In October of 2017, President Donald Trump pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Susan R. Bolton, U.S. District Judge validated the process, and Arpaio walked free. Many saw this event coming. Arpaio’s tenure as Sheriff contained much controversy, with many crying scandal across his 24-year rule. Two such people were Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, co-founders of Phoenix New Times.
Both Lacey and Larkin became dogged pursuers of Arpaio during his tenure, relentlessly calling the sheriff on the carpet and exposing many scandals. Many have frowned upon Arpaio’s questionable treatment of the Latin community, especially in the field of illegal immigration, and the duo play vital parts in his fall from grace. Being outspoken as they are, both Lacey and Larkin had choice words to say about Arpaio’s pardon
Michael Lacey believes the pardon was an act of corruption. In a statement he marked the negative aspects of Arpaio’s six terms, communicating his displeasure with Arpaio, the system, and the president himself. A dropout from Arizona State University, Lacey became the executive editor of the Phoenix New Times in 1970. Read more:Village Voice Media | Wikipedia and Jim Larkin | Angel.co
The paper was a response to the conservative media that existed on campus, and their coverage of anti-war protests for Vietnam. Lacey and fellow students used the paper to print the other side of the story, to focus on the unrest and stand up for the 1st amendment.
The New Times has existed as an alternative news source ever since. Lacey would gain a business partner in Jim Larkin a few years later, and his inclusion would ultimately take the business to the next level.
Jim Larkin is also an ASU dropout. He joined the New Times in 1972. His knack for advertising helped the fledgling paper stay afloat, and his business sense eventually led to his position as CEO of the duo’s coast-to-coast chain of alternative papers.
Displeased with Arpaio’s pardon Larkin also made a statement calling the former Sheriff an antecedent to Trump. He went on to state that he had zero respect for the man in every category save his political insight, which allowed him to work the system to a full pardon.
Arpaio arrested and jailed Larkin and Lacey on October 18, 2007, following a story that revealed subpoenas targeting the writers and staff of the New Times were issued by a grand jury. The resounding public outcry from numerous supporters led to the subpoenas thrown out, and both Larkin and Lacey being released in 24 hrs.
The duo sued Maricopa County for wrongful arrest, leading to a $3.75 million dollar settlement, which they have since used to create the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund. The fund, founded in 2014, assists Latin groups throughout Arizona by distributing the settlement money from their case.
In the wake of the pardon, which they see as nothing but political maneuver, both Larkin and Lacey hope the decision will come back to haunt the president. Just like their fund continues to haunt Arpaio.
Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: