New Indiana state senator sued by ex-employer

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A newly elected Indiana state senator is being sued by his stepmother's company over allegations that he misspent about $55,000 on himself.

The lawsuit was filed by All State Manufacturing Co. in a Vigo County court against Republican Jon Ford six days before he won election last week in a Terre Haute-area Senate district, the Tribune-Star reported.

Ford said he didn't know about the lawsuit until a reporter from the newspaper called him Wednesday, and that he and his attorney would need to review it. He said he had disputes over his expenses with the company and his stepmother, company chairwoman Marian Ramsey-Ford, before he was terminated as its chief operating officer in April.

"I know we've had some talks in the past about associated expenses that, after the fact, she didn't like," Ford said.

The lawsuit claims Ford was wrongly paid $56,483 for expenses, including some that were for personal use or with insufficient evidence of business purpose.

Ford was elected to a four-year Senate term with his defeat of Democratic Sen. Tim Skinner, who was seeking his fourth term.

Ford said during his Senate campaign that he owned All State Manufacturing, a Terre Haute-based manufacturer and distributor of metal food service equipment, the newspaper reported. His resume submitted to media during his campaign stated that he was the company's president.

But he later clarified his status as a past president. He said Wednesday that he is still a shareholder and an owner in the company.

The business was founded in 1975 by the father of Marian Ramsey-Ford, who is its majority shareholder. She is the widow of David Ford, Jon Ford's late father.

Ford at first said he left his COO position with the company in April to concentrate on his Senate campaign, but when asked about a segment of the lawsuit that referenced "termination of his employment," he acknowledged that action by company's board of directors.

Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt said his office had received no criminal complaint about Ford from the company and that he didn't know about the lawsuit.

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