Michael Lacey is the son of Newark, NJ construction worker. He didn’t grow up with all the latest amenities, but that didn’t stop him from striving for greatness. If anything, it made him hungry for change, which is what he hoped to achieve by attending Arizona State University.
He started school in the late 60s but by the early 70s, he’d dropped out. 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/jim-larkin/
In Arizona, the media’s coverage of campus antiwar protests was ultra-conservative. He and some other students joined up and created their own weekly paper that covered the other side of the argument.
Their paper was called Phoenix New Times, which is still around today. Their first issue came out in the 70s, right before Lacey dropped out. By 1972, Lacey met Jim Larkin, another college drop out. Together, they formed one of the best media teams the industry has ever seen.
Lacey handled all the editing while Larkin handled advertising. Before long, the weekly grew into a region paper that explored social and political issues without bias. They also began exploring other subjects as their paper gained prominence on a national level.
By the early 80s, New Times was beginning to branch out into other states. In 1983, they acquired a fellow like-minded paper from Denver, Westword. They eventually acquired LA Weekly, Miami New Times, and Village Voice from the NYC. Their new company, Village Voice Media, is one of the most recognized companies in the industry. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://frontpageconfidential.com/michael-lacey-jim-larkin-arpaio-frontera-fund-first-amendment/
In 2012, they sold the company shortly before receiving a $3.75 million settlement from Maricopa County. The sale of VVM and their settlement had nothing to do with each other. They felt ready to move on from VVM and wanted to focus on leading their Frontera Fund.
After decades of reporting on atrocities and abuses, they wanted to do more than just write about it. What really sparked their interest in philanthropy was dealing with Maricopa County’s corrupt sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Sheriff Arpaio is, by far, one of the worst people they’ve ever dealt with.
Back in the late 2000s, New Times began writing stories about Sheriff Arpaio’s activities. He wasn’t just a bad man; he was a bad sheriff. He couldn’t even properly manage his own sheriff’s office. Not to mention, he spent most of his time persecuting and abusing local Latinos.