In mid-March, Albany police raided a spa owned by the wife of Albany Times Union investigations editor J. Robert Port, who had been directing his paper’s coverage of the sheriff’s department’s use of criminal forfeiture funds, including purchasing take-home vehicles for investigators. (The unit was eventually shut down by the sheriff.)
Port tells the New York Times he believes his wife’s business was targeted in retaliation for those stories.
“Obviously I have pissed some people off enough to the point where they would send in jackbooted thug police officers to do an anal search on someone I believe they thought was my wife,” says the investigations editor. “I am enraged, I am angry.”
The Times Union didn’t run a story about the March 15 raid until Thursday night, when it knew the New York Times was about to publish its piece.
Editor Rex Smith explains why: “Applying the same standards to our staff and family as we would to anybody else, we concluded that it would be inappropriate” to report the raid. “We think there’s a broader story here. We don’t have all the facts we need to publish the full story yet and I suspect The New York Times doesn’t, either.”
The sheriff now says he’s going to conduct an investigation of the raid.