Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Did Karl Banks hide his ownership in Miller Banks?

A review of records on the website of the Mississippi Ethics Commission reveals Madison County Supervisor Karl Banks may not have disclosed his ownership in Miller Banks Lands. JJ reported yesterday Mr. Banks formed a company in 2004 with his brother, former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice (correction: Fred Banks), that obtained title to a large tract of land in Madison County. The land is currently adjacent to the site for a proposed water park and approximately two thousand feet away from Calhoun Station Parkway. JJ also reported Mr. Banks did not recuse himself on numerous votes concerning Calhoun Station Parkway and the water park and in many cases, proposed the motions concerning these developments next to his property.

Mississippi law requires public officials to file a statement of economic interest every year. The Ethics Commission states on its website "Incumbents must file every year on or before May 1st. Persons appointed to office must file within 30 days of appointment." The penalty for failing to disclose is a criminal fine up to ten thousand dollars. Ethics Commission Website

The state requires the public official to disclose the following information if he:
1. receives more than $2,500 per year in "income from the business";
2. "owns ten percent or more of the fair market value in the business, either directly or through another business";
3. "Owns an ownership interest in the business, the fair market value of which exceeds five thousand dollars; or
4. "is an employee, director, or officer of the business."
Section 25-4-24 through 25-4-29 of the Mississippi Code

Mr. Banks lists several businesses on his disclosure: Peoples Undertaking, Karl M. Banks Real Estate, Act I Hair Salon (wife), and People's Insurance Agency. Miller Banks Lands is not listed anywhere on the form. Banks' statement of economic interest, Miller Banks incorporation papers file with SOS It is inexplicable why Mr. Banks would not list his ownership in Miller Banks Lands on his SEI form, when right above his signature is a statement in bold letters notifying the officeholder of the penalty for failure to disclose all required information. (There is always the chance there are some papers floating around out there showing he was removed from ownership of the company that were never filed with the Secretary of State.)

The question then that must be asked is that after purchasing land in Madison County, then repeatedly proposing motions or voting for projects that would substantially increase the market value of his property, did Mr. Banks violate the law by failing to disclose his ownership in Miller Banks Lands? If such is the case, Mr. Banks should resign from the Madison County Board of Supervisors as it's even more clear he has violated his duties and trust as a public official.

Meanwhile over at the Clarion-Ledger, Madison County Journal, WAPT, WJTV, Fox40, WLBT, and MC Herald:

26 comments:

KaptKangaroo said...

We ought to rename this blog to "Influential People in Mississippi who think the laws don't apply to them." Yet ANOTHER instance where money, power, and influence feel they are not obliged to follow the rules.

Even if he was removed from ownership, his brother still has the economic interest. Ethically, not kosher in my book.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody remember "Operation Pretense" and what kind of county political corruption was uncovered by the FBI? Albeit, this is a different type of corruption. I believe this truism is applicable "If it looks like a duck, smells like a duck, quacks like a duck then Madison County citizens and voters, ITS A DUCK!"

Jane said...

There was a Fred Banks on the Mississippi Supreme Court (and he was one of the bests jurists on that court) but I don't think there's been a Karl Banks.

Kingfish said...

The rep on Banks back then was Rueben liked to be there for show and being the "first" but Fred actually was the one who liked to roll up his sleeves and get to work at the Court.

Jane said...

Fred Banks is extremely smart and entirely reasonable- traits that aren't always seen together.

Anonymous said...

Jackson Jambalaya:

Are you reporting another case of " Did I make a mistake on that paperwork?"?

Minor typo alert in today's post-

"former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Karl Banks"

Otherwise looks like this will be another opportunity to show how to investigate these things to the local press that can't do that.

Anonymous said...

KF--WAPT has a poll on their website: Should there be an investigation into the rezoning of Reunion Parkway?

Yes. An exchange of $400,000 for a zoning change amounts to extortion.
OR
No. The road project needs to be finished before a church is built.

Anonymous said...

Judge Fred Banks and Karl are brothers... Fred has helped Karl get out of a number of "tight places" over the years.... wonder if he will pull another rabbit out of the hat?

Anonymous said...

Is there evidence that the supervisor is still a member or manager of the LLC? Also, since when is an LLC owning undeveloped land a "business"? The statutes listed in the original post list corporations and partnerships as entities for which disclosure is required, and the statutes say that disclosure is also required for other "businesses." I think if you were to look at the law on the traditional meaning of "business," you would find that an LLC owning undeveloped land is not necessarily a business.

That's not a strong argument, but any ambiguity in the law should tilt against punishing someone for violating an ambiguous law.

Anonymous said...

hmmm, that's a fine line, but Banks should still step down ora t the least not be re-elected.

Anonymous said...

4:21....according to state code:

"Business" means any corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, organization, holding company, self-employed individual, joint stock company, receivership, trust or other legal entity or undertaking organized for economic gain, a nonprofit corporation or other such entity, association or organization receiving public funds.

I'd say they are a business if their purpose for the creation of the LLC is to make money (by selling the land at a later date for a profit).

Uh oh.

Anonymous said...

Having watched Karl for the last 26 years, all I can say is, that he is a "Smooth Operator". I like him personally, but he has said and done things over the years that would have had the Clarion-Ledger on the rampage had it been one of the other supervisors. The t.v. stations follow their lead. So is Karl teflon coated or what?

Anonymous said...

On Operation Pretense...the stunning thing to me was what "bargains" were to be had.

If memory serves, one dumb ole boy was bought for $500.

