May 13, 2007


A Memphis political dynasty wanes: The Ford family has held elected office for two generations now. Their scandal-plagued era may be ending. (Jenny Jarvie, May 13, 2007, LA Times)

The 65th birthday of former state Sen. John Ford was yet another bad day for the Fords of Memphis.

The 31-year Democratic legislator marked the May 3 milestone in a Nashville court, scheduling a trial date with federal prosecutors who have charged him with concealing $800,000 in kickbacks from state contractors.

Less than a week earlier, a Memphis jury found him guilty of taking $55,000 in cash bribes, a conviction that carries a prison sentence of at least three years and 10 months.

John Ford's conviction represents the most significant smear thus far on a family that has been dogged by scandal for years. In the wake of several election setbacks last year for a younger generation of Fords, his troubles might serve as a coda to a decades-long political tale.

"The Ford political machine is coming to an end, and sometimes the end isn't as pretty as the beginning," said Larry Moore, a business law professor at the University of Memphis who has known the Fords for years.

If Harold Jr. were to switch to the GOP this would just be the beginning.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 13, 2007 12:00 AM
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