Brian Banks (politician)

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Brian Roderick Banks
Banks Brian.jpg
Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
from the 1st district
In office
January 1, 2013 – February 6, 2017
Preceded by Tim Bledsoe
Personal details
Born November 15, 1976
Detroit, Michigan
Political party Democratic
Parents Joyce A. Banks
Residence Harper Woods
Alma mater Wayne State University (B.S., M.Ed.)
Michigan State University College of Law (J.D.)
Occupation Unemployed
Website Official Website

Brian Roderick Banks is a Democratic former member of the Michigan House of Representatives.

Despite three new felony charges and a fierce fight from Harper Woods attorney Pamela Sossi, Banks pulled out a victory during the 2016 Democratic Primary Election. Although Sossi led in the race throughout the night, Banks was able to pull ahead when the Detroit vote totals started coming in. According to the Detroit Free Press, the 1st district House race was the most competitive in Wayne County. [1]

On November 8, 2016, Banks won the General Election against Republican challenger, William Broman, taking 66 percent of the vote. [2]

On February 6, 2017, just 26 days into his third term in the Michigan House of Representatives, Banks resigned his seat, to avoid prison time. [3]

By 9 am, February 8, 2017, Banks was sending e-mails to supporters inviting them to a March 6 fundraiser for his PAC, Bank on Banks for Michigan, leading to speculation that he would be running for future office, or financially backing his chosen successor. [4]

On February 16, 2017, Governor Rick Snyder called a Special Election to fill the vacancy left by Banks resignation. Both the Governor and the Secretary of State's office ruled that Banks was not eligible to run for his own seat, ending speculation that he might do so. Additionally, Representative Aaron Miller filed HB 4208 to ensure that expelled or resigned former members would not run in the Special Election called because of the vacancy they caused. [5]

Criminal and civil history[edit]

Since 1998, Brian Banks has been convicted of eight felonies.[6]

In June 2016, Banks was charged with three felonies and one misdemeanor by the office of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette for falsifying information on a loan application to obtain a personal loan in June 2010. Due to his previous felony convictions, Banks was charged as a habitual offender and could have faced life in prison if convicted.[7] In August 2016, Banks was bound over to Wayne County Circuit Court for trial on all charges by District Court Judge Deborah Langston. Banks was formally arraigned in Circuit Court on August 23.[8]

In February 2017, Banks reached a plea agreement with the Attorney General's office in which all felony counts against were dropped in exchange for his immediate resignation from the Michigan House of Representatives and pleading guilty to one misdemeanor.[9] Banks announced his formal resignation in Wayne County Circuit Court on February 6, 2017.[10]

On September 15, 2016, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson ruled that Banks used House funds or resources to mail invitations to an event advocating for his re-election, a violation of section 57 of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act. As a result, Banks was required to personally reimburse the Michigan House of Representatives for the materials and labor misused. [11]

During the 2012 Primary Election, Banks was evicted from a home in Harper Woods at 19239 Berden by landlord Michele Wood, who took him to court three times for writing bad checks and not paying rent.[12] After the 2012 General Election, Banks was evicted from his Harper Woods home at 20927 Fleetwood when he bounced two checks to landlord Dan Sylvester.[13]

Since his first election, Banks has civil judgements against him in the amount of $47,809.84. He has been evicted a total of seven times in recent years, including two eviction proceedings filed against him in 2016.[14]

Other controversies[edit]

Banks has claimed to be an attorney, which lead Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon to endorse him.[15] Sheriff Napoleon’s spokesman Dennis Niemiec said the Sheriff was unaware of Banks’ convictions.[16] Napoleon said he did not previously know about Banks felonies. The State Bar of Michigan has no record of Banks ever being licensed to practice law in Michigan.[17]

His campaign site stated that Banks was part of the staff at the law firm of Rodnick, Unger and Kaner, P.C. and an adjunct professor at Baker College.[18] An employee at Rodnick, Unger and Kaner, P.C. told the Huffington Post that Banks briefly worked at the firm as a law clerk, but left after only a few months.[19]

Banks has also claimed to be an elementary school teacher.[20] His Biography on the Michigan House Democrats website also lists him as a former elementary school teacher.[21] However, the Michigan Department of Education Online Educator Certification System states that Banks has never held an Educator Certification.[22] Michigan law prohibits convicted felons from being employed by a school, unless independently waived by the Superintendent and School Board.

