experiment On Babies In China Involving UCSD Researchers

July 25
By Brad Racino / inewsource, Jill Castellano / inewsource

Twenty-one researchers from the University of California San Diego were involved in a study performed on babies in China that has been called unethical, risky and misleading. Experts say the experiment likely would not have passed an ethics review in the United States.

A Biomedical Research facility on the UCSD Scho...

UCSD Doctor Resigns After inewsource Raised Questions About His China Business Ties

July 8
By Brad Racino / inewsource, Jill Castellano / inewsource

A renowned UCSD eye doctor who is part of a Chinese recruitment program under FBI scrutiny has resigned amid inewsource's questions about his foreign government affiliations and businesses.

A sign at the San Diego VA is shown in this Nov...

Blood Samples From San Diego Veterans Used In Research Article, Despite Investigation Into Unethical Study

May 30
By Brad Racino / inewsource, Jill Castellano / inewsource

Two prominent doctors associated with the University of California San Diego and the local VA used blood and stool samples taken from sick veterans to bolster a paper published this month in an academic research journal.

A black light illuminates a man’s eye after he ...

Human Research Violations By UCSD Eye Doctor Showcase A National Problem

April 18
By Brad Racino / inewsource, Jill Castellano / inewsource

Tens of millions of people have volunteered their time and bodies to help create breakthroughs in medicine. You see the results with the pain relievers in your medicine cabinet, the vaccines that protect you from disease, the pacemakers that keep your heart beating and the innovations happening now with stem cells.

Students pass the College of Professional Studi...

SDSU President Addresses Complaints Over Noxious Fumes, Promises Better Communication

April 4
By Brad Racino / inewsource

More than 75 faculty members, staff and students at San Diego State University packed an open forum Wednesday to demand answers of campus leadership about noxious odors that have sickened many since January.

The PSFA building was closed on March 13 – six ...

County Sends Violation Notices To SDSU, Contractors Over Noxious Odors

April 3
By Brad Racino / inewsource

San Diego County issued violation notices Friday to San Diego State University and its contractors for releasing volatile chemicals that students and faculty said caused nausea, headaches and nosebleeds.

The outside of the VA Medical Center in La Joll...

Report: San Diego VA Took Liver Samples From Veterans Without Their Consent

Feb. 26
By Brad Racino / inewsource, Jill Castellano / inewsource

An internal report from the San Diego VA obtained by inewsource reveals liver samples were taken from sick veterans without their permission for a study that provided no benefit to the patients.

The outside of the VA Medical Center in La Joll...

Congress To Hold Hearing On Allegations Of Dangerous Human Research At San Diego VA

Feb. 1
By Brad Racino / inewsource, Jill Castellano / inewsource

A federal report describes one San Diego VA patient returning from a procedure “oozing with blood” and in need of an emergency transfusion.

The USS Chosin and USS O'Kane sat unguarded at ...

Navy Warships At Risk As Security Gaps At One San Diego Bay Shipyard Persist

Jan. 28
By Brad Racino / inewsource

Despite an inewsource investigation and calls for action from a local congressman, one San Diego shipyard continues to ignore federal rules designed to protect billion-dollar Navy warships.

Travis Fox, who with his wife Brenda Markstein ...

Property Owners, Volunteers Start Cleaning Up Destruction Left By HiCaliber Horse Rescue

Dec. 31, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

Travis Fox walked his 15 acres in Valley Center little more than a week before Christmas, half in anger, half in disbelief. Trees, bushes and flowers were dead, thousands of feet of fencing was destroyed, and rat droppings lined the cupboard inside one of his homes.

The HII San Diego Shipyard was repairing and up...

Security Lapses Found At San Diego Shipyards Despite Navy Rules

Dec. 12, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

The private shipyards in San Diego responsible for protecting Navy warships have not been following security protocols meant to protect those billion-dollar assets, and the Navy was alerted to the lapses more than two years ago, an inewsource investigation has found.

The HiCaliber Horse Rescue stable is shown on M...

HiCaliber Horse Rescue Faces Eviction And Lawsuit

Dec. 6, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

HiCaliber Horse Rescue, which has faced animal cruelty and fraud allegations for months, is being evicted from its Valley Center ranch and sued for more than $4 million.

