10 KSL Investigations that made a difference in Utah in 2023

Dec 30, 2023, 12:18 PM

FILE - Downtown Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake Valley are pictured on Thursday, June 2, 2022. (Sp...

FILE - Downtown Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake Valley are pictured on Thursday, June 2, 2022. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The KSL Investigators worked relentlessly in 2023 to help Utahns get answers, look out for consumers, expose systemic problems, explore potential solutions, and hold government accountable.
Here are some of the investigations that made a difference this year:

1. KSL Investigates: Failure to Protect

In 2023, the KSL investigators took a close look at sexual violence in Utah: Assaults against women and children, the police investigations into those assaults, the prosecutions of offenders or lack thereof, and the systems in place aimed at protecting future victims.

This several-part series led to the discovery of multiple wrongfully closed sexual assault cases, several new rape charges filed against an accused serial predator, the arrest of a wanted fugitive, promised changes to the way Utah’s parole board interacts with victims, and an audit of the state’s sex offender registry.

2. Cracking, sinking, falling apart: KSL Investigates structural issues in multiple new homes

While Utah continues to chip away at the housing shortage, some new homeowners are dealing with cracking walls and sinking foundations – and in Draper, two homes slid into a ravine this year. In multiple reports, the KSL Investigators dug for answers and exposed how some building laws make it hard to say “no” to risky development.

3. Get Gephardt: Utahns say they’re out thousands after South Jordan travel company cancels overseas tours

In a series of reports, the KSL Investigators searched for a Utah tour operator that seemingly vanished after abruptly canceling hundreds of overseas cruises without refunds. In addition to seeking answers for jilted Utahns, the reporting also exposed loopholes in travel insurance policies.

4. Leaving an Abuser: Locked in a Lease

The KSL Investigators examined the link between domestic violence and housing insecurity. We found that Utah is one of many states allowing renters to buy their way out of a lease if they’re being abused, but the requirements are strict and the fee is hefty, at one-and-a-half months’ rent. Advocates and renters told us this financial burden makes it hard for vulnerable Utahns to move out and leave violent relationships for good. However, a new resource for survivors of domestic and relationship violence in Utah aims to help.

5. KSL Investigates: Censoring Construction Criticism

The KSL Investigators found Utah several builders using non-disparagement clauses in their real estate purchase contracts that are unlawful under the Consumer Review Fairness Act. This reporting warned Utahns about the unlawful gag clauses that are not enforceable but were censoring homeowners.

6. Get Gephardt Busts Inflation: VPN could save you hundreds on an overseas trip

The KSL Investigators exposed how being American can cost you more when you book travel and ways you can save by simply pretending you’re somewhere else.

7. KSL Investigates: Fake Threats Creating Chaos

Following a slew of hoax threats called into school districts across the state on the same day this year, the KSL Investigators examined the very real consequences, including a strain on Utah’s critical public safety resources.

8. Utahns save thousands in sales tax by registering new cars in Montana. But is it legal?

The KSL Investigators hit the road to reveal how some Utahns are breaking the law to take advantage of an out-of-state plate loophole.

9. Get Gephardt: High school softball team calls foul on field conditions, 2 years after Title IX complaint

The Viewmont High School Softball team decided to Get Gephardt after complaints that the poor conditions of the softball field violated Title IX.

10. KSL Investigates’ public records battle for AG Reyes’ calendar

How does Utah’s Attorney General spend his time on the clock? He’s fighting to keep that secret. The KSL Investigators first requested a copy of Sean Reyes’ calendar in November 2022, kicking off a records battle that went to Utah’s State Records Committee this year and ultimately to court. After a yearlong fight for a copy of the schedule, KSL’s attorneys have asked a judge to order the release of the records, without the case going to trial.

Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you.

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10 KSL Investigations that made a difference in Utah in 2023