State Rep. Brian Banks' landlord says he is owed rent money - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

State Rep. Brian Banks' landlord says he is owed rent money

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State Representative Brian Banks  (Credit: Fox 2 News) State Representative Brian Banks (Credit: Fox 2 News)

"I've learned from my mistakes.  I take full responsibility.  I've tried to work doubly hard to show that I'm rehabilitated," Brian Banks said on "Let It Rip" shortly after he was elected state representative.

His past, by the way, includes multiple felony convictions and multiple home evictions.  Oh, and we were waiting to speak to him last November when the repo man made the scene.  Banks Land Rover got hauled away for failure to pay his loan.

When Mr. Banks got to Lansing, he said he was looking forward to a fresh start.

"It's a great day.  The voters of my district have spoken, and I look forward to representing District 1 here in Lansing," he said.  "My past is simply that, just my past."

After getting down to business, Mr. Banks co-sponsored 17 bills, but there is one bill that he hasn't addressed -- his rent.  His landlord said he wants to evict Banks after he bounced a check.

Banks' lawyer said he is in a dispute with his landlord and is paying his rent into escrow.  His landlord said that is the first he has heard of any dispute, and local officials in Grosse Pointe Woods said there is no escrow account.

Banks supposedly couldn't meet with me on Friday because he was busy meeting with seniors.  When I called city hall, officials there told me while I was on the phone that a man matching Banks' description came in and tried to create an escrow account to pay rent to, who else, Banks' landlord.

This is very curious.  If Banks was meeting with seniors, why was his Doppelganger trying to pay his rent?  And if he is paying rent to an escrow account that may or may not exist, why did he write a rubber check to his landlord?

This was also news to Banks' landlord, of course.  When I contacted him, he said he has received no complaints from Banks or his house mate or their attorney.  Instead, he said in an email from Alaska, where he lives, "I have text message after text message assuring me that rent "has been sent".

As for repair issues, the landlord said the garage door was repaired a few months after Banks moved in.  Even though he said Banks never complained about code violations, he acknowledged some minor ones, and he said they will be fixed when the weather gets better.

Banks also put his lawyer on the case.  She said she could explain it all away.  She couldn't meet with us on Friday, so at her request we called her Monday morning.  When we didn't hear back, we stopped by her office.   A few hours later after stopping by Banks' house -- for now -- Banks canceled our meeting.

So as we wait for new answers to his new problems, all we are left with is Mr. Banks' dubious pledge from his appearance a few months ago on Fox 2 when he said, "My past is just that.  My past is my past."

Banks sent us a statement saying he has been "patient in working with the landlord for months to repair several habitability issues."  He included a copy of a Western Union payment sent after I started asking questions.

The landlord said he has not received the payment, and I think I know why.  Banks misspelled his landlord's name.

The following is the complete statement Banks sent to Fox 2:

"This is a clear attempt by the landlord to avoid his terms of the lease.  I have been patient in working with the landlord for months, since October, to repair/cure several habitability issues, however, just as he expects lease payments on time, I expect timely repairs to be made, especially when the city has cited him for some of the same issues.  However, I will continue to make my timely payment arrangements, as well as, focus on those issues that affect our residents."

Banks leased a home in Grosse Pointe Woods in October of 2012.  There is now a dispute between Representative Banks and the landlord. The landlord was cited on January 14, 2013 by the city for code violations at the property, some of which, Representative Banks
requested repairs on when his move-in checklist was submitted back in October.  Further, the landlord failed to pay a water bill that dated back to June of 2012 prior to Representative Banks' moving in.  On January 8, 2013, the city came out to the property and threatened to shut off the water.  These are just examples of the many issues that have plagued Banks since he moved to this property.

Despite the consistent habitability issues, Banks remitted his rent payments to the landlord.  Attorney Andrea Bradley communicated to the landlord's attorney, Risa Van Der Aue, on last week, that one payment had been mailed and the other was wired transferred through Western Union.  As recent as today, the funds are still at Western Union and have not been picked up by the landlord.  The landlord is now asking that Representative Banks move from the property claiming that payments to the landlord in Alaska were received late, however, the landlord has repeatedly had issues making timely repairs throughout the balance of the lease. Before even giving Banks an opportunity to move in the time requested, the landlord called the press in an effort to threaten Banks with bad press.  This same landlord has not checked on his property in almost four years, despite coming all the way from Alaska to Michigan, on October 21,2012, and scheduling a time to meet Representative Banks and to take a walk through of the property but canceling an hour after he was scheduled to be there.

In November of 2012, Banks sat down with the media and discussed his past and his intentions to lead by being a man of his word.  After just a month in office, Banks has either made, or is in the process of making, arrangements with all of his creditors.  Additionally, in cases where an arrangement has been made, Banks has made all of those payments timely.  Notwithstanding this progress, there are still those that seek to cast a negative view on Representative Banks.

Under Michigan law, landlords have an obligation to make sure that their properties are kept safe and in habitable conditions.  Unfortunately, this has not been the case with this landlord.

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