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?

Iwanow decided to eat dinner out that evening, to relax and calm her nerves. As she drove home, Iwanow received a call on her cell phone from neighbor Kim Turner, who suggested that she park in Turner's driveway that night. Considering the events of the day, it seemed like a good idea. Iwanow stopped in front of Turner's house to open the gate.

"The next thing I know, [Ulmer] was yanking me out of the driver's side of the car," says Iwanow, who believes 15 to 20 people were standing in the street around the car.

"Cynthia's son hit me in the face with a metal pipe or a crowbar," Iwanow says. "I don't know if I went unconscious or not, but I ended up on the ground by the car." Iwanow was, however, able to get back into the car and pull it through the gates and up Turner's driveway, badly scratching it on the gate as she drove. Iwanow says that Kim Turner, responding to her dogs barking, came outside to see what was happening. She walked into the crowd, where she was punched and slapped several times before West Palm Beach Police and an ambulance arrived. Iwanow was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

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)

Turner, who was not seriously injured, declined treatment. Iwanow suffered a black eye and a concussion. But when detectives arrived in the morning to talk to everyone involved, the stories each of them told differed so much that detectives decided none of them was credible, Iwanow says. No one was ever charged with any crime stemming from that night's events. Last year, Iwanow put the City of West Palm Beach on notice that she plans to sue for its failure to protect her, but since the mandatory six-month waiting period passed in December, making Iwanow free to sue, no suit has been filed.

Her attorney, Barry Silver, says the case is on hold. "It seems to me like [Iwanow] was trying to make the community better," he says, "and for her efforts, she was subjected to harassment and violence." Silver says he and Iwanow decided to file the notice because they believe that police may have decided not to investigate the assault because of Iwanow's porn career. "If that's the case, it's flat-out wrong," Silver says. "Everyone in this country is entitled to the same protections. Every person should be protected by the police, regardless of who the victim is or what she does for a living."

On October 23, 2001, two and a half weeks after the street fight, a judge granted Iwanow temporary restraining orders against Ulmer and Fred and Cynthia Stubbs. In July 2002, Ulmer was arrested for violating the order after Iwanow told police she verbally assaulted her. But in November 2002, the state attorney dropped the charges against Ulmer when Iwanow did not appear in court. Now Ulmer says she wants to sue Iwanow, Kim Turner, and the West Palm Beach Police Department for falsely arresting her. "I'm going to make sure they pay for what they did to me," Ulmer says. "I'm not going to hurt them, but I want to make sure they pay. It's not over yet."

Even after Ulmer moved out of Northwood Hills but before Iwanow did, the drama continued. On August 14, 2002, at about 1:45 a.m., neighbors were awakened to find multiple SWAT teams surrounding Iwanow's house. Soon, they learned that all of Westview Avenue had been closed off after someone called the police to report hearing a gunshot coming from inside Iwanow's house. Officers camped out on Iwanow's lawn while she was alone inside the house. Ochs arrived on the scene and told officers that Iwanow might have been depressed over financial problems. "I guess they thought she was suicidal," Ochs says, "but [Iwanow] says she never fired the gun. If she had, there would have been a hole somewhere, and I never saw one."

Iwanow spoke with police negotiators throughout the morning, and at 9:20 a.m., she agreed to leave the house. The Palm Beach Postreported that she was taken to the Oakwood Center of the Palm Beaches for an evaluation. Iwanow now says the events of that day were blown out of proportion. "Everybody made such a big deal of that," she says. "I wish they'd just let it go." Ochs says he believes the SWAT team responded because it was Iwanow's house. "They had every cop on the force there," Ochs says. "I guess they all wanted to see what was going on."

Before that day, Iwanow and the Turners had already put their houses up for sale. Todd Turner, who works for United Airlines, says he anticipates being moved to another city for work and would have been trying to sell their house anyway, regardless of the neighborhood controversy. Still, he says he and his wife would rather leave the past in the past and not talk about it with New Times. Ulmer too, despite her threats of litigation, says she would like to forget all that happened in her former neighborhood. "I just want to move on with my life and put all of this behind me," she says. "I want peace. [Iwanow] turned my life upside down."

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