A longtime Wayne County Commissioner is fighting to stay on the upcoming August primary ballot after the Wayne County Clerk found that his overdue campaign finance reports from nearly 10 years ago made him ineligible.
If the removal of Commissioner Tim Killeen, D-Detroit, stands, it would leave former state Rep. Brian Banks as the lone choice for voters in the Democratic primary for the commission spot representing the county’s District 1. It includes parts of Detroit’s east side, Harper Woods and the Grosse Pointes.
Banks, of Grosse Pointe, stepped down from the state legislature in 2017, after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of falsifying documents to obtain a $3,000 loan from a Detroit-area credit union.
Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett determined that Killeen wasn’t eligible for the ballot after reviewing a challenge from Detroit resident Nicole Jones-Calloway, according to a letter from Garrett dated May 18. Garrett wrote that she determined Killeen had campaign finance statements from 2013 and 2014 that were outstanding, according to Garrett’s letter to Jones-Calloway.
Michigan law requires candidates be current on all campaign finance statements, fines and other filings when filing to run for office.
Killeen, who has been a Wayne County commissioner since 2007, told the Free Press he disagrees with the findings and filed a lawsuit on Thursday to reverse the decision. The primary is Aug. 2.
“We’re going to let the court filings and judge’s orders speak for themselves,” Killeen said. “That’s all we need to do. Everything else is rumor-mongering.”
Garrett could not be reached Friday for comment.
Banks said he supports the clerk’s decision.
“I believe it’s time for some new, bold (and) fresh leadership. I, along with other candidates have to follow Michigan campaign finance laws and I respect the decision of the Wayne County Clerk’s office,” Banks said.
Grosse Pointe Woods John Barry Anderson is running unopposed in the Republican primary for the commission seat.
Banks, who was first elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2012, has a criminal history with eight felony convictions for a series of financial crimes, including for credit card fraud and writing bad checks between 1998 and 2004.
Felony convictions while in elected office also can result in a candidate being removed from ballot, as former Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers found last week.
Garrett booted Conyers’ from the ballot for Wayne County Executive, citing state law barring people from running for office for 20 years if they were convicted of a felony that breaches of public trust while they were an elected official.
In 2009, Conyers pleaded guilty to using her position on council and a city pension fund board to solicit bribes from businessmen seeking city contracts or pension deals.
Dana Afana is the Detroit city hall reporter for the Free Press. Contact Dana: firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-635-3491. Follow her on Twitter: @DanaAfana.