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Portage mayor arrested on warrant for failure to pay outstanding court fines PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Friday, 25 September 2009 11:30
Wolford_storyPORTAGE - The village mayor took an unexpected trip downtown Thursday after failing to pay fines for old health code violations.
The Wood County Sheriff's Office served a warrant Thursday evening on Mayor Mark Wolford, who was previously taken to court by the Wood County Health Department in 2008 and had failed to pay the resulting court fines. (Photo: File photo. Mayor Mark Wolford. (Photo: Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune))
Deputies arrested Wolford at about 7 p.m. and took him to Bowling Green Police Division, where he paid an $870 bond.
The mayor confirmed this morning that deputies picked him up from a bowling alley and he was released after he paid the bond amount. Wolford said he was busy with village business and just continued to forget about the fines until the warrant was issued.
"Every time I remember it, it's after the courthouse was closed and I couldn't go pay it," he said.
The fines stem from violations that the health department identified in 2007 at Wolford's Main Street residence. Brad Espen, director of environmental services at the health department, and Tom Rutter, a sanitarian who inspected the yard, said this morning that "exterior sanitation issues" were found on the property.
Specifically, the mayor had been collecting scrap metal and other items in the yard for recycling. This had been an ongoing issue, according to the health department.
The department was alerted to the situation through some complaints.
Wolford said when the market was better months ago, he used to pick up materials from the nearby Arlington Woods community and transport them to a recycling center when he had accumulated enough scrap. Wolford said he was also in the process of constructing a building in the yard.
"It all boiled down to - in my opinion, I was targeted by someone who didn't like me, complaining because I have nothing different in my yard" than other homes in the neighborhood, said Wolford, a former councilman who became mayor in September last year.
He said other "silly things" that put him afoul of health codes were wicker chairs with cushions on the front porch and bags of aluminum cans. He said other yards in town hold scaffolding, barrels and other objects.
The mayor said he has nothing to hide. He said his yard has since been cleaned and that the issue is now resolved.
Last Updated on Friday, 25 September 2009 12:31

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