Politics & Government

His ex-wife said he was incompetent. Now, he wants voters to fire her and elect him.

Retired Broward County Clerk of the Court Howard Forman conducts a mass wedding at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Jan. 6, 2015. Forman is running to return to his old position against his ex-wife and current clerk Brenda Forman.
Retired Broward County Clerk of the Court Howard Forman conducts a mass wedding at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Jan. 6, 2015. Forman is running to return to his old position against his ex-wife and current clerk Brenda Forman. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Two years after he filed to divorce his spouse and she filed to have him declared legally incompetent, retired Broward County clerk Howard C. Forman has submitted some new paperwork that should resurrect the conflict in one of South Florida’s most dysfunctional political relationships: campaign papers.

Howard Forman on Tuesday opened a campaign account to run again for county clerk in 2020, creating the most awkward of match-ups with current clerk and ex-wife Brenda Forman. The couple divorced last year, ending a five-year marriage and relationship that began when Brenda Forman was working at the clerk’s office and Howard Forman was the elected clerk.

In an interview, Howard Forman said he simply wants to reclaim his old job and isn’t running for personal reasons. Brenda Forman, 60, did not respond to an email or to phone calls and voice messages.

“Well, it’s not personal on my part, that’s the truth,” said Howard Forman, 73. “We’ve been divorced for a while now. She can run, and I can run and anybody else who wants to can run. It’s up to voters in the end.”

Public reports about their separation and ensuing legal battles show that the relationship — a third marriage for both — devolved into animosity around the time that Howard Forman retired and his spouse took over the job he held for 16 years.

The Sun Sentinel, which first reported the 2020 looming match-up over the $170,000-a-year position, documented a series of 2017 court proceedings and police reports in which Howard Forman called his ex-wife aggressive and she argued that he was suffering early-onset dementia.

Brenda Forman’s petition for guardianship was rejected in January 2018 and Howard Forman was found to be in full capacity, according to the court docket.

“I never believed in what she said and that’s why I went to court against her. I’m in good health. I feel great,” he said.

He said their legal issues are mostly resolved save a case that remains active before the 4th District Court of Appeal.

Forman said he wants to regain his old job because “it was once a very proud office and I’d like to make it that again,” although he declined to criticize his ex-wife’s job performance.

“I’m sure she’ll have an opportunity to explain herself,” he said. “I can only talk about myself.”

Michael Francis is also a candidate in the race. All three are registered Democrats.

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