Just because Banks is on the front page of ESPN and he is getting NFL tryouts, that doesn’t mean we can relax. It is more important now than ever that we push to make sure Wanetta Gibson and her mom Wanda Rhodes are punished for what they did to this young man.
I will continue to post details of their horrific activities until justice is served.
The teenager whose lies landed a budding football star in prison for rape was pushed along by a mother hell-bent on getting rich off a lawsuit settlement, The Daily has learned.
After Wanetta Gibson falsely accused her classmate, Brian Banks, of attacking her at their school, she and her mother, Wanda Rhodes, sued the Long Beach Unified School District for allowing the alleged crime to happen on campus.
Banks took a plea deal that put him behind bars for five years, the school district settled the lawsuit for $1.5 million and the women went on a wild spending spree with their share of the settlement — without showing an ounce of remorse.
“The mom was buying cars, big screen TVs and all sorts of things,” a former neighbor said of Rhodes. “One time Wanetta came up here with a wad of cash — she had $10,000 in her hand.”
“She showed up with a brand new Altima with some great rims,” said the neighbor, who asked not to be identified. “And she bought her mom a Suburban and a Dodge.”
Rhodes, now 52, was greedy and “the type of person where money was everything,” said another neighbor, named Terrell, who would not give his last name. “The mom was really controlling.”
Gibson maintained she was a virgin when Banks raped her in 2002, but those who knew her didn’t believe her claim.
“I knew her in high school and I knew Brian,” Terrell said. “She had a reputation…. And I know Brian, there’s no way he’s going to do something like that.”
Gibson has never married but has two children by different men, the neighbors said. Although now 26, she still lives with her mother, who has a stranglehold over her life.
“She was put up to this by her mother; (Wanetta) was only a teenager at the time,” said attorney Alissa Bjerkhoel of the California Innocence Project.
The neighbor said, “Wanetta wasn’t bright enough to think that up.”
Despite the settlement, the pair continued to live in a squalid apartment complex in a neighborhood where bars on the windows and metal security doors are commonplace. Weeds substitute for front lawns.
Today, after frittering away their money, the women move from one place to another, always a step ahead of debt collectors slapping them with liens, public records show. Rhodes has a lengthy rap sheet, including assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, drug offenses and stalking.
Gibson and Rhodes continue to live in the shadows, untraceable and vilified for robbing a promising athlete of a college education and an NFL career.
“They don’t even have those cars, the bill collectors came and repossessed them,” the neighbor said. “Then they started selling everything. I remember Wanetta came up here and asked me if I wanted her kids’ new PlayStation for 50 bucks.”
These are the faces of evil.
Do not forget them and make sure they pay for everything that they have done to this young man Brian Banks.
My mission will not be complete until they are behind bars, something that the mother is use to already.