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Governor asked to suspend city councilman

Governor asked to suspend city councilman

By Mike Mason. CREATED May 1, 2012

FORT MYERS - New information tonight about an alleged death threat made by a Fort Myers city councilman. A civil rights group is now demanding the Governor suspend Forrest Banks immediately. Four in your Corner investigator Mike Mason is showing you why.

A letter was written today by the President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, or SCLC. He wants Banks removed from office and tonight, there's also a new twist in the Sheriff's investigation.

Willie Green: "Let the people know this is unacceptable, it’s illegal."

President of Lee County's SCLC, Willie Green, wrote a letter to the Governor stating: "There are 3 offenses that we believe demand of you to suspend councilman Banks immediately from office. First, is Banks' repeated sexual harassment of his assistant over a period of months. Secondly, councilman Banks has been harassing another city employee....creating a hostile work environment. Lastly, Banks recently threatened to have a community leader killed for his efforts to investigate the councilman's past conduct....and his efforts to initiate a recall petition to remove Banks from office."

Willie Green: "God only knows how much money it's going to cost the taxpayers of the city of Fort Myers, whom I happen to be one, to settle this foolishness. We don't need that."
Mike Mason: "You mean like a lawsuit?"
Willie Green: "It's going to be a lawsuit no doubt about it."

Green says Banks recently threatened activist Anthony Thomas, warning him against going into his District, Ward 5, to organize a petition drive in hopes of recalling Banks. In a report sent to the city’s Human Resources department last month, a city employee says she overheard Banks saying quote: 'Anthony had better be careful because some of (Forrest Banks) friends lived there and some of those old boys wouldn't like it and (Thomas) will end up in a ditch somewhere.'

Mike Mason: "Saying that somebody should end up in a ditch somewhere?"
Forrest Banks: "Figure of speech, just talking."

Sheriff Mike Scott: "Potentially what was said could be a crime and could be pursued as such. There's consequences for these things so we'll see how this plays out."

Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott  is investigating the alleged threat.. Today he told us deputies tried to speak with Banks but "Banks declined to be interviewed."

Willie Green: "What I would say to Mister Banks; Mister Forrest Banks be a gentleman, pack up and go, just quit."

We left messages for councilman Banks, the Mayor and City Manager Billy Mitchell. None of them called us back. Sheriff Scott says the State Attorney will have to decide whether to file criminal charges against councilman Banks.