Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin have had first-hand experience, and scathing viewpoints to boot, about Joe Arpaio. Arpaio — a controversial and political figure — was once the sheriff of Maricopa County, which is located in Arizona. Joe Arpaio — who was formally verified by U.S. District Judge, Susan R. Bolton as being Presidentially pardoned by Donald Trump in 2017 — had Larkin and Lacey arrested about a decade ago.
Under Lacy and Larkin’s leadership at Phoenix New Times, both men worked to uncover and expose, quite frequently, scandals involving the then Maricopa county sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Some of these investigations by Phoenix New Times helped uncover important abuses. Some of these actions by Joe Arpaio, during his 24-year reign as Maricopa County’s sheriff, were deemed unconstitutional.
Judge Susan Bolton’s ruling brought an end to the final chapter of Sheriff Arpaio’s story — which, almost exactly ten years ago to the day that Arpaio was pardoned — included the arrest of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey (co-owners of Phoenix New Times). Read more: Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase
On the day of October 18, 2007, both Larkin and Lacey were removed from their homes in cuffs by plain clothed, sheriff’s detectives. Both Larkin and Lacey were both charged with misdemeanors, for revealing grand jury secrets that were published in a Phoenix New Times’ article.
The crime that they were noted to have been arrested for, involved an existing order that shields the reputations of those who have accused of a crime, in a court of law.
The arrests of Larkin and Lacey garnered a large public outcry, almost instantly. The level of vitriol over the Larkin and Lacey arrests was felt across all political and cultural lines. No more than 24 hours after Larkin and Lacey were arrested, their legal situation was addressed at a news conference convened by Andrew Thomas, the acting attorney of Maricopa County at the time.
Attorney Thomas averred that the arrests of both Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were improper acts. Attorney Thomas also stated that the case be closed. As a result of the unfounded arrests, both Larkin and Lacey sued. The board of supervisors voted to award a $3.75 million settlement in the latter part of 2013 to Lacey and Larkin.
The $3.75 settlement that was voted on by the board of supervisors, was deemed a minuscule number, compared to the lawsuit, Melendes v. Arpaio. The Melendes v. Arpaio case has been noted to have cost Maricopa County residents, $70 million, as of the November, 2017, totals.
Once dropouts of Arizona State University, Lacy and Larkin made good at their campus paper – born out of the rage over the Kent State University killings – by turning it into a coast-to-coast franchise.
With Larkin as CEO, and Lacy as the executive director, both men worked out a deal to sell off the franchise to Voice Media Group in 2013. At its peak, Village Voice Media consisted of 17 publications.