Banks also ignored requests to pay the company that made his campaign signs.[23]

In 2012, the Grosse Pointe Democrats refused to endorse Banks, despite his request for the endorsement and the fact that he was the Democratic candidate.[24]

In 2013, Banks was sued for sexual harassment by his Legislative Aide, Mr. Tramaine Cotton.[25]

According to Tim Bowlin, director of the House Business Office, the state paid $85,622 to the Dickinson Wright law firm to represent Mr. Banks against the charges of sexual harassment. The lawsuit was later settled for $11,950.[26]

Legislative accomplishments[edit]

Since Banks was first elected, Michigan Democrats have had 150 pieces of legislation signed into law; many by members of the Detroit Caucus. During that same period, 91 percent of Brian Banks bills have died in committee. Only 2 ever received votes on the floor and neither passed into law.[27][28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Despite legal challenges, Brian Banks wins primary fight". 
  2. ^ "Banks earns victory; GOP splits key races in Wayne Co.". 
  3. ^ "Michigan Rep. Brian Banks used his seat as a plea bargaining chip, and justice was denied". 
  4. ^ "Banks resigns state seat then sends fund-raising e-mail". 
  5. ^ "Snyder calls election; officials say Banks can’t run". 
  6. ^ "Detroiters Elect Ex-Con Brian Banks As State Rep". 
  7. ^ Oralandar Brand-Williams, Chad Livengood and Jonathan Oosting (June 29, 2016). "Banks ordered not to leave state in felony case". Detroit News. 
  8. ^ Robert Allen (August 9, 2016). "Witness: State Rep. Brian Banks faked pay stubs for loan". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  9. ^ @GongwerMichigan (February 6, 2017). "Under the plea agreement, Rep. Banks will resign immediately with the felony charges dropped. He would plead guilty to a misdemeanor." (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  10. ^ @kasbenal (February 6, 2017). "Banks just read his letter of resignation in the court room. Effective today." (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  11. ^ [www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/Regan_v_Banks_550826_7.pdf "Michigan Bureau of Elections Conclusion Investigation MCFA"] Check |url= value (help) (PDF). 
  12. ^ "State House Candidate Brian Banks Evicted from Harper Woods Homes". 
  13. ^ "Brian Banks, Michigan State House Candidate And Ex-Felon, Faces New Legal Woes". 
  14. ^ "State Rep. Brian Banks faced eviction seven times in recent years". 
  15. ^ "8-Time Felon From Detroit Seeks Michigan House Seat". 
  16. ^ "Candidate for Michigan House seat is eight-time felon". 
  17. ^ "State Bar of Michigan Attorney Search". 
  18. ^ "Brian Banks, Michigan State House Candidate, Has Eight Felony Convictions". 
  19. ^ "Brian Banks’ Bio On Campaign Website For Michigan State House Scrubbed Of Law Firm Employment". 
  20. ^ "Shame On Banks, Or Shame On Us". 
  21. ^ "Biography For State Rep. Banks". 
  22. ^ "MDE Online Educator Certification System". 
  23. ^ "Shame On Banks, Or Shame On Us". 
  24. ^ "State House Candidate Brian Banks Evicted from Harper Woods Homes". 
  25. ^ "Legislative aide sues Detroit Rep. Brian Banks for sexual harassment". 
  26. ^ "Former staffer of Rep. Brian Banks settles lawsuit". 
  27. ^ "Legislative Session = 2013-2014; Chamber = House; Sponsor = Brian Banks". 
  28. ^ "Legislative Session = 2015-2016; Chamber = House; Sponsor = Brian Banks".