The VA San Diego Healthcare System in La Jolla ...

Congressional Hearings Sought Into San Diego VA Human Research

Nov. 27, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

Rep. Scott Peters on Monday requested a congressional hearing into allegations of dangerous human research at the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

The outside of the San Diego VA Medical Center ...

Whistleblowers Allege Human Research Violations At San Diego VA

Nov. 20, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

Federal investigators looking into the whistleblowers’ allegations sent a strongly worded letter to President Trump and to Congress urging a “truly critical look” into the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

A voter walks into the San Ysidro Library to ca...

San Diego Voters Overwhelmingly Favored Measure J — Here’s What It Took To Get There

Nov. 9, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

San Diego voters demanded greater transparency from their government more than 25 years ago. That law never was enforced. Now, they’ve changed the city charter to make sure it happens.

Commercial fishermen David Haworth (left) and P...

Plan To Revive San Diego Fishing Industry Agreed Upon By Fishermen, Developer

Oct. 24, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

For two years inewsource has followed negotiations to develop Seaport San Diego and possibly revive the city’s fishing trade.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer speaks in front of the Sa...

Follow The Money: The Measure For San Diego Government Transparency

Oct. 12, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource, Jill Castellano / inewsource

This is the fifth of a five-part Follow The Money series by inewsource reporters Jill Castellano and Brad Racino, leading up to the Nov. 6 election. In this final installment, they look at Measure J, which would change the city of San Diego’s charter and require companies doing business with the city to disclose all the people associated with the transaction.

Students walk across the basketball courts at G...

Follow The Money: The Campaign For San Diego Unified’s $3.5 Billion Bond

Oct. 11, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource, Jill Castellano / inewsource

This is the fourth of a five-part Follow The Money series by inewsource reporters Jill Castellano and Brad Racino, leading up to the Nov. 6 election. In this installment, they look at Measure YY, the San Diego Unified School District’s $3.5 billion proposed bond measure.

A poll worker at the North Park Library is show...

Follow The Money: Deciding County Elections In November

Oct. 10, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource, Jill Castellano / inewsource

This is the third of a five-part Follow The Money series by inewsource reporters Jill Castellano and Brad Racino, leading up to the Nov. 6 election. In this installment, they look at Measure D, a ballot measure that would require elections for county offices to be decided in November. This would be a significant change in county politics.

A car is shown at a gas station near the San Di...

Follow The Money: The Campaigns For And Against The Gas Tax Repeal

Oct. 8, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource, Jill Castellano / inewsource

This is the first of a five-part Follow The Money series by inewsource reporters Jill Castellano and Brad Racino, leading up to the Nov. 6 election. In this installment, the two reporters look at the money on both sides of Proposition 6, which would repeal a state gas tax increase.

Earl McNeil, who died after an encounter with t...

Report Offers New Details In Earl McNeil’s Death Following National City Police Arrest

Sept. 21, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

Ambulance report says Earl McNeil had a spit mask over his head and a “shirt pulled over his face.”

The San Diego International Airport is shown at...

San Diego Airport Authority Possibly Violated Open Meeting Law In Suing Port

Aug. 6, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

When the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority decided in July to join an ongoing lawsuit against the San Diego Unified Port District, it may have violated the state’s open meeting law.

San Diego's seal is shown at the downtown City ...

San Diego Business Transparency Measure To Go On November Ballot

Aug. 1, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

The City Council voted unanimously Monday to put an amendment before voters on Section 225 of the City Charter – a vaguely worded and long-ignored transparency law requiring anyone doing business with the city to disclose their identities.

Tease photo for San Diego County District Attorney’s ...

San Diego County District Attorney’s Office Sued For Sexual Harassment Records

July 27, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

An open-government advocacy group sued the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office on Friday for records of sexual harassment and misconduct allegations within the department.

HiCaliber Horse Rescue’s Valley Center property...

Critics Accuse HiCaliber Of Questionable Fundraising Campaign Built Around A Dead Horse

July 13, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

Despite statements from the founder of HiCaliber Horse Rescue that the Valley Center nonprofit is closing, it continues to take in animals and was accused by critics this week of misleading fundraising campaigns, including one built around a dead horse.

