The wife of one of the city's most prominent entrepreneurs, Don Barden, has obtained a temporary restraining order to freeze family assets and wants him declared incompetent on claims that cancer treatments have made him incoherent.
Bella Marshall, 60, Barden's wife and the chief operating officer of the Wayne County government, obtained an order from Wayne County Probate Court preserving the "financial status quo" of the marital estate.
She also asked for the appointment of a conservator to take over her 67-year-old husband's far-flung businesses. Barden's companies have held interests in cable television, real estate development and casinos.
Marshall said she anticipated her husband's release in the new year from inpatient treatment at Karmanos Cancer Institute and arranged for 24-hour home nursing care, according to one of her lawyers. But Barden never showed up.
"It's sad and pathetic," said attorney Lisa Ritchie Neilson. "She was considering making a missing person report and resisted taking any action in court. But she doesn't know where he is, who he is with or who is influencing him."
Darci McConnell, Barden's spokeswoman, denied he is incapacitated.
"Mr. Barden is both physically and mentally capable of managing his affairs, and continues to do so," McConnell said. "As this now involves a potential legal matter, as well as a personal one, we have no further comment."
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Wife Seeks to Have Detroit Businessman Don Barden Declared Incompetent