Best Newspaper Reporter (2009)

Teri Sforza

Few things get us excited more than a determined reporter hot on the trial of corruption. In the case of The Orange County Register's Teri Sforza, she gets extra credit for enduring a smear attack after exposing an unusual and secretive $5.4 million bonus arrangement taken by Professional Community Management (PCI), which runs senior-citizens-loaded Laguna Woods Village. With the aid of an inside source, Sforza published numerous shocking reports that have not only exposed potential financial shenanigans, but also reveal how PCI officials such as Milt Johns abhor public disclosure. One of the best Sforza discoveries was that PCI had crafted an incentive to overestimate specific project costs at the city because it had declared itself entitled to pocket 30 percent of all alleged savings. In a YouTube video of a City Council meeting, a seemingly unhinged Johns called Sforza "biased," ranted about whistleblowers and strongly hinted of a future lawsuit. Good luck, pal. Nice work, Sforza.

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