Well-known local land developer J.D. Porter of the Porter Family Trust, which is developing the Wiregrass Ranch Development of Regional Impact (DRI) in Wesley Chapel, was arrested on domestic violence charges on July 4.
According to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), deputies arrested and charged developer James Don (J.D.) Porter, Jr., with felony criminal mischief and misdemeanor domestic battery after an incident at his home in the Farmington Hills community of Dade City.
The report says that Porter, 33, and his girlfriend, Maridy Gregory, 30, had been out for drinks at the Shops at Wiregrass Mall on July 3, but had returned to Porter’s Dade City home. After Porter fell asleep on the porch, the report says, Gregory found a text message from another woman, smashed the phone where he was sleeping and confronted Porter about the situation at around 2:30 a.m. July 4.
The report says that Gregory told PCSO deputies that Porter followed and pushed her as she attempted to leave, spit in her face and threw chewing tobacco on her. She went back into the house, grabbed some clothes and went back to her car. Porter then grabbed a pile of her clothes and set them on fire in the driveway.
Gregory told deputies that she left, but returned to Porter’s residence because she had been drinking. He confronted her in front of his home and held her against her car after spitting on her again, the report says.
After he released her, Gregory decided to leave. While she was pulling out, the report says that Porter picked up a barrel from his yard and smashed the back windshield of her Mercedes C300, causing $1,000 worth of damage. She drove to Porter’s father’s home inside the same community and called PCSO.
The report says that deputies responded to Porter’s home and found evidence of chewing tobacco on the driveway, along with a barrel fitting Gregory’s description in his garage and what appeared to be a burnt pile of clothes in the driveway.
The PCSO report also says that in an interview with Porter at his home, he said that what he threw at Gregory’s vehicle was a water bottle and that he didn’t mean to damage it. When asked how a water bottle could inflict so much damage, he responded that it was a “big water bottle.”
Porter was taken into custody around 5 a.m. and transported to the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center. He was released on July 5 on $6,500 bond. Porter had not returned phone calls for comment at our press time.