When will Ortega meet RICO?

The Village Voice was having problems. The paper had just yet another round of layoffs as part of a nationwide cull by its parent company. Its future prospects were looking so dim, the Voice began to rely almost exclusively on sex and drug ads to stay solvent. It was so desperate for revenue that it had just filed a lawsuit against Time Out NY for using the phrase “Best in NYC.”

Long gone were the legitimate advertisers who had kept the paper profitable since its inception. By the time James Larkin, Michael Lacey and Tony Ortega took the helm it had already become a free give away paper. And still people weren’t reading it.

It was against this backdrop of looming financial disaster that investors Larkin and Lacey hatched a plan with editor-in-chief Tony Ortega to launch an international sex trafficking syndicate using the Village Voice as a front. The profits generated from the sex trade could be used to keep them in business, provided they disguised their prostitution syndicate beneath a paper thin veneer of ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘constitutional rights’.

Lacey and Larkin, who owned the Backpage trademark attached “Backpage” online sex trafficking site to the Village Voice.  They then linked “Big City”, another sex trafficking site they owned, covertly, into the back door of Backpage. It was a move that had more than a whiff of racketeering about it.

In fact, it was to be these very RICO Laws (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970) that would play a major role in the federal seizure of the backpage.com domain earlier this year and its prosecution of the racketeering activity performed as part of Larkin and Lacy’s ongoing criminal enterprise. An enterprise overseen, and defended, by Tony Ortega who once smugly bragged, “The people I work for were smart enough to start Backpage.com.”

How smug will Ortega be when the Feds come knocking on his door with their RICO Warrants? His blog as been oddly silent on the topic since the Backpage website was raided. What’s he hiding?

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