Not everybody is happy that ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been pardoned. Especially not Phoenix New Times founders and former owners of Village Voice Media, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. It is no surprise. After all the self-proclaimed “America’s Toughest Sheriff” did have the newsmen jailed back in 2007. A decision that cost taxpayers $3.75 million dollars.
Following Arpaio’s indictment for criminal contempt in 2017, his opposition base breathed a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, it turns out that this will simply be the start of another chapter.
Most of what people know about Arpaio’s tenure as Sheriff comes from independent weekly Phoenix New Times. The counterculter paper was founded by Lacey and fellow ASU students back in 1970 in opposition of the Kent State Shootings.
During Arpaio’s six terms his tactics in regards to illegal immigration, his infamous tent city, abuses of power, and botched investigations began to grab the attention of reporters. His treatment of the Latino community eventually led to Lacey and Larkin targeting the Sheriff.
They began to run articles exposing numerous scandals, his treatment of prisoners, and corruption. Many fellow newspapers were not even covering Arpaio, so it was only through the New Times that the Sheriff was getting public exposure. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Jim Larkin | Angel.co
This repeated exposure was soon covered by other news sources, until the story originally covered by the New Times would go national. This was made all the easier considering both Lacey and Larkin were also the governing heads of Village Voice Media, a multi-million dollar conglomerate of weeklies stretching from coast to coast. Naturally, Arpaio was not happy about this.
The events that led to Lacey and Larkin’s imprisonment began when Arpaio tasked a special prosecution team to investigate the paper and everyone attached to it. Prior to this Arpaio had been banning New Times reporters from junkets. Following an article that revealed the address of his home, Arpaio began investigating them.
After receiving a series of subpoenas Lacey and Larkin decided to print one in their combined byline. They were picked up the following night, very discreetly, and held for a total of 24 days. The arrest sparked much outrage that eventually led to the duo being freed, and suing the county for wrongful arrest.
Since then Lacey and Larkin have used the $3.75 million dollar payout to benefit the Latin-American community in Arizona. Allocated the funds through their charity the Frontera Fund, to finance Latin-American groups that fight racial profiling and work towards equality.
In 2012 they sold Village Voice Media. Presently the have returned to the news world with online independent news site Front Page Confidential.
The site publishes counterculture articles in preservation of the first amendment. As Apraio sets the stage with his run for Senate, the players are now ready to form his opposition, and chapter two will commence.