Excellence in National Reporting
Mike Baker, 31 and Daniel Wagner, 34
The Seattle Times, The Center for Public Integrity and BuzzFeed News
From opposite ends of the country, Mike Baker and Daniel Wagner were each investigating Warren Buffet’s mobile-home businesses when their paths crossed. They decided to pitch the project to their bosses as a partnership. It was an advantageous union, as Baker had been analyzing government mortgage data and Wagner had been focusing on customers. Together they revealed how Clayton Homes, a part of the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, and its lending subsidiaries target minority homebuyers and lock them into ruinous high-interest loans.
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“Our story showed that Clayton had quietly bought up much of the mobile-home industry, creating a near monopoly in many markets,” says Daniel Wagner. “In addition, it showed how reverse redlining, a practice typically associated with lending to urban minorities, is a serious problem in rural areas.”