We have all been scammed.
Unfortunately, it has happened three times in the past year. First was when our voice in Lansing was taken away by the redistricting of the 1st and 2nd House seats. Then on August 6th, and again on November 7th, when Brian Banks won the Democratic Primary and General Election for the seat in the 1st District.
When the old 1st and 2nd District seats were redrawn last year, splitting the Grosse Pointes in two and diluting them with a major portion of Detroit, it became painfully clear to most that the Pointes representation in our State Congress may become severely limited. Tim Bledsoe faced a tough primary against another incumbent, Alberta Tinsley-Talabi, for the 2nd District seat that he lost by only 573 votes. When you looked at the breakdown, Rep. Bledsoe won in Grosse Pointe Farms, City and Park 3,522 to 241. It was apparent that half of our community was now going to be represented by someone new, a candidate that strongly favors statewide mandatory schools of choice.
In the 1st District, my District, the race was even closer. Brian Banks defeated Scott Benson by only 96 votes to win the Democrat Party nomination. I can honestly say that in the primary race we received very little information on any candidate running except Mr. Banks. We received many fliers and Mr. Banks even came to our door. Two days before the primary we received an eerie robo-call stating that Mr. Banks was a convicted felon. I was dumbfounded that if this information were true, why would it not have come out sooner? Sadly as we have all found out it was very true, and then some. In the past three months since the primary, Mr. Banks statement of being “reformed” seems to be just one of the many lies he has told.
Since the primary, Mr. Banks has been evicted from two homes in Harper Woods. In both of those cases he passed bad checks trying to pay the rent. This is the very felony he was convicted of in the past. He has also passed bad checks and ignored requests to pay the company that made his own campaign signs. The credit union that the checks were drawn from is also trying to sue Mr. Banks, but cannot find a valid address to serve him. Right now, we do not even know if Mr. Banks is actually living within the district borders. Many news outlets tried to get Mr. Banks to answer questions regarding these issues before the general election, but Mr. Banks always seemed to have something more pressing going on, like being a “panelist at a conference” or “getting a colonoscopy.” While this information is now widely available from various sources, I would like to tell you about the lies Mr. Banks told me directly.
As I stated above, Mr. Banks was the only candidate that came to my door. It was two weeks before the primary election. In our brief conversation there were many things that I have come to find out are not true:
“You might not know me, but I’m actually your neighbor. I live right here on Fleetwood…” - This was lie number one. While it is true that Mr. Banks did take out a lease on a house on Fleetwood, a half a block from my house, according to Mr. Banks’ own words at the League of Women Voters debate, he was merely “helping out a family member in co-signing a lease.” According to a story on the Grosse Pointe Patch, the Fleetwood address was listed as campaign headquarters. Either he was living there and lied at the debate, or he lied to me when he came to my door. I never saw Mr. Banks again in person after that day, or at the house in question, so I will have to leave that up for you to decide.
“I used to be a MEA member and a former elementary school teacher…” - I believe he said this to make a tie in for my wife, a current public school teacher. At the League of Women Voters debate, Mr. Banks again cited his experience as an elementary school teacher. The Michigan Department of Education does not identify him as a certified teacher. Furthermore, Michigan Law prohibits convicted felons from being employed by schools unless independently waived by the Superintendent and School Board. Mr. Banks has never answered the simple question of WHERE and WHEN he taught. He has stated that he is an Adjunct Professor. Originally he stated it was at Baker College, but after his website came under scrutiny, the name of the institution was removed. His website also states that he is on the board for a charter school, Lecy Lindsey Academy. A simple Google search brings up 4 hits on Lecy Lindsey Academy, all lead directly back to the BankonBanks.com website.
“I am a practicing attorney…” - This one made national news. The Huffington Post exposed the lie that while Mr. Banks listed himself as an attorney at Rodnick, Unger and Kaner, one phone call revealed that he was only a law clerk for them, and was there for only a few months. Much like with his educator background, law student graduates with felony convictions cannot become members of the Bar.
Mr. Banks has blatantly lied to my face and to the faces of all voters in the 1st District. He has refused to address the current problems he is currently facing charges on. His whole campaign and persona is based on falsehoods. While the election is over and the newly drawn district has chosen Mr. Banks, if we collectively feel he is not fit represent, we do have options before us to assist in his removal. If you are as angered as I am that this person who has shown no respect for the law, and has not learned from his previous mistakes is now our representative in the State House, I implore you to contact Michigan Speaker of the House, Jace Bolger and Democratic Minority Leader Richard Hammel at the contact info below and urge them not to seat Mr. Banks when the House convenes in January. If they do seat him, I hope you will then join me in creating a petition to recall Mr. Banks.
This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. This is a future of our community issue. Before the redistricting, our area was represented by individuals who had only the best intentions for the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods. Now we are split and have started to lose our voice in Lansing without any chance at protecting our interests. If we cannot come together to fight for the right to be governed by a law-abiding citizen, then we stand to lose any representation we have left in the future. I hope you will join me in this fight.
Speaker of the House
Democratic Minority Leader