City councilman accused of threatening activist

City councilman accused of threatening activist

By Mike Mason. CREATED Apr 24, 2012

FORT MYERS - A local community activist claims a Fort Myers official threatened his life and now the Lee County Sheriff's Office is investigating. City councilman Forrest Banks is accused of making that threat. Four in your Corner's Mike Mason tried to catch up with him to find out what happened.

A city employee reports hearing Forrest Banks make that threat but so far we haven't been able to get his side of the story. We know it's being investigated but, at this point, Banks has not been charged with a crime.

Local community activist, Anthony Thomas, says he was shaken up when he heard a Fort Myers city councilman had threatened his life.

Anthony Thomas: "I got a tip that Forrest Banks had made a threat against me to some of his staff members.”

Thomas claims councilman Forrest Banks threatened to kill him because Thomas is planning a petition drive in an attempt to oust banks from his council seat. Thomas says he found out about Banks threat after a city employee filed a complaint with the city’s Human Resources Department earlier this month, claiming she heard Forrest Banks openly threatening Thomas.

She said Banks stated Thomas would have to gather signatures from residents of Ward 5 in order to unseat him and quote, "Anthony had better be careful because some of his friends lived there and some of those old boys wouldn't like it and he, (Thomas) will end up in a ditch somewhere."

Thomas says when he later saw that report he took this threat very seriously.

Anthony Thomas: "we're not going to allow Forrest Banks to threaten my life and as a result stop us from exercising our constitutional right to recall him."

Thomas filed a report with the Lee County Sheriff's Office, writing councilman Banks, "Stated in front of two city employees that if he showed up in his neighborhood with his petition he probably would end up in a ditch dead."

Thomas says he also called Banks at home but Banks said he wasn't serious about the threat. We wanted to gets Bank’s side of the story so we went to his house, just off Macgregor Boulevard, but no luck. We also left him three phone messages but never heard back. Thomas says he's shocked to hear about something like this, especially from a sitting city councilman.

Anthony Thomas: "I think he's taken our recall effort very seriously so I'm going to take his threat to my life very serious."

The city clerk's office tells us a deputy recently met with the city's Human Resource Director and the employee who witnessed the threat allegedly made by Banks.We'll let you know how it all turns out.