Brian Banks is asking residents of Michigan’s 1st House District to trust him with their votes.
His campaign Web site says they can “bank on Banks” — an eight-time felon convicted of writing bad checks and credit card fraud between 1998 and 2004.
Banks, 35, insists he has turned his life around.
Banks said he received a GED, graduated from college, earned a master’s degree and a law degree, and is working on a doctorate.
“Yes, I’ve made many poor decisions, and yes, I have a record, but that’s exactly what it is, my past,” Banks, a Detroit Democrat, said last week. “I would ask them to look at what I’ve accomplished professionally and academically, since my poor decisions.”
The last conviction was 8 years ago. All the crimes are fraud related.
Among Banks’ endorsements is one from Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, but the sheriff was not aware of the felony convictions when he gave Banks the endorsement, spokesman Dennis Niemiec said.
“He’s shocked,” Niemiec said. “He was led to believe he was a practicing attorney, which would have required him to pass a character and fitness” examination.
Banks said he graduated from the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University but has not been admitted to the bar.
Unauthorized practice of law is also a crime. Banks should have been real clear that he is NOT an attorney. If you don't pass the bar, you are not an attorney.
In April 1999, he was arrested in Troy and later pleaded guilty to three counts of credit card fraud and another count of check fraud. In August 1999, Southfield police arrested Banks for passing bad checks, leading to another guilty plea.
In December 2003, he was found guilty of passing bad checks in Grosse Pointe Woods. In June 2005, he pleaded guilty to passing bad checks in Charlotte, southwest of Lansing.
“It’s one thing for Bert Johnson to fall in with a bad group, but it was only once,” said Bill Ballenger, editor of the Inside Michigan Politics newsletter. “This looks like a pattern.”
I'd let a one time thing pass. Hell, if it was just drug possession and he cleaned that up, I'd be less worried. If it was aggravated assault or even assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, there may in fact be an understandable reason for it. These are dishonesty crimes. Fraud. As an attorney, possibly the worst thing one can do outside of being a sex offender in regards to risking a law license is to commit fraud. This isn't even Bert Johnson who was 19 and did one bad thing and learned from it. I did a helluva lot of dumb stuff at 19 myself (although I wasn't a thief), and was lucky enough not to get caught. Banks was 28. At 28, it was long past time to grow up. I was back in school going for a law degree.
Hopefully, Banks did turn his life around, but right now, I can't trust his decision making with any financial ramifications. There's a choice though.
With no incumbent running, Banks narrowly beat four other Democrats in the primary. He now faces Republican Dan Schulte, a Grosse Pointe Shores city councilman, on Nov. 6 in a district that experts say tilts sharply Democratic — about 70 percent.
If people can get past the damn straight ticket lever and think for themselves, there's a choice. Dan Schulte. I'm sure Schulte will win the Grosse Pointe portion. Hopefully, Detroit stays home. This is likely a safe D district, but if there's any chance a seat like this isn't safe, this is the year.