Intimidating the press and seeking information about subscribers is crossing the line. New Times' founders knew and understood that an unshackled fourth estate is one means by which our freedoms are preserved. The press often exposes corruption and self-serving individuals seeking power over the people.

As captain of his ship, Andrew Thomas is responsible for this [intimidation].

It appears that a siege mentality, coupled with finding a sacrificial lamb, brought termination of his assistant with the public announcement: "It has become clear to me the investigation has gone in a direction I would not have authorized." As a political individual, he should have known that investigating the press, even to help a friend [Joe Arpaio], is like carrying a lighted candle in the same hand with a fuse to a stick of dynamite.

A complaint has been filed against Thomas with the Arizona Bar Association. Does Thomas know the purpose of government? To protect, yes, but there is a much higher calling. The Arizona Constitution states: "All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights."

Is Andrew Thomas following the Constitution to protect and maintain individual rights? As citizens, we should keep that question in mind and then send our response as we drop our ballots in boxes in the next general election.
Kenneth J. Bond, Mesa

Something to hide? Hell, yes: You bet the Sheriff's Department and Andrew Thomas' office want to sweep this under the rug as fast as possible. Quick, blame somebody other than Joe Arpaio.

Remember, this whole thing started as an attempt by Arpaio to cover up his land dealings. I searched and easily found his real estate disclosures and addresses on the Internet. These documents state that, in 2003 to 2004, he had zero debts and had received no gifts. His personal holdings include three commercial properties near the corner of Shea Boulevard and Scottsdale Road — 10,000 square feet of office space, plus another 6,000 square feet in Fountain Hills.

I used Google Maps to get the real view of his Fountain Hills home. It's huge, in a very exclusive neighborhood, on the top of a ridge overlooking Fountain Lake to the front, and open to reservation land via a huge backyard. Probably a 5,000- to 6,000-square-foot, one-story house. If you add up the value of all this — home plus commercial property — you can easily get past a few million bucks. He was not required to list any additional residential or vacation homes.

His commercial office in Fountain Hills was purchased in 2003. His house looks new, with many vacant lots nearby. Paid with cash! He makes about $78,000 a year. Do the math, folks. Lots of people have been investigated by the IRS on less info than this.

Joe and his wife, Ava, do business under the names Starworld Travel and Ava Investment. So who knows anything about those companies? Since the Internet, travel agencies have been losing money, yet this one stays afloat and pays them money.

Guess what, folks, [the companies] have no Web site. Starworld doesn't show up very much on the Internet. Starworld does show up as one of about 60 sponsors of the Grand Canyon State Games ( Starworld looks like the only sponsor of about 60 that does not even have a logo. Is this a real business?

Does Arpaio have something to hide?
Name withheld by request

Puzzling relationships at work: I'm interested in the dynamics of the relationships among Andrew Thomas, Larry Turoff, and his wife, [political operative] Carol Turoff, and Dennis Wilenchik. I am very intrigued by the idea that Carol would call the judge to request a private meeting between the judge and Wilenchik just because . . .

Wilenchik alleges that he was not wanting to meet about the New Times case, just about the relationship between the County Attorney's Office and the courts, in general. I would think such a request would have been initiated by Denny himself if it's so benign. Did Carol suddenly read his mind and then put her own twist on it? Very puzzling!

Who owns the vending machines and the telephones at the county jails, and how much money is made by the county and by the owners from the revenues of said vending machines and telephones? There has been a ridiculous rumor going around that the Arpaio family profits from them, and since he's such a stand-up guy, I can't possibly believe it to be true. It would just seem so directly in conflict with the best interest of his arrests and incarceration record if he could be deemed to profit from having people locked up.

Please consider these suggestions for future articles.
Liz Fournier, via the Internet

Guts and dedication: Thank you for doing what's right, and printing true stories as they unfold. It takes guts and dedication to keep the public informed. What the Sheriff's Office did — arresting Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin — was criminal. Arpaio's tactics are Hitler-like.

He tries to keep people afraid of speaking up and telling the truth. He no doubt abuses his authority. I know in time he will be a member of his own Tent City. Please don't let this bully intimidate your staff.

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Eric Payne
Eric Payne

As a former newspaper reporter, I'm simply dumbfounded at the more than heavy-handed shenanigans of Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe, not just at their dealings with the "New Times," but at just what they consider "business as usual." How did they think they could ever get away with such manuevering?

Of course, in the national overall climate set by both the Federal Administration and the media over the last 6 years, I really shouldn't be.

Judith Miller "goes to jail" to protect her sources and freedom of the press from judicial interference, only to have it revealed later she willingly volunteered to become a journalistic stooge for the Administration, so that precedent could be set for the government to subpoena, and expose, "confidential sources."

