Shame On Banks, Or Shame On Us

Do you really know your new 1st District State Rep?


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.


Jace Bolger
Speaker of the House
Ph: 517.373.1787


Richard Hammel
Democratic Minority Leader
Ph: 517.373.7557

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Colton Michael Dale November 15, 2012 at 03:05 AM
I agree with the notion that the districts never should have been split up. They should've kept the Pointes together!
Lynnette Marshall November 15, 2012 at 02:25 PM
I always love how Harper Woods is lumped in with the Grosse Pointes when really the only tie is that we border the city. It has never been "The Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods," check out the sign on I-94 which states that the next few exits serve Grosse Pointe communities. Harper Woods residents cannot even use the Grosse Pointe libraries unless you also live in the school district, have no access to any of the pools and cannot even drive into Grosse Pointe during certain hours of the day. And, Harper Woods Schools are school of choice since that way the student population from Detroit could come in and the teachers, etc. did not have to take paycuts beyond 2%. So really, at least the author of this article could be more accurate and say that it is the Grosse Pointes' interests that are being compromised, since Harper Woods interests have already been compromised by it's own city leadership and school district leadership.
Robert Lee November 15, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Great analysis and fine recommendations Mr. Smith! Each 1st district voter, democrat or republican, should write appropriate state officials. Let them know we will not tolerate having an unreformed, lying and and recalcitrant criminal as state rep. Include Governor Snyder: https://somgovweb.state.mi.us/GovRelations/ShareOpinion.aspx. As chief republican, Snyder is ultimately responsible for what happened, gerrymandering our communities in 2 districts, when it was clear suburban candidates would be overwhelmed by a larger voting block from Detroit. Don't hold out for much help from Jace Bolger, though. Anybody who undermines the sanctity of our elections by engaging a sham candidate to skew a race like Bolger did has no business being house speaker. Though officials would not prosecute Bolger for his misdeed, it shows contempt for the electoral process. Word about Lansing is the quid pro quo for house democrats looking the other way about Bolger's shenanigans is republicans will look the other way about Bank's criminality. That makes it even more important for a large number of voters to take your advice to write Lansing and say District 1 voters have had enough of Brian Bank's criminal activity. Even more important is those who have been stiffed by Banks demand that their local police pursue things and file charges against him. Banks clearly will be unable to serve if fresh criminal charges stick and he is locked up in Jackson State Prison where he belongs!
Diane Smith November 15, 2012 at 02:47 PM
And, Harper Woods is also being represented by a convicted felon.
Ted November 15, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Why should the state keep the Pointes together, when time and time again we fail to act that way? How long did it take everyone to agree to simply study the possibility of a consolidated dispatch and lock-up, even when the state was providing much of the money for the effort? And watch, it will go nowhere just like all the other studies before, because the 5 communities will find some stupid reason to keep their individual system. We have 5 separate city halls, mayors, councils, police, fire, EMS, public works, recreation, business districts. Sadly, it sounds to me like we're more separate than together. So why should the state treat us like something we're not?
Paul Trombley November 15, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Lynette, your credibility is somewhat lacking when you say that Harper Woods residents: "cannot even drive into Grosse Pointe during certain hours of the day." Licensed motorists can drive on public roads in any city at any time (unless those roads are closed for emergency, construction or a special event like a parade). Besides, how would anyone ever know which city every car comes from? That would require the police to run a report on every license plate. It would also require that the police have the capability to observe the license plate of every vehicle that enters each city. Do you really think they have the manpower or the time to do that? Get real.
Quinn Smith November 15, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Lynnette, I am sorry I should have been clearer in my post. I am a Harper Woods resident...gasp... My next-door neighbor has a "Welcome to Grosse Pointe Woods" sing in their yard. Never have I NOT been able to drive down my own street. The Pointes and Harper Woods have shared mutual interests for the longest time. Until this year the 1st was the Grosse Pointes AND Harper Woods. The Grosse Pointe News used to have the tag line, "Serving the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods Communities." My children attend Grosse Pointe Public Schools. When my kids want to go to the park to play we head 4 blocks to Ghesquire rather than cross over the interstate to the closest park in Harper Woods. The one time I had to call the police to my house to report damage to my vehicle while parked on the street, it took me 20 minutes and 3 phone calls to determine who should come and provide a police report. The purpose of my post was not to try and divide our area, but to point out my direct dealings with Mr. Banks and to show that there are actual ways we can rid ourselves of this malcontent before he ever steps foot in Lansing.
Robert Sfire November 15, 2012 at 04:42 PM
the bottom line is that Banks is corrupt. period. we don't need him as our representative. I have written both Speaker and Dem. Minority leader not to install him and I hope others will also.
Veronica Paiz November 15, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Here is a story that ran on Fox News a few nights ago: http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/20078355/state-representative-elect-brian-banks-has-a-transportation-problem (and regardless of what some of us might generally think about Fox, the reporter here was thorough and the information correct). If you're interested in lies, there is one here on the GP Patch on Banks' blog/political post, where he vehemently denies that he has anything to do with a charter school (though it **is** on his campaign literature an it is still on his web site): http://grossepointe.patch.com/blog_posts/candidate-for-state-representative-newly-drawn-district-1-representing-northeast-detroit-grosse-pointe-shores-grosse-pointe-woods-and-harper-woods The Grosse Pointe Dems declined to endorse Banks, and the 13th Congressional District also would not endorse him. Unfortunately, Rep Harvey Santana endorses him, having said something like "It's not like he murdered anyone!" 36th District Court Judge LaToye believes that he is the "poster boy" for rehabilitated criminals. State Rep Kate Segal has also been vocal in support of Banks. Even the Michigan Democratic Party head Mark Brewer has defended him, saying that it all "happened a long time ago." If voters want to have a say in whether or not Banks is seated, it would probably be best to call or send emails/letters to Michigan's entire legislative branch.
George R. McMullen Jr. November 17, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Mr Smith I completely agree the Grosse Pointe's and Harper Woods share a mutual aid pact a school and library system..and use many of the same businesses..so in short economically linked we have to work together
George R. McMullen Jr. November 17, 2012 at 02:32 PM
I'm no fan of Mr. Banks and believe me it would be much better that he did not win the election. But hoping for Lansing not to seat him is not a strategy that I agree with. Technically all the comments I have heard are coming from 30% of the voters in the district. I always heard that elections have consequences well they do and If president Obama had received 70% of the vote he would have a mandate. If I were in Lansing and had to make a decision not to seat a people chosen candidate that received 70% of the vote I got to tell you it would not be a black and white decision. I think we should a least have plan b which would attempt to work with Mr. Banks and perhaps if necessary plan c focus on limiting his term to 1. If he got 70% of the vote in an open district imagine what will happen when he runs as an incumbent ….yikes
Susan Uhl November 18, 2012 at 12:45 AM
If I could add just one more address to send letters to: MICHIGAN STATE BOARD OF ETHICS Janet McClelland, Executive Secretary Investigations of Ethical Conduct of State Public Michigan State Board of Ethics 400 South Pine Street Advisory Opinions P.O. Box 30002 Lansing, Michigan 48909 I've been told that actual letters stand a better chance of being read than e-mails or faxes. Thanks.


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