A day after Apple announced that it will release The Banker in March, with Anthony Mackie starring as the title character, Linda Garrett has broken her silence and provided Deadline with her version of events in which she describes being unfairly omitted from the film without even being contacted to lend input.
She is the wife whom Bernard Garrett Sr. married after divorcing Eunice Garrett, the only spouse depicted in the film. Portrayed by Nia Long, the onscreen Eunice serves as Garrett Sr’s accomplice (along with the entrepreneur Joe Morris, played by Samuel L. Jackson) in buying banks in Texas using a white frontman, so that loans could be made to blacks in Texas who had been shut out of the system in the Jim Crow South. Garrett Sr and Morris eventually went to jail after they were exposed, and they were financially ruined by the scandal.
Linda Garrett is the mother of Cynthia Garrett, whose bombshell allegations that she and her sister were molested as youths by their half-brother Bernard Garrett Jr (who was co-producer but dropped from the roster following the allegations) prompted Apple to pull the film from its world premiere closing-night slot at AFI Fest last fall and a December 6 release date.
Apple declined to comment on what Mrs. Garrett writes below; an email to Garrett Jr, who has denied Cynthia Garrett’s molestation allegations, got no answer.
The filmmkers provided Deadline with the following statement:
“We understand that Linda Garrett and members of her family take issue with the fact that they were not dramatized in The Banker, and though we sympathize, we can only reiterate that our film is based almost entirely on Bernard Garrett Senior’s own narrative of his life, both in sworn testimony before the U.S. Senate in 1965 and in recorded interviews he did for the film itself. And though we were not aware of Cynthia Garrett’s allegations against Bernard Garrett Jr. until she raised them publicly shortly before the film’s release, we collectively agreed that removing his co-producer credit from the film and his financial participation from its release was the most respectful course of action. We remain hopeful that the film will bring honor to the Garrett family name, and give his heirs a long-overdue platform from which to tell his story in greater detail.”
Here’s Linda Garrett’s account:
My name is Linda Garrett. I am the woman who lived the story at the center of the film The Banker, and it is my turn to speak. Mr. Nolfi, the director of the film, and Bernie Jr are wrong to slander and attack me when my husband (the main character in the film) is not even alive to rebuke their lies and misrepresentations of him, me, our marriage and our 6 children. This story is not accurate and it certainly doesn’t have “integrity” as he claims.
I find every person involved in this film to represent vultures.
I don’t even want to write this. I think responding gives air to the opinions of people that have taken advantage of us. Bernie Jr. a producer and initiator of all this has destroyed my daughters, me, and Bernard Sr.’s whole family with his actions. We didn’t request this. Apple seems to be intent on releasing this film stolen from its victims in the worst sense of the word victim. If anyone was interested in us or the truth or in “investigating claims” not one phone call has ever been made to us.
Apple apparently has zero interest in the truth; except the truth of whether they can be sued I imagine or whether their insurance company will pay for their losses if they proceed forward in releasing this movie. They also don’t seem much interested in women or children; especially women of color with little power to defend themselves against their machine. My daughter has done nothing wrong except stand up for herself and her sister and our family against a sexual predator who has fortified himself with help from people, and companies, and corporations larger than us. So, if you want to threaten someone you come to me and leave my babies alone.
I am a 75-year-old woman who has raised my 6 kids — and a whole bunch extra. I am known and loved in my community throughout South Los Angeles. Don’t you dare mess with me. I am the last word and the only word on this story. These men clearly don’t have the wisdom or perspective to tell anybody my story and my husband’s story. Or am I to believe that these filmmakers think Bernie Jr — who was a young boy and uninvolved completely at the time of the events — knows more than I do about MY life with MY husband?! The pride they exhibit is shocking.
Please don’t tell me about audio-recordings because we have documents and hours of filmed video recordings of my husband to refute what anybody has said. My review of congressional statements that concerned MY life and MY personal experience is all that matters. I am alive. If a tiny bit of interest in the truth existed none of this would have happened. I could have spared the filmmakers millions of dollars — and my daughters’ years more intentionally inflicted pain — over this recent rape of our identity if anyone had ever tried to find me. I am living in the same home my husband helped me buy in 1978. If I were asked for the facts of our life we would not be where we are today – and we will certainly not stand by silently while Bernie Jr. profits from his actions with the help of filmmakers and film distributors acting negligently in heaping emotional turmoil on my family.
To set the record straight we all make mistakes but when you don’t respect the living you will be brought to account. My husband divorced Eunice in 1959. We met after that. He was not a millionaire when I met him as has been mistakenly stated. He had a few great assets but the bulk of his wealth was acquired after we met. This is a matter of public record. He was good friends with my Daddy Bert and I married Bernard Garrett Sr in 1962 in California. This too is a matter of public record. Whatever he began with Eunice or anybody else became mine in 1962 when we married and I became his wife. I was involved in my husband’s life on every level because he wanted it that way. Eunice and I never had beef. She couldn’t handle her son as a young man so I let him in my home for a few years. We all know how that turned out by now.
