Before joining the Wall Street Journal staff, Armstrong reported for the Boston Globe from 1993 through 2000. His work appeared in every section of the newspaper.
A series of reports on the failure of government agencies to inspect elevators and inspectors won several awards, including a George Polk award and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. The series reported on accidents that were preventable, but occurred in an environment where government inspectors failed to do their job and a cozy relationship between industry and government thwarted safety reforms. A computerized analysis of inspection records by the Globe found that nearly 40 percent of the state’s 24,289 passenger and freight elevators had not been inspected as required; that inspectors were not working full days and sometimes worked other jobs on state time, and that ordered safety improvements never occurred. The head of the state agency responsible for inspecting elevators quit after he learned of the Globe’s findings, leaving office on the eve of publication. Others were later fired.
Armstrong wrote one of the first stories – Priest Sick Leave – revealing how the Boston archdiocese shuffled and hid Catholic priests accused of molesting children.
A series of reports examined the wasteful and hidebound ways of the Boston Fire Department, resulting in the resignation of the chief and the formation of a special commission that advocated an overhaul of the department.
Several stories reported on environmental wrongdoing – by the government. This story told the tale of overzealous enforcement agents who targeted a small mill operator. A federal judge later ruled the government unnecessarily harassed the mill operator and pursued a case against him even though it didn’t have any credible evidence. This story exposed the toxic legacy of former U.S. military bases overseas, documenting how the military polluted in ways that would be illegal and subject to criminal prosecution in the U.S.
This report detailed how dozens of Massachusetts lawyers who lost their licenses for serious misconduct – including drug dealing, stealing from clients, obstructing an investigation into the Mafia, and participation in an arson ring – were quietly reinstated and allowed to practice law.
Armstrong undertook several sports-related investigations for the Globe.
The Splendid Son reported on the financial dealings of John Henry Williams, the son of legendary baseball player Ted Williams, long before the son garnered international attention for freezing the body of his famous father. Several stories reported on payoffs and misdeeds involving basketball players at the University of Massachusetts, as well as excesses by school administrators related to the program. The team had its Final Four appearance wiped from the books. Finally, there is this story about a New England Patriots player and his off the field problems – Paternity claims trail Patriots star
For a complete index of my Boston Globe articles, click here: Boston Globe Articles – Complete List