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By: Nick Blumberg on 09/24/2012
The owners of Phoenix-based Village Voice Media are selling their newspaper holdings, but hanging on to a controversial classified website.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were among the original founders of the Phoenix New Times. Over the years, they bought other alternative weeklies across the U.S., including
Lacey and Larkin have also faced controversy. They’ve been in a long-running spat with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. And they’ve come under fire over Backpage.com, a classified ad site foes say promotes prostitution and human sex trafficking.
Now, the two men are selling off their newspapers but retaining ownership of Backpage.com. The papers will be held by a new, Denver-based company called that’s set to be run by Village Voice Media’s current Chief Operating Officer Scott Tobias. Tobias calls Backpage a “distraction.”
Lacey and Larkin say they’re ready to hand off the journalism to a new generation and focus on their classified site.