Judge dismisses insurance case against John Ford

John Ford gets to keep his insurance license, for now, after a hearing Wednesday morning.

The Commerce Department says Ford should lose his insurance license because he spent campaign funds on his daughter's wedding at the Peabody Hotel, and lied about it on election finance forms.

But a judge dismissed the Department's case against Ford.

Commerce Department attorney John Morris said the State is not backing down. "It's our belief that he violated the law and should have his insurance license disciplined," Morris said, "and it is our intent to begin this again."

The judge said the state should have notified Ford before starting formal proceedings to revoke his license. That notice would have given Ford a less formal chance to keep it.

Drayton Berkley, attorney for Ford, called the ruling a victory. "The state did not comply with certain conditions prior to filing this case against Senator Ford, "he said, "and the judge ruled they didn't comply, so we'll have to start over."

Morris said the Commerce Department intends to send Ford his notice. Meanwhile, the state will decide whether to appeal this dismissal.