Brian Roderick Banks is a Democratic member of the Michigan House of Representatives elected in 2012. Although he has served two terms, Banks has never won an election by majority vote. In 2012, he defeated Scott Benson by 96 votes to win the Democratic Primary. Although receiving 42% of the vote in the 2014 Democratic Primary, Banks was re-elected. In 2016, as Chairman of the Detroit Caucus, Brian Banks was able to raise, and spend, more money on his Primary Election than any other candidate. Despite his considerable war chest, attorney Pamela Sossi was able to make the race Wayne County's most competitive, beating Banks soundly in the suburbs. Banks, however, was able to survive the aggressive Primary challenge victorious. Republican William Broman faces Banks in the November 8, 2016 General Election.
Criminal and civil history
Since 1998, Brian Banks has been convicted of eight felonies.
In June 2016, Banks was charged by the office of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette with three felonies (two counts of uttering and publishing false information and one count of obtaining a loan under false pretenses) and a fourth count, a misdemeanor, charges Banks with providing false statements regarding his financial condition. If convicted, he faces up to 14 years in prison on the uttering and publishing charges and five years on the false pretense charge. The misdemeanor count carries a one year prison term.
In addition to the four charges, Schuette is also charging Banks as a habitual offender, which could carry additional prison time if convicted.
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. 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.
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.
Banks has claimed to be an attorney, which lead Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon to endorse him. Sheriff Napoleon’s spokesman Dennis Niemiec said the Sheriff was unaware of Banks’ convictions. 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.
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. 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.
Banks has also claimed to be an elementary school teacher. His Biography on the Michigan House Democrats website also lists him as a former elementary school teacher. However, the Michigan Department of Education Online Educator Certification System states that Banks has never held an Educator Certification. 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.
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.
In 2013, Banks was sued for sexual harassment by his Legislative Aide, Mr. Tramaine Cotton.
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.
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.