Throughout the much debated, controversial, and scandalous tenure of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, two men persistently chased every example of corruption they could find. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, co-founders of alternative news weekly Phoenix New Times.
Like an Arizona version of Woodward and Bernstein the executive editor and CEO never gave Arpaio an inch. They scrutinized his every move, revealed corruption at every turn, and dogged the self-dubbed, “America’s Toughest Sheriff” since his election in 1992. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427818/Michael_Lacey and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/
Arpaio gained unfavorable attention for numerous accusations of brutality, botched investigations, and his overall treatment of the Latino community for the sake of illegal immigration. Advocates of the first amendment dedicated to fighting social injustice, Lacey and Larkin found the perfect villain in Sheriff Joe.
They lowlighted his treatment of prisoners, misuse of authority, and investigative actions they held as unconstitutional. In response, Arpaio banned New Times reporters from press conferences, and issued numerous subpoenas to writers and staff.
The duo did not relent and instead issued a story under their byline that disclosed an entire subpoena right down to the warning of criminal action. The co-founders were arrested shortly after the story was printed. This was the first time the feud between Sheriff and newspapermen would cost the taxpayers of Maricopa County.
Upon their release from jail, a detainment that lasted all of 24 hours, Lacey and Larkin sued Maricopa County for wrongful imprisonment. The lawsuit ended in a settlement that bore fruit in 2013 with the duo receiving $3.75 million dollars. They used it to create the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, dispensing the settlement to needy Latino families across Arizona. Read more: Michael Lacey | Facebook and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase
The Phoenix New Times revealed many examples of corruption throughout Arpaio’s tenure, including the final nail in the coffin with the unconstitutional order to round up Latinos for suspected immigration. This story led to the Melendres trial, the second time Arpaio’s fued with the paper cost taxpayers money. This time to the sum of $70 million.
Michael Lacey founded the New Times in 1970 after dropping out of Arizona State University. Larkin joined him as head of advertising in 1972 after he dropped out of ASU. The fledgling paper under Lacey’s leadership and Larkin’s business skills grew. Finally, it hit the mainstream with the acquisition of Denver independent weekly Westword.
The paper grew into multi-million dollar conglomerate boasting 17 weeklies spanning the U.S. The duo sold the business in 2012. Steadfast advocates for the First Amendment and Human Rights they have both remained very involved with independent journalism. Now in the wake of Arpaio’s recent pardon by President Donald Trump the pair are set to return to the byline.
Front Page Confidential is a website being launched soon Lacey and Larkin, marking their return to journalism. They already have plenty of fodder to focus on with Arpaio’s pardon. The former Sheriff intends to run for public office next, and the duo will be right there to dog every step along the way.