Editor says police retaliation is behind bust at wife’s spa
The New York Times | Times Union
On March 15, Albany, N.Y., police raided Green Garden Asian Spa and arrested Mia Lin on a misdemeanor prostitution charge. Green Garden, which has now closed, belonged to Bin Cheng, whose husband is J. Robert Port, the investigations editor for the Times Union, Port told The New York Times "he believed that the city’s mayor and local law enforcement agencies targeted his wife’s business in retaliation for critical coverage in his newspaper."
The Albany police chief told the Times Union that the raid was unorthodox; Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said he was "very bothered" about the raid and disbanded the unit that conducted it. "I didn't like the direction the unit was going," he told The Times Union's Brendan J. Lyons.
The Times Union has been publishing stories about that unit, which was headed by Det. John Burke, since last April. From its account:
The Times Union's stories triggered a sheriff's internal investigation into allegations that Burke had purchased at least two departmental vehicles after he traded them in at car dealerships at reduced values. Burke previously acknowledged that he purchased the SUVs but could not recall what he paid for them. In December, sheriff's officials said the internal probe was suspended because departmental records related to the purchases had been lost.
Port, who is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University's journalism school, denied the police report about the raid, during which a detective alleged that Lin touched his genitalia in exchange for money. In the Times, Danny Hakim and Nicholas Confessore write: "Mr. Port denied that account, and said that a police officer 'stripped naked and masturbated in front of' Ms. Lin. He also said Ms. Lin was strip-searched."
“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,” Mr. Port said, adding, “I am enraged, I am angry.”
Times Union Editor Rex Smith told The New York Times that Port's charge of a police plot is an "explosive one, and we wouldn’t put that into print without being pretty confident of our reporting." But the paper's account does not include Port's allegations against police.