SEMINOLE — A court has banned City Council candidate Arden Ford from contacting his ex-wife because of fears he might harm her.
Ford says he never harmed his ex-wife. Instead, he said, he yelled at her when she left him with the burdens and debts of A-1 Auto Service to go with another man. It was her boyfriend's idea to get the injunction, he said.
"I got really mad at her and yelled at her," Ford said. "That's all I did, yell at her. (There was) no physical contact. Never was. Never has been."
Ford, 70, ran for the Seminole council in 2007 but withdrew from the race citing family and business issues. He and his wife, Sherry Landon Ford, were divorced in June 2008.
Two months before the divorce, his then-wife, who now goes by her maiden name, Sherry Lee Landon, asked for the court's protection. In granting it, the court found that Landon "is a victim of domestic violence or has reasonable cause to believe that he/she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence" by Ford.
The court ordered Ford to refrain from violence against Landon and banned him from contacting her. The court order also said Ford should stay at least 500 feet away from Landon's home and should not come within 100 feet of her automobile. It also ordered Ford to turn over any firearms and ammunition to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
The injunction remains in effect through April 29.
Ford is one of seven candidates running for two open seats on the Seminole council in Tuesday's election. The two top vote-getters will be elected.
The other candidates are incumbent Thom Barnhorn, business owner Randall Hendricks and James Quinn, president of the Seminole Gardens Co-op Apartment complex men's club. Also running are political newcomers Bill Smith, an employee at Progress Energy, and Christopher Burke, a Largo police officer. The seventh candidate is Tom Christy, a former member of the Tonawanda, N.Y., City Council.
Seminole has a council-manager form of government. The seven-member council, which includes the mayor, is responsible for policy issues and passing the budget. The six council members earn $5,562 each year and serve three-year terms.
The polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Reach Anne Lindberg at email@example.com or (727) 893-8450.