HiCaliber Horse Rescue's founder, Michelle Knut...

HiCaliber Horse Rescue Set To Close Saturday As Investigations Of Nonprofit Continue

June 26, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

State and local agencies are continuing to investigate allegations of fraud and improper veterinary practices at HiCaliber Horse Rescue as the Valley Center nonprofit approaches its voluntary closing date Saturday.

Geologist and SDSU Professor Emeritus Pat Abbot...

Earthquake Safety: Touring A Few Of San Diego’s Most Iconic Buildings

June 11, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

It doesn’t take much to draw Pat Abbott out of semi-retirement. The San Diego geologist has a flair for explaining complicated seismic topics and an overwhelming interest in earthquake safety.

The Long Beach earthquake on March 10, 1933, le...

San Diego’s Downtown Earthquake Fault, Kept Quiet For Years, Now Surfaces

May 2, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

San Diego government agencies discovered an active earthquake fault nearly 10 years ago on the downtown waterfront, yet they didn’t alert the public.

A HiCaliber horse lays in its stall during a vi...

Investigations Continue Into HiCaliber Horse Rescue Despite Closing Announcement

April 24, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

Local and state agencies are continuing their investigations into HiCaliber Horse Rescue, despite an announcement over the weekend that the Valley Center nonprofit is closing.

Michelle Knuttila, founder of HiCaliber Horse R...

HiCaliber Horse Rescue Shutting Down Amid Investigations

April 23, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource and Nicole Tyau / inewsource

HiCaliber Horse Rescue, a Valley Center nonprofit at the center of an inewsource investigation and multiple government investigations over allegations of fraud, animal abuse and improper veterinary practices, is closing, according to a Facebook post on Saturday.

HiCaliber Horse Rescue board member Robyn Armst...

HiCaliber Horse Rescue Back To Fundraising After Filing Financial Paperwork

April 18, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

The action comes about a month after the Attorney General’s Office prohibited HiCaliber from soliciting donations because it hadn’t submitted 2016 paperwork.

One of the houses on the HiCaliber Horse Rescue...

Fourth HiCaliber Horse Rescue Board Member Never Saw Financials

March 28, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

Another former board member of HiCaliber Horse Rescue has come forward to tell inewsource she never saw financial paperwork or detailed receipts while helping to oversee the Valley Center nonprofit. The horse rescue is at the center of multiple local and state investigations involving fraud, animal abuse and improper veterinary practices.

Attorney Cory Briggs outside the San Diego Supe...

Briggs Law Corp. Loses Supreme Court Appeal Over Wal-Mart Opinion

March 27, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

The state Supreme Court has denied a request by San Diego attorney Cory Briggs and his nonprofit client, CREED-21, to unpublish a precedent-setting opinion involving the California Environmental Quality Act and a Wal-Mart project in Riverside County.

A horse on HiCaliber Horse Rescue's ranch in Va...

Eyeballs, Del Mar And Manure: More On HiCaliber Horse Rescue

March 22, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

The investigation inewsource began last month into HiCaliber Horse Rescue involved dozens of interviews and hundreds of pages of public records. Some of the material uncovered provides additional insights into how the Valley Center nonprofit operates.

Michelle Knuttila, HiCaliber Horse Rescue's fou...

HiCaliber Donor Funds Used For Mobile Phone Spying, Weight Watchers; Documents Shared With District Attorney

March 15, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

Michelle Knuttila, the founder of the nonprofit HiCaliber Horse Rescue, spent thousands of donor dollars intended for rescuing and rehabilitating horses on late-night fast-food and bar tabs, mobile phone spy technology, Weight Watchers and other purchases from October 2013 to March 2015, according to financial documents provided to inewsource.

From left to right: Julie Morton, Leah Bjerknes...

HiCaliber Horse Volunteers Say Disease Outbreak At Valley Center Ranch Not Disclosed

March 8, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

An active outbreak of a highly contagious equine disease called strangles has occurred on the HiCaliber Horse Rescue ranch in Valley Center and is not being disclosed to anyone on the outside, including people who have adopted horses from the nonprofit over the past few months, five former HiCaliber volunteers told inewsource.

Michelle Knuttila, HiCaliber Horse Rescue's fou...