Anonymous said...

The Apple does not fall far from the Tree: WLBT Story about Karl Banks son, Karl Banks, Jr.

Canton 09/06/06
Bootleg CD & DVD Operation Busted
By Cheryl Lasseter
cheryl@wlbt.net

A young man in handcuffs outside the old Silk's Beauty Salon on Franklin Street in Canton wouldn't tell us who he was, but WLBT News has learned that one of the three arrested in Wednesday's raid of the salon-turned-CD-burning house was 21-year-old Karl Banks, Jr. He's the son of Madison County District Four Supervisor Karl Banks.

Police say the establishment was being used as a studio for burning bootleg CD's and DVD's. Banks Jr., along with two others, 24-year-old Cedrick Mills and 29-year-old Lester Lacey, were charged with Unauthorized Copy or Sale of Recordings.

Banks has since been cleared and was not involved in illegal activies, according to Canton Police Chief Robert Winn.

"We don't have a count at this time, but probably over $100,000 worth of equipment and CD's," said Investigator Kelvin McKenzie, as he sorted through a crate full of discs.

When police arrived at the establishment at about 11 a.m. Wednesday, the factory was up and running, so to speak; CD's were burning at the time.

Along with the stacks of music and music lists, there were countless crates full of illegally recorded movies. Some had titles of motion pictures still in the theatres, such as "Snakes on a Plane" and "You, Me & Dupree."

It didn't take long for officers to discover the business was no longer a beauty salon. "It looks to me like several months since it's been used as a beauty shop," said Chief Winn. "We don't even see a hair comb in here, or a chair or anything." Twenty-four Valium pills were also found inside a bookbag in the business. Officers say they sell for about $25-$30 on the street.

Supervisor Banks says that his son "was in the wrong place at the wrong time," and Winn later confirmed that.

Supervisor Banks has had his own brushes with the law. In 2002 he was arrested for domestic violence against his wife. In 2005 he was charged with reckless driving and having an open container in a county vehicle.

Banks, a 22-year veteran on the board, tells us charges were dropped in the open container case.

Anonymous said...

use the isaac byrd defense: i forgot

Anonymous said...

As I have stated before, the world of Mississippi is for those that are insulated from the rules.

So I guess, if I buy the last bit of soap, you are entitled because you are dirty, to my soap. As you take it from me, on my property, under the influence and screaming fire; you are still entitled, because, you know, its Mississippi. I know enough people to make it go away and toss your ass in jail for refusing to return stolen (bought-although its a fine line) property to its rightful owner.

KaptKangaroo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

7:36pm......i think you are beginning to get it!

stay tuned....

KaptKangaroo said...

April 21, 2010 4:21 PM

Is there evidence that the supervisor is still a member or manager of the LLC?

At this point, only publicly available evidence re: documents show that his is STILL a member of the LLC.

Also, since when is an LLC owning undeveloped land a "business"?

Don't mean to be mean, but this is a stupid question and stupid should hurt.

The statutes listed in the original post list corporations and partnerships as entities for which disclosure is required, and the statutes say that disclosure is also required for other "businesses." I think if you were to look at the law on the traditional meaning of "business," you would find that an LLC owning undeveloped land is not necessarily a business.

Dude, you must have one big headache.

That's not a strong argument, but any ambiguity in the law should tilt against punishing someone for violating an ambiguous law.

You must be a lawyer, or at least trying to sound like one. I am hedging because I don't want to piss of lawyers by comparing you to them. At this point, I'm not sure where to direct you, but, there is this thing called the Internets, I heard Al Gore came up with the idea.

Anonymous said...

If you can make sense of a man who bought soap, then KF...I get it. Its pretty clear the players, the deflection, the deception, the actions, and the clear fear. There is nothing to fear except fear itself, unless you are a dumbass that got caught by this very here blog. Kudos Kingfish. Alliteration intended.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if State Ethics Commission is alive and functioning? Hello!

Kingfish said...

Anyone can file a complaint according to the statutes I've read.

Anonymous said...

The State Ethics Commission is run by the brother of AG Jim Hood. This commission somehow leaked out information about our Governor about a trust account that the Gov. had. Don't expect any results from either unless you are a Republican...they don't typically go after Democrats for ethical violations. It runs in the family...Jim Hood did not want to prosecute his large campaign donors like Dickie Scruggs, doesn't want to go agaist the current administration stating the the Healthcare laws are unconstitutional... it goes on and on. He and the Rudymeister should be outlawed for the worst 80's mullets remaining!

Anonymous said...

Yep, apparently Tom Hood has no problem with TIM JOHNSON being an agent for Colonial Insurance and Madison County selecting them to provide supplemental insurance to employees!

Apparently this is one of the few times when TIM JOHNSON and KARL BANKS split on their votes. See August 18, 2008 minutes. TIM voted for Integrity Group who sponsored Colonial.

According to the Mississippi Insurance Department, TIM JOHNSON became a Colonial agent, May 1, 2007.
Lic # 7700060 Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company Active

And, interestingly, apparently there is no problem with KARL BANKS Son being an insurance agent for company that it appears Madison County also does business with...
Lic # 9800026 National Guardian Life Insurance Company Active

Anonymous said...

He started his "land deals" long before now. Check back to see who bought and owned land on Highland colony Parkway! before it was built. How much money did the county put in that project?

Anonymous said...

Heard that Tim was going to start selling insurance when his term expired for supervisor, well now more pieces fall. Truly what these supervisors have been up to will be a tangled web and will all ever come out?

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