State Representative-elect Banks has a transportation problem - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

State Representative-elect Brian Banks has a transportation problem

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  • Company that makes campaign items says candidate owes money

    Company that makes campaign items says candidate owes money

    Friday, November 2 2012 9:56 PM EDT2012-11-03 01:56:38 GMT
    For 42 years, Sawicki and Sons has made political signs and more.  We're told virtually every customer has paid them in full, but Pam Sawicki says state House candidate Brian Banks has turned her into a bill collector.
    For 42 years, Sawicki and Sons has made political signs and more.  We're told virtually every customer has paid them in full, but Pam Sawicki says state House candidate Brian Banks has turned her into a bill collector.

By M.L. Elrick
Fox 2 News Investigative Reporter


SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -- One of the greatest challenges facing Michigan lawmakers is balancing the state's multi-billion dollar budget.  It's a challenge for even the sharpest politicians.

So you want the best guy possible in that job making the tough decisions about how to spend your money, but the guy who told voters to "bank and Banks" has a more than a little trouble when he comes to his own banking.

Brian Banks is a man of convictions and evictions, and here's something else voters didn't know when they decided to send him to Lansing.  For his first trip, he may have to hitchhike.

The Right Honorable Mister Banks has a transportation problem, a $20,000 transportation problem.  But first, we need to clear something up.

About two weeks ago, we reported that Banks had been evicted from three homes in the last two years. That was wrong.  We regret the error.

It turns out Banks has been evicted from at least five homes, including a condo in Detroit and a home in Harper Woods.  Meanwhile, his current landlord tells us things aren't looking too good for his future in a tasty crib in Grosse Pointe Woods.

I got an e-mail all the way from Alaska from his landlord, who reports, "I am seeing indications that Brian is still up to his dirty tricks.  We have yet to receive any rent payment for November, he will not return phone calls or texts."

I know that feeling.  Banks claimed he would meet with me after a colonoscopy.  Now I don't know whether he had that procedure, but he does seem to be a little behind when it comes to returning his messages, that is until this weekend when Banks, who hasn't even been sworn in, had a Democratic spokesperson contact me to see why I was calling.

Well, it's pretty simple.  We're wondering what planet Banks is on.  See, he says he's changed, but of the 21 lawsuits filed against him in Detroit's District Court, four were filed this year and there are more lawsuits in other jurisdictions.

Yet during a recent radio interview, Banks said it's been a long time since he last ripped someone off.

"I've tried to do everything that I could to prove that I was rehabilitated," he told WXYT-AM's Charlie Langton.

Attorney Charles Holzman isn't buying it.  He represents a half dozen credit unions who have sued Banks since 1996 for over $40,000.

"What we're seeing is a pattern that goes back nearly ten years now," he said.  "Whatever problems he's been having over the years, he certainly hasn't figured out a way to fix them."

As a lawyer, Holzman is glad Banks has a new gig.  It may mean his clients will finally get paid, but as a taxpayer, he's less than thrilled.

"With the financial difficulties that our state is facing and especially here in Southeastern Michigan, it's going to be kind of tough to correct those problems when the people we're electing to office are having difficulty keeping their own house in order."

He's not the only person who feels that way.

Glenn Westbrook is a recovery agent.  That's a fancy term for repo man, but Glenn's a nice guy as long as you haven't missed any car payments.  He know Banks pretty well.

How long has he been looking for his Land Rover?

"About four months."

Has he ever gotten close before?

"Very close."

We were hoping to have a word with Banks last week when the repo man made the scene.  This wasn't the repo man's first encounter with Banks.  He had a 2003 Jaguar X-Type until it, too, got hauled away after Banks failed to make payments.

But the credit unions and landlords who have been left holding the bag over the years shouldn't feel bad.  Banks is a smooth talker, so smooth that he got endorsed by Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.  Oakland County Judge Denise Langford Morris even sent a contribution.

Even though Banks doesn't seem ready to repay his lenders or landlords any time soon, he says he is ready to make one contribute to society.

"We're supposed to live in a world and society of believing in rehabilitation.  I've worked triply hard, double hard, to prove that I'm rehabilitated.  My past is simply that.  My past is the past," he told Langton during that radio interview.

And so Banks' Land Rover is now also part of his past, and that's part of the problem, while many of us are all for second chances and redemption, the trouble with Banks is that his present looks a whole lot like past he says he left behind.

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