Whatever anybody else had with my husband prior to me is of no importance to me because quite simply he was my husband. We remained friends till the day he died. I helped bury him. My 6 kids, and his 2 kids with his wife after me, pooled their money to bury their father.
I worked at a bank at 54th and Broadway. My husband had an account there. That’s where we met. I know what was in his bank account and I know what color carnations he used to bring me all the time to get my attention. He was charming and tall and handsome. Tina Turner and Ike Turner used to sing at the 5-4-Ballroom next to the bank I worked at where Bernie and I met.
Eunice Garrett did not help him become the owner of any banks in Texas. That is a lie. My husband bought the Bankers Building in 1963, after we were married. I have a copy of the deed. It was my first piece of community property as his wife. I was involved in buying 4 or 5 banks, savings and loans, mortgage and finance companies, with my husband across the state of Texas in the early ’60s. This is all a matter of public record also if you know where to look and who to ask. As with all parents, our 6 children punctuated everything my husband and I did and acquired.
I am saddened that my contribution as his wife and a woman was not deemed important enough to portray accurately because if it were then this entire story would have been dealt with before the world was made privy to the pain we have endured at the hands of this film’s partner/producer and his buddies. People deserve the truth.
Bernie Jr was not casually involved as the filmmakers try to say. We have photos of Bernie Jr hanging with Mr. Nolfi and Samuel Jackson and Anthony Mackie and the actors on set. There is one with Nia Long who knows my sons from high school. Junior posted them on his Facebook page all through the last year apparently. He wore varying outfits which show he made multiple visits. I wonder how the cast feels about their photos with a known child molester being released everywhere? We know he has made money from the film because he bragged about profiting on the backend of the film to my son so releasing it lines his pockets along with his partners. And now it’ my turn to speak about the facts manipulated by this man. If I could spit, I would.
Here is the timeline of my life with my then-husband, Bernard Garrett Sr. I am older now and while my memory may be off about an exact date – it is clear about what I lived with the man I married and made 6 children with…
1962 – Bernard and I got married.
1963 – We bought The Bankers Building at 629 South Hill Street in Downtown, Los Angeles. This was my first piece of community property as his wife. My husband and I marched on Washington with MLK in August 1963. We sat third row center stage. He had many opinions that would be a little shocking to people about the times we lived in as a country back then. My husband was more interested in fighting for people of color to understand what to do with the rights men like MLK and Malcolm X were fighting for. He believed that rights meant nothing if blacks didn’t know what to do with them when they got them. If the mind was not equal and the way of thinking was enslaved, having the right to use the same toilets meant nothing. My husband was not a victim. He was a fighter. JFK was also killed in Texas in this year.
1964 – St Joseph’s Hospital, San Francisco – Cynthia was born. I watched the Beatles make their debut in America on The Ed Sullivan Show while I lay in my hospital bed. My husband was buying our first bank. I was involved in buying 4 or 5 banks and savings and loans with my husband across the state of Texas in the early ’60s. My husband supported women. He could not hire blacks in his white banks back in the ’60s so he hired white women because they too were marginalized back then. I would sit in boardrooms to help hide my husband’s color — because my face is white. By this point we all know Bernie knew how to use skin color to defeat racism by not needing to be out in front. I had no problems doing this. I was his wife. I knew Matt Steiner and Melvin Belli well. Years later, Melvin wrote my daughter Cynthia’s letters to law school and guaranteed her employment upon graduation. My husband and Joe went to Pres. Lyndon B Johnson’s birthday party in the Rice Hotel on one visit. I stayed in the room on our floor. They shouldn’t have gone to that party. LBJ told everybody about my husband’s business and soon after the run on the banks began. This was about the end of 1964. Joe really put it out there when he went on the David Susskind show. Joe Morris should have never gone on the David Susskind show and let the world know 2 black men controlled as much money as we did. All hell broke loose when he did that.
1965 – Our second child Britton, named after my husband’s father, was born while my husband was before the Senate Investigations McClellan Committee. I watched my husband on TV from my hospital bed in California having just given birth at Barstow Community Hospital. The doctors and nurses watched with me. We owned two ranches in Barstow then. A hog ranch with over 100 sows called Rainbow Ranch — and we lived on McCallister Ranch.
1966 – My husband and I had a miscarriage. IRS was on our butt. Everybody was after us. 2222 Cambridge is where we lived. We often had to rent the entire floor of The Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas in the ’60s because of race but there were men who believed that what Bernie and I experienced was wrong. Jimmy Hoffa tried to help. My daughter has hours of her father on video talking about all of this. He wanted her to have actual footage of him to share with all his kids and grandkids one day.
1967 – Our daughter Sheila was born at California Hospital downtown LA. My husband drove me to the hospital and held Sheila as an infant. He was so happy. He kept saying, “Linda look at her tiny little fingers and toes.” He told everyone, “I got to count my little girl’s fingers and toes.” He then left the very next day for sentencing in Texas. We lived on Nicolette Street at the time. My husband was sentenced to 1 year on 3 different counts running concurrently — so essentially 1 year. This said the Judge knew it was a ridiculous case about anything but bank fraud and misapplication of funds. Black men owning what my husband and Joe owned didn’t sit well with white men in the ’60s. No how no way! When you look like me you understand many things about what white men think because they speak liberally thinking you’re white.
