UPDATED: Joe Ford appears in court on theft charge

Joe Ford (Source: ShelbySheriff.org)
Joe Ford (Source: ShelbySheriff.org)

(WMC-TV) - Former Memphis City Council member and one-time interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford appeared in court Wednesday to answer to a theft charge.

According to a Memphis police report, the charge stems from a purchase Ford made at Las Savell Jewelry on McLean last Christmas Eve.

That day, the late Las Savell sold Ford two Rolex watches worth more than $5,000, and accepted a check as a payment. Ford asked Savell not to cash the check until January 10.

When Savell attempted to cash the check on January 18, and again on January 21, it was returned for non-sufficient funds.

Savell died on August 7th, but according to an affidavit of complaint, his jewelry store was trying track down Ford long before.

In the months that followed the bad check, a Savell representative called Ford seven times, and sent him two collection letters.  Additionally, Ford was contacted twice - in June and September - by a Memphis police investigator. Each time, the affidavit says, Ford "assured that he would pay" but "did not show."

Wednesday, Ford's attorney, Art Horne, responded.

"If you look at the affidavit, you only get one side of the story," he said. "I think once people understand the full story, we'll get the case resolved."

Joe Ford and Las Savell had a history that extended long before 2010. On December 23, 2003, Ford bought a Rolex watch from Savell's store.  By late April of the next year, Savell had taken Ford to General Sessions court, suing him for the $9,300 balance owed on the watch.

By July of that year, they had settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

"I'm not here to comment on his past behavior," Horne said. "We just want to get this case behind us so he can get back to serving the citizens of Memphis and the people of this community."

Ford's initial appearance in General Sessions Criminal Court lasted 57 seconds. He's due back in two weeks.

Late Wednesday, Ford paid for the two Rolex watches.

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