FEMA holds press conferences that are completely fraudulent, merely to boost its own public image.

A male prostitute is given a bogus identity and credentials by the White House Press Office, and given access over real, established journalists, so that he can lob soft questions, and partisan innuendo, at press conferences.

The media's not free of blame, either. How is any of the following possible:

In the run-up to the 2000 election, the overwhelming attitude of the press seems to have been: "This guy's just too stupid to be elected." In the week prior to the election, what would have been a front page story for any other candidate - the history of a drunken driving arrest, and seeming favoritism shown in sentencing to Bush - doesn't even make the front page?

Using the media, a draft-dodging Executive Branch, which is making war an election issue, manages to subvert a combat veteran through innuendo?

Walden O'Dell, Chief Executive Officer of Diebold, who lives in Ohio, and manufactures the electronic voting machines used nationwide, publicly states he "will do everything in (his) power" to ensure Bush's re-election, then the media simply lets it go when Ohio poll numbers vs. registered voters by party alliance are completely skewed (thousands of more votes cast, for Republicans, than are registered Republicans in the state.. as well as thousands of more votes cast than are simply registered voters in the state)?

Despite decades of being there is a fail-safe system in place to ensure nuclear weapons cannot be used without Presidential authority, a plane full of nuclear weapons are "accidentally" loaded, and on their way to Iraq, before being recalled?

Not to mention Blackwater, no-bid contracts, energy policy being formed by oil company executives... all without hard scrutiny by the press.

Locally, Sheriff Joe has acquired, without accumulating any debt, properties for which he paid, in cash, almost three times his annual salary, and the media - save for your publication - don't seem to be the slightest bit interested.

The Sheriff openly violates laws concerning the dissemination of press releases and public information, even acknowledging his violations, but using as an excuse he "doesn't think" the publications being shunted aside are "real newspapers"?

Gee, I guess the real question should be: "How come they didn't get away with it?"

And that answer is simple. Because Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin looked them in the eye, figuratively speaking, and said: "Fuck you, assholes."

For six years, I've been wondering where the newspaper reporters were - not journalists, looking for the next prize and arguing with their publishers about font size on their byline - but newspaper reporters.

I know where two of them are, now. It is my sincere wish the Cronkite School of Journalism commemorates, in some fashion, the actions of Lacey and Larkin.


Eric PayneGlendale, AZ


Having recently moved from the Dust Bowl, I am relieved to know that there are placed in this country that are safe, more free of crime and do not have people in law enforcement that crave for attention like the Sheriff and Andy Thomas. Nickel Bag Joe, thats what you are - a nickel bag. You sound more and more like a racist windbag by claiming you are going after the source of all the crime in Maricopa county. Get real and do your job. Go after the true criminals in the county that commit the serious crimes, like drive by shootings, gang related activities, home invasions etc. The simple man on the street trying to survive is not the hardened criminal you want us to believe. You need to retire to SUN CITY with all the other OLD out of touch people and just wither away.

Candy Andy, I want to know where your lollipop is? When you come out and state that you did not know what was happening within your department, it shows that you are not the leader you claim to me. How did you ever get where you are? Are you a spitter or a swallower? I would venture to guess the latter, because of the position you are in. Why was you office demanding so much information from this newpaper, but yet when it came to releasing the grand jury proceedings, you have not released any information written (electronic or otherwise) which would show the fine people why you were so determined to go after this newspaper.

My other though in this is a bit demented, by was Dennis in the middle between you Candy Andy and Nickel Bag? If so, isn't that a lewd act that is against the law? Realize you bit off more then you could chew and now you have an uprising. Are your goons now going to come after us and bust our heads every time they stop us? You all need to really look at your position, and ask if the public has the confidence that you can continue to do your jobs, and realize that it would do everyone including yourself to own up to all these transgressions and RESIGN. Your egos are not what is needed now!!!


When Larkin and Lacey were arrested, I could swear I read a quote in AZCentral from either Wilenchik or Thomas, which referenced Mike Nifong. The gist of the quote was, "If you don't like what I'm doing, there is a process you can pursue--just ask Mike Nifong." Well, it looks like bringing up the spectre of the disgraced Duke prosecutor may prove prophetic! I hope so...

mikel weisser
mikel weisser

Congratulations on the victory for the public's press and against the creeping constriction of freedom in general. The structure that once was "our" government has turned against the ideas of freedom of speech and the information for American people and the American press. Though there is no clear link to the war on terror this could have been another excuse to further limit all American liberty. Your victory is a victory for us all.

mikel weisser

Dave Drost
Dave Drost

when did the constitution get ammended to NOT allow free speech? Andrew Thomas should leave office and pay back the $ 1 mil he misused.

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