The ex-wife of Portland City Council candidate Stuart Emmons called the police on Emmons in 2008 and complained he purposefully pushed her front door into her after a dispute with their son brought Emmons to her house.
Susan Emmons Poss wasn't injured, according to a Portland Police report on the incident, and no charges were ever brought against Emmons, who shared custody of the teenage boy with Poss.
Yet this is the second piece of unflattering information about Emmons to surface in the public record since Emmons announced Jan. 19 he would challenge Commissioner Steve Novick.
John Horvick, a Portland pollster with DHM Research, says public reports such as these help shape voters' perceptions. "Even if it were deeply unfair to Mr. Emmons, these sorts of things can define someone's character," he says. "Politics isn't fair."
The public record shows Officer David Abrahamson responded to Poss's home in Southwest Portland on Nov. 20, 2008. Poss told Abrahamson that Emmons came to her home looking for their son, then a high school freshman. She says she told Emmons she would go get the teenager.
"As soon as she turned around," the police report reads, "the corner of the door hit her in the back. Poss said she believes Emmons pushed the door open purposefully."
Emmons later told the officer that wasn't true. He said his son had been rude earlier in the day and that Emmons had locked his son out of the house and told him to take a "time-out" at the Multnomah Athletic Club down the street, according to the officer's account in the report.
When he didn't return, Emmons went to look for him, eventually driving to his ex-wife's home.
"Emmons said Poss began to close the front door on Emmons," the report reads, "and he put his foot in between the door and the door jam. Emmons said the door swung open slowly and hit Poss in her back. Emmons said it was not his intent to hit Poss with the door."
In an interview Tuesday, Emmons said he was "frantic" because he thought he had lost his son. "I'm a worried parent," he said. "I was really upset."
He said the report shouldn't reflect poorly on him as a candidate because there was no physical contact between the parties and that the dispute was the result of a contentious divorce. Poss filed for divorce in 2002.
"A lot of people have been through bad divorces," Emmons said in the interview. "My ex wife should not have called the police."
Poss did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
WW uncovered the eight-year-old police report in a routine background check of Emmons, a process that earlier uncovered Emmons had declared bankruptcy in 2012 and nearly lost his home to foreclosure in 2010 and 2012.
Emmons, an architect with his own firm, said the 2008 recession pummeled his business, leading to the financial problems. Emmons told WW last month his bankruptcy and foreclosure difficulties made him a stronger candidate.
"It's really impacted the way I see the world," he said then.
WW looks into the background of all major candidates for public office.
Emmons, who also been active in community issues including school funding, entered the race in January with close to $30,000 in contributions, making him a leading challenger against Novick. Emmons was the only one of Novick's opponents to appear beside him at a debate last week on the arts.
Novick's other opponents include Reading Frenzy owner Chloe Eudaly and African-American real estate broker Fred Stewart.
A challenger hasn't unseated a Portland City Council incumbent since 1992, when Charlie Hales, then a newcomer to elected city politics, ousted then-Commissioner Dick Bogle.
Horvick, the pollster, says the latest disclosure complicates Emmons' challenge. "There's nothing about it that's going to make it easier," he says.