Though he now lives in Lexington, Jimmy Lou Banks has been making his presence felt in Danville since being released on bond last week from the Fayette County Detention Center, where he was being held on a drug trafficking charge.
On May 17, the day after his release, Banks and his wife Regina were at the Boyle County Courthouse to post bond for Banks’ stepson, who had been jailed at the Boyle County Detention Center since Feb. 28 related to a charge of possession of oxycontin.
The next day, Banks erected a large, highly visible sign in front of his former home at the corner of North Third Street and Lexington Avenue that demeans an Advocate-Messenger reporter who had written about Banks’ arrest in Lexington on May 9, when detectives raided his home and seized multiple oxycontin pills and nearly $5,000 cash, and charged him with trafficking.
On Tuesday, Banks had a conversation with Danville Code Enforcement Officer Tom Broach during which he threatened the newspaper office. Danville City Manager Ron Scott deemed the threat credible enough that he warned The Advocate, which then took precautionary security measures.
“ ... Banks stated he is tired of the paper and he may just go in down there and he and a lot of people may not come out,” Broach’s report on the incident states.
Later Tuesday, Banks went to city hall, where he “asked if anyone wanted to buy some drugs” as he entered, according to a memo sent to Scott. Banks then stopped by the planning and zoning office, where he inquired about “how many families could live in his home at Third and Lexington,” and then became upset when told it was zoned as a single-family residence.
“Mr. Banks then said he is going to allow ‘a bunch’ of Mexicans to move into the house because he is going to make his neighbors purchase the property,” the memo states. “He said, ‘I will make them buy this property even if I have to start breaking out the windows.’”
None of Banks’ actions since his release have led to criminal charges. Nor do they appear to violate the conditions imposed on Banks when he bonded out of jail.
Fayette District Judge T. Bruce Bell reduced Banks’ bond from $10,000 full cash to $5,000 during a preliminary hearing on the trafficking charge on May 16. Bell also put Banks on electronic monitoring, but court documents show the monitoring requirement does not restrict Banks’ travel, impose a curfew or subject him to random drug testing; it only requires that he has no further violations of the law and report to pretrial services as ordered.
Banks’ behavior over the past 10 days has raised eyebrows and caution flags, even among those who have come to his defense in the past. Tim Montgomery, who has publicly supported Banks and served as his confidant, said their relationship has been “strained” since Banks was arrested on the trafficking charge.
“It’s difficult to be supportive of him right now,” Montgomery said Thursday. “He’s way too high profile.”
Though he called Banks’ recent actions “unnecessary” and “unfortunate,” Montgomery — a CPA, member of the Danville school board, chairman of the county Republican Party and one of the largest individual property owners in town — posted the property at 250 N. Third St. as bond so that Banks’ stepson, Robert D. Martin, could be released from jail on May 17.
Martin, 20, who lived at the North Third Street address, was indicted by a Boyle County grand jury in January for alleged possession of oxycontin and driving under the influence. According to the arrest citation, Danville Police Officer Pedro Lemos investigated a report of a man sleeping in a running vehicle at Banks’ address and arrived to find Martin passed out behind the wheel with the car in drive and his foot on the brake. After smelling marijuana, Lemos searched Martin and found 2 1⁄2 oxycontin tablets, the citation states. Martin then told Lemos he had snorted the other half a pill earlier in the night.
Regina Banks posted a $5,000 bond on Feb. 7 to get her son out of jail, but Martin was arrested again on Feb. 28 after a random drug screen tested positive for oxycontin, court records show. He remained in the Boyle County Detention Center until May 17, when he was bonded out with Montgomery’s help.
Martin is scheduled to enter a guilty plea in Boyle Circuit Court on June 7, according to court records.
Montgomery said he signed his name to the bond form because Banks is buying the Third Street property from him on a land contract and he considers it Banks’ property even though he still holds the deed. Banks owes about $80,000 in the deal, but has made timely payments and made significant improvements to the home, Montgomery said.
“He pays perfect. He’s made a lot of improvements. There are no issues. When the loan is paid off, the property becomes his,” Montgomery explained. “It’s his house. Why would I restrict access to his assets? I didn’t compromise my equity. I didn’t give him anything that belongs to Tim Montgomery. It’s his property. It was the right thing to do.”
After Banks’ court hearing in Lexington last week, his attorney, Sean Marcum, declined to comment about the case. The sign erected in Banks’ front yard last week states, “The only medication taken from my home was my prescription.”
According to court records filed in Banks’ drug trafficking case, Kentucky State Police detectives had Banks under surveillance for suspected drug activity for two years, based on information that he traveled out of state to obtain large quantities of oxycontin and used his family, including a juvenile son, to assist in selling the pills.
Banks moved from Danville to Lexington two or three months ago, and detectives continued to monitor his activities. On May 8, a confidential informant carrying marked “buy money” traveled from Junction City with two other people to Banks’ Lexington home to buy oxycontin, court records state. After the transaction was completed, the vehicle was pulled over and oxycontin pills were recovered in a search, records state.