A red-faced and angry Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas on Tuesday blasted a local news organization for publishing a story on its Web site that includes links to his home address and information about his family.
KPNX-TV (Channel 12) reporter Brahm Resnik posted a story on azcentral.com discussing how easy it is for the public to find detailed information about public officials, including their home addresses.
Arizona Republic Editor Ward Bushee said the newspaper, which controls the Web site for itself and the TV station, agreed to alter the story following Thomas’ complaints, removing the link to the county’s Web site.
The story played off the controversy last week in which county officials had two New Times executives arrested and jailed for writing about grand jury subpoenas the paper had received requiring it to turn over information on people who had visited its Web site.
In 2004, the paper had done a story questioning Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s real estate investments and included his home address. That information was then — and is now — readily available on public Web sites such as the county recorder’s election Web site.
Resnik pointed out that even though the Phoenix New Times was being pursued criminally for publishing the address, the county sites are apparently not subject to the same criminal charges.
His story provided links to the 2004 campaign finance records that show Thomas’ and Arpaio’s home addresses.
On Friday, Thomas dropped the New Times investigation, saying his special prosecutor had committed “serious missteps.”
Thomas contends that the Channel 12 story went too far and that the records include the names of his wife and four children, ages 3 to 14.
He said he has ordered armed detectives from his office to be placed with his children and escort them to and from school.
The detectives will be paid with public funds, he said, adding that “unfortunately, the taxpayers of Maricopa County are going to have to pay for this.”
He did not say how much the personal protection might cost or how long he intended it to go on.
“Tonight I’m going to have to go home and explain to them why armed men from this office are now going to have to escort them to and from school and be posted in front of our home for the indefinite future,” he said.
In a five-minute news conference that he left after answering only a few questions, Thomas called on the Web site owners to remove the links to the county Web sites.
To see the story in question, visit www.azcentral.com/12news/news/articles/1022sherrif-CR.html .
Capitol Media Services contributed to this report.