No one wins when a corrupt man sits in a position of power. For co-founders of Phoenix News and Village Voice Media, a corrupt sheriff nearly ruined their lives. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were reporting a local sheriff named Joe Arpaio, which led Arpaio to cross the line.
In 2007, Arpaio had Lacey and Larkin arrested. They had proof that he’d been using federal power to confiscate reporters’ notes that were about him. Such a story drew the attention of millions, making Arpaio very angry. In his attempt to shut the story down, he cost Maricopa County $3.75 million during a lawsuit filed by Lacey and Larkin.
Worse than Arpaio’s actions toward Lacey and Larkin was his blatant use of power to get what he wanted. He not only wanted any and all notes containing information about himself, he wanted New Times to reveal the identity of any citizen that had read the articles published online.
That is not only a violation of Lacey and Larkin’s rights as reporters, but violates the rights of their readers. Lacey and Larkin are very adamant in their belief in the First Amendment. After winning the suit, they donated their money to several pro-migrant organizations in Arizona.
Their love for Mexican emigrants really comes from reporting on the abuse that Sheriff Arpaio caused. While everyone else in Arizona ignored the sheriff’s wrongdoings, New Times gave him nothing but their devoted attention, which he hated. Read more; Village Voice Media | Wikipedia
All New Times did was talk about how bad of a sheriff he really was. They showed people his true colors, which led him to go after the company. When it comes to their arrest, it was more like a kidnapping. They were pulled from their homes, placed in unmarked SUVs with Mexican license plates, and driven to separate jails.
Michael Lacey wasn’t born in Arizona like Jim Larkin. Lacey is an east-coast boy who grew up in Newark, NJ. He moved to Arizona in the 60s to attend college, but that didn’t work out. He dropped out and began working as a reporter.
Jim Larkin is an Arizona native, Phoenix to be exact. He also attended Arizona State but dropped out. That’s when he met Lacey, and the two began working together. Together, they built one of the most recognizable media conglomerates in the country.
After their suit was settled, they used their settlement to establish the Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund. The fund supports local groups focused on migrant rights and free speech and civic actions.