MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – A distributor of the Hudson Valley Reporter was arrested on Friday morning after a rival newspaper said it caught him swapping out copies of the two publications.
Jim Palmer, the Mount Kisco village manager, confirmed that Michael Espinoza was arrested at approximately 6 a.m. and charged with criminal tampering.
Adam Stone, the publisher of The Examiner, said a private investigator hired by the newspaper saw the distributor removing newspapers from The Examiner's green display box outside of the Coach Diner in Mount Kisco and replacing them with copies of the Hudson Valley Reporter.
According to Stone, this has been an ongoing issue for several weeks. The problems have been so frequent that his company went so far as to obtain a restraining order against the Hudson Valley Reporter and publisher Faith Butcher to prevent interference with delivery, he said.
The court document orders Butcher and members of the Hudson Valley Reporter “to not interfere in any way with (The Examiner’s) green publication distribution boxes,” which includes adding or removing any papers from them. On Friday morning, Stone said, the private investigator filmed Espinoza doing just that, which helped lead to his arrest.
Butcher forwarded all inquiries to her lawyer, Raymond Cote, based in Carmel. Cote said it was too early in the process to comment on the ongoing investigations, adding that he hadn’t had time to meet with Espinoza.
Stone said he is also pursuing harassment charges against Butcher. Stone noted that this was not the first time the two had clashed.
“If we knew when it was happening and could send a private investigator at the right time, it clearly wasn’t an isolated incident,” he said. “This has been happening for the last three weeks.”
Stone added that this is not the type of behavior that behooves a community journalist.
“Newspaper people are supposed to at least try to hold themselves to a higher standard,” he said. “To engage in such low-class behavior seems to contradict everything most people in local community journalism try to be about.”