The Porn Star Next Door

Wendy Iwanow says she just wanted to help revitalize her new home. So why did her neighbors run her out of town?

"I'm grateful to the Stubbses. I'd probably be out on the street if they hadn't let me move in here," says Ulmer, who says she is again receiving Section 8 assistance.

Iwanow believes that in Ulmer, the Stubbses found a ready ally, someone willing to be louder and angrier than they were. "When [Ulmer] would scream at me, I'd scream right back," says Iwanow, who believes that Ulmer often watched and waited for her to leave the house. "When she'd start yelling at me, I'd tell her to get a job and get something better to do. She'd yell back, 'Well, you suck dick for money.' I'd scream back, 'Yeah, well, the money I make sucking dick helps pay for your Section 8 housing. You should be patting me on the back.'"

Ulmer, a black woman with a fountain of orange curls trailing off her head, acknowledges that she was quickly drawn into the dispute. But she insists that she didn't watch and wait for Iwanow, though she admits to yelling. "Yeah, I taunted her," Ulmer says. "Once we found out she was a porn star, I'd use that just to get under her skin. I'd yell, 'You're just a porn-star slut,' and she'd yell back, 'Yeah, well, you're just a welfare mother.'"

Colby Katz
Iwanow hopes to spend more time working in the garden (above) after leaving a career in porn behind (inset pictures)
Iwanow hopes to spend more time working in the garden (above) after leaving a career in porn behind (inset pictures)

All of these former neighbors agree that as the dispute between them escalated, the bad blood seeped into every area of their lives. Reached by telephone at his Lake Worth home, Iwanow's former boyfriend Ochs mostly corroborates his ex's story, though he says they haven't spoken in months. "They taunted her," he says, "but it wasn't like they were the enemy and she was innocent Wendy. She's very evil. She practices witchcraft, and she's got a pentagram tattooed on the back of her neck."

One day, Iwanow came home and found her Lexus covered in white latex paint, so she filed a police report. On another day the Stubbses say they came home and found fish grease on their house, so they filed a police report. Iwanow found a statue of Jesus on her car; the Stubbses found a voodoo doll and candles on their retaining wall. Back and forth, the neighbors squabbled with each other, always calling the police and filing reports, a total of 141 times.

Iwanow says that she and her boyfriend took to playing poker with the card-sized incident reports that the officers left behind. "We were like, 'I'll give you three 'criminal mischiefs' for your one 'armed home invasion,'" she says, referring to the time that three men wearing ski masks robbed them and their guests during a cocktail party. One of the men had a 9mm handgun and used it to relieve Iwanow's guests of some $330. But when the men sent Iwanow upstairs to get more money, according to police reports, she came down pumping a 12-gauge shotgun and chased the men out of the house and down the street.

In all, Iwanow says her house was broken into four times. Her car had paint thrown on it twice, was badly keyed once, and had the rear window smashed out once. Sometimes friends who left their cars parked at Iwanow's house would return to find them vandalized.

Ulmer believes that Iwanow brought many of the neighborhood problems on herself. "If I hated white people, I wouldn't move into a white neighborhood," Ulmer says. "The kids in the neighborhood, they were the ones dumping the paint on her car and all that. But they did it because she'd yell 'Stay away from my house, you little niggers' at them when they walked by her house on their way home from school." Ulmer insists that she and the Stubbses were never directly involved in the vandalism that occurred at Iwanow's house. "But if that lady had come within two feet of my house," Ulmer says, "I would have done something bad to her, and I would have been willing to do the time for it."

To Iwanow, comments like these are not surprising. "Every conversation I had with [Ulmer] began and ended with 'cracker,'" Iwanow says. "With [Ulmer], everything is racial, racial, racial. They were here first, it's their neighborhood, and they want it to stay like it is. No one can tell them otherwise."

The neighborhood dispute reached a climax on October 6, 2001. That Saturday afternoon, Iwanow returned home from garage-sale shopping to find that her Lexus was again covered in white latex paint. This time, she says, she'd had enough and went into her house, grabbed a gallon of her own white paint, and flung it all over one side of the Stubbses' house. Half an hour later, when Cynthia Stubbs came home, Iwanow was still outside washing the paint off her car. "It was an all-out war," Iwanow says. "Cynthia was trying to climb over the fence to get at me, and I was spraying her with the hose. I wanted her to fall off that fence. The cops got there while I was hosing her down." After another incident report was filed, a calm fell over the neighborhood for the remainder of that day.

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