Former Board Member And Veterinarian Details Problems With Finances, Medical Practices At HiCaliber Horse Rescue

March 7, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

HiCaliber Horse Rescue’s former veterinarian and board member told inewsource Tuesday he has shared medical records and his concerns about HiCaliber’s founder practicing veterinary medicine without a license with the California Veterinary Medical Board.

A horse on HiCaliber Horse Rescue's ranch in Va...

Attorney General’s Office Halts HiCaliber’s Fundraising, Spending For Failing To File Tax Docs

March 5, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

HiCaliber Horse Rescue, a Valley Center nonprofit embroiled in allegations of fraud and animal abuse, can no longer raise or spend money until it submits proper financial disclosures to the state.

Horses at the HiCaliber Horse Rescue ranch.

HiCaliber Horse Rescue Ensnared In Allegations Of Animal Cruelty, Fraud

Feb. 28, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

Horse enthusiasts from across the country are accusing HiCaliber Horse Rescue, a Valley Center nonprofit, of animal cruelty and fraud based on first-hand accounts and the organization’s social media posts. Local and state authorities are looking into the allegations.

Attorney Cory Briggs is seen in this undated ph...

Cory Briggs’ Law Firm Asks State Supreme Court To Review Precedent-Setting Decision

Feb. 5, 2018
By Brad Racino / inewsource

The Briggs Law Corp. has asked the California Supreme Court to review a ruling that ended a lawsuit filed by local attorney Cory Briggs, drew the attention of the San Diego City Attorney’s Office and established new legal precedent.

Tease photo for Sanction Involving San Diego Attorney...

Sanction Involving San Diego Attorney Cory Briggs Creates Legal Precedent In California

Dec. 28, 2017
By Brad Racino / inewsource

A state appeals court has affirmed punishing sanctions in a lawsuit involving local environmental attorney Cory Briggs for failing to obey court orders. The decision ends a lawsuit Briggs filed on behalf of a nonprofit against a Wal-Mart in Riverside County and establishes legal precedent.

An artist's rendering of the future Village of ...

Developer Addressing Methane Problem At Otay Ranch Housing Project

Dec. 21, 2017
By Brad Racino / inewsource and Brandon Quester / inewsource

The Otay Water District has reached a resolution with HomeFed to install water meters at the developer’s 450-acre Escaya community in Otay Ranch.

Artwork by Alexander Mostov for inewsource.

Remedial Classes: A Community College ‘Segregation Machine’

Dec. 14, 2017
By Brad Racino / inewsource and Meredith Kolodner/The Hechinger Report

Hundreds of thousands of community college students are placed in remedial classes every year, and few get past them, especially black and Latino students.

The Escaya development – the area affected by t...

Methane Found At Multimillion-Dollar Escaya Housing Project In Otay Ranch

Dec. 11, 2017
By Brad Racino / inewsource

Methane and volatile chemicals such as benzene have been discovered underground at a yet-to-be completed Otay Ranch project that is marketed as one of the largest planned housing developments in the U.S.

The official seal for the city of San Diego app...

New Law In San Diego Firms Up Government Transparency

Dec. 5, 2017
By Brad Racino / inewsource

The San Diego City Council voted unanimously Monday to fix a vaguely worded law requiring anyone doing business with the city to disclose their identities.

As detailed in a recent inewsource investigatio...

San Diego Makes Big Stride Toward Government Transparency

Nov. 1, 2017
By Brad Racino / inewsource

After more than a year of inewsource stories on the topic, the San Diego Rules Committee on Wednesday firmed up a vague law called Section 225 that mandates everyone doing business with the city disclose the financial interests behind the deal.

Gompers Board President Cecil Steppe (right) an...

Gompers Investigation Prompts Ambitious Search For Graduates

Oct. 23, 2017
By Brad Racino / inewsource

inewsource weaves together news with a behind-the-scenes look at how they investigated the Gompers Preparatory Academy.

As detailed in a recent inewsource investigatio...

San Diego Contracts, Business Deals Closer To Transparency

Oct. 3, 2017
By Brad Racino / inewsource

The City Council and Mayor’s Office are working to fix a vague but important law meant to make business between local government and private companies more transparent.

‹ Newer Stories