1968 – Our 4th child, Steven, was born at Morningside Medical Hospital — we were fighting my husband’s charges and the IRS still. Then we bought a building and moved into it at 6613 South Figueroa at the time. Sheila was in a playpen. I remember because the day Bobby Kennedy was killed we watched on TV from here with my uncle Edwin Guerrier and Auntie Connie.
1969 – Our son, Christopher, was born in September 1969 — we lived at 1535 W 35th street at the time. The buildings we lived in we always owned. My husband went to Terminal Island in Long beach California. T.I. is a federal jail that resembled a resort to my kids because we could sit with dad outside, on the harbor, in the sun and watch the ships. Joe Tonahill, who defended Jack Ruby, the man who killed Lee Harvey Oswald, co-defended my husband with Melvin Belli. He wrote a letter for early release. Dated May 16, 1969. I have that letter. Joe never thought my husband was guilty and he didn’t believe Jack Ruby was guilty either. He believed that Jack Ruby was murdered. He told me.
When my husband was released from Terminal Island, we lived in Claremont on Colgate Place. My husband and I knew how to refill the financial coffers – so we went to Lincoln Savings & Loan and we took all of their REO’s off their books because they wanted to help us get back on our feet having always recognized my husband was a real estate tycoon. And we did. I became pregnant with D’Antonio, our 6th child, named after our friend D’Antonio, an Italian that my husband befriended while at Terminal Island.
1971 – D’Antonio was Born in Glendora Community Hospital on Nov. 9. We acquired a home in in Glendora from that REO list and lived in it through about 1974 at 18663 Donnington Street.
Sometime throughout these years 1971-1974, Bernie Jr began molesting my little girls. He was born in March 1956 so he would’ve been about 15-18 years old over the course of time. His actions emotionally damaged them and stole their innocence and identity from them in ways that nobody will ever truly understand. I opened my home to him and he betrayed his dad, me, the family, and God on the deepest human level possible. They were his sisters, the only girls in a family of boys, and Junior chose to use them like toilet paper.
In these years, we also began doing business and investing in The Bahamas. We were some of the first foreign investors there after their independence from England. Pinland was the Prime Minister. We bought the Running Mon Marina a large boat marina and resort on the island of Freeport.
1974 – My husband and I moved with our 6 kids to the Bahamas. I guess the girls were relieved that we left Bernie Jr behind. My husband thought working in a black country with black men would bring peace at last. What we found is that the color of a man’s skin doesn’t matter. Crooked is crooked in all colors. Ignorance is ignorance in all colors.
1976 – I moved to Barstow, California with my parents. I was exhausted from years of moving my kids and fighting systems as a way of life. I wanted to go to Little League games and have one home for my children. I wanted them educated and settled down. My husband was a serial entrepreneur and dreamer. I understood that. We chose to separate and eventually divorce.
1977 – My husband and I divorced.
1978 – My husband helped me buy a home on West 59th Street in what is called Windsor Hills in Los Angeles. I raised my kids here and still live here today. My husband and I remained close till he died. He went to heaven and got Cynthia that NBC show. He was so proud of who she was. He used to say, I love seeing my last name up there on the TV screen. He watched everything she did.
2019 – I discover that our life had been taken and co-opted into a movie called The Banker by Bernie Jr. the man who sexually abused my daughters before figuring out how to steal our story for himself for profit. He had help. We have proof of that too. Apple’s investigation couldn’t have been too thorough because some people with a conscience have come forward. I wondered how this could be possible that he could steal from us yet again. I wondered how anybody could have been fooled by him, or worked together with him knowingly, to assist him in profiting after sexually abusing my girls and taking their identities years prior as well. Sexual predators should not be allowed to make a profit off of those from whom they’ve taken and abused.
He should legally be in jail. Yet, rather than get away with what he did and thank God we never prosecuted him he’s out taking his victims’ life stories and making movies about them.
We will not just shut up and go away. Every member of our family has a story to share and we have nearly two months to now come forward. In Bernie Jr’s public denial which is filled with lies about me and my daughters he disparaged me as a cheater in our marriage. That’s a lie. He accused my daughter of being told “no” by her daddy to some movie rights! That’s a lie and Lord knows, that’s a joke. Cynthia never heard the word no for anything from her father in her life. He doted on her. It would have been nice if Apple reached out and heard us. It would have been nice to see them listen to the victims – our family who didn’t want any of this.
But, we will never sit by silently while this continued abuse happens. Never. Even our governor, Gavin Newsom, has heard the cries of grown-ups who have carried the pain of childhood sexual abuse and has chosen to stand with them against their predators and anyone who assists them in hiding.
My name is Linda Marie Garrett and now I have spoken!