In response to President Donald Trump’s recent pardon of Joe Arpaio, the controversial ex-Sheriff of Maricopa County, the former heads of the Phoenix New Times, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, recently spoke out admonishing the decision. This proves to be a continuation of the longstanding feud between “America’s Toughest Sheriff” and the newspapermen.
It was ten years ago this fall that Sheriff Joe Arpaio had Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey arrested at their homes in response to a release of information in the Phoenix New Times regarding a grand jury that was said to be investigating them. When speaking with the media, Jim Larkin unleashed a furious take on President Trump’s decision, labeling it the “perfect marriage of two corrupt individuals.”
Over the course of his 24 year reign, Joe Arpaio initiated or participated in a number of horrific incidents and human rights violations, including implementing the infamous “tent city,” which he referred to as a concentration camp, as well as the misappropriation of over $100 million in funds, and the harassment of countless Latino men and women, which ultimately led to the $70 million Melendres v. Arpaio class action lawsuit.
Jim and Michael clashed with Sheriff Joe Arpaio on a number of occasions throughout his career due to their exposure of his crimes in their Phoenix New Times newspaper. During his final run for reelection, Joe Arpaio was unsuccessful, and it is speculated, that due to his acknowledgement that the end was near, he endorsed Donald Trump during his candidacy; a move that was thought to be foolish due to the fact that he was not considered to be a real contender, but one that ultimately paid dividends for the former Sheriff of Maricopa County.
Jim Larkin, when speaking to the media, discussed the fact that he always knew that he and Michael Lacey’s battle with Joe Arpaio would escalate to a level exceeding a simple back and forth due to the fact that their reporting made them a “constant thorn in his side.”
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey started the Phoenix New Times in 1970 in response to the Kent State Killings, as well as the overall conservative nature of the reporting found in the major news outlets of the time.
At the time of the inaugural issue, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey had already dropped out from Arizona State University, and with Jim Larking acting as Chief Executive Officer, and Michael Lacey acting as executive editor, they quickly began building their Phoenix New Times brand, eventually expanding to a massive 17 publications that would stretch from coast to coast in the United States.
In 2013, after a legal battle with Maricopa County that spanned several years, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey won their lawsuit and were ultimately paid $3.75 million; the proceeds of which they used to create the Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey Frontera Fund.
Today, the duo has moved on from the massive empire they built with the New Times, and have begun focusing their efforts on their new publication entitled Front Page Confidential.