'Bow-Tie Boy' and pageant organizer say promises broken

An ABC 7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The owner of an entertainment and fashion website promising to make money for artists and designers on business deals is accused of not delivering.

A child fashion designer and others were banking on Joshua Banks, known as D, to make them money. Critics said the owner of a media website uses "connections" with area sports figured to generate business.

The problem? Some people tell the I-Team that Banks doesn't fulfill his end of the deal.

A 10-year-old bow tie designer, a former Bears player Desmond Clark and a woman who runs a teenage pageant all have a common connection: D. Joshua Banks, owner of the Scene Chicago website.

"I was crushed more so that I got scammed but that Maverick is learning a lesson very early in life," said Lisa Mecheau.

Maverick the bow tie maker and his mom, Lisa Mecheau, have a July 2016 contract with Scene Chicago and paid Banks $5,000. The contract said Banks would seek out designer fashion show opportunities, market and advertise Maverick's portfolio and assist "with different marketing management functions, and store placement."

"The fishy part started almost at the beginning because we got the check to him and then it seemed like things slowed down nothing happened," said Mecheau.

Mecheau claims nothing came from the deal -- besides a few articles posted on Scene Chicago.

"But the Michael Jordan thing was still moving along," she said.

That's right...she said Michael Jordan. It wasn't in the contract, but she said Banks promised her and Maverick a partnership with Jordan. There were multiple Facebook instant messenger texts from Banks:

Banks: "I haven't heard from MJ yet."

Banks: "Mike's willing to put 100 k..."

But the I-Team confirmed through Michael Jordan's reps that Jordan does not know Banks and there is no bow tie contract.

Janie Lopez paid Banks and Scene Chicago $20,000 in October of 2015 in consulting fees. She thought that money was going to secure up to $100,000 in sponsors for the Miss Planetary Scholarship Pageant charity. The agreement, however, does not make that promise.

"He preys on people's hearts and willingness to help others," said Lopez.

And there are claims from this former Chicago Bears player...

"We hosted three parties there three Monday nights, money was raised and I got a call back from Ronald MacDonald House asking me 'Hey, I haven't heard anything about money raised, how much is it, when are we going to see a check?" said Desmond Clark.

Clark alleges that Banks never passed along that charity money. The Ronald McDonald house told the I-Team it has no record of the donation.

"My name was on the line and one of the things that I live by is that my name," Clark said.

Banks did not return the I-Team's calls and he "refused" a UPS letter, which got sent back to us. But we found him as he was enjoying a walk behind the gates of his Washington Park condo complex.

Jason Knowles: "Mr. Banks, can we ask you some questions about your contracts?"

Banks dashed to his condo and ran into a car, hiding his face.

An interview posted on the Scene Chicago Facebook page shows an interview with Banks.

"We are about entertainment, arts, for all walks of life and all people," said Banks.

Scene Chicago is not associated with the well-known entertainment website and magazine, Chicago Scene.

"There is someone out there using a name very similar to ours that potentially has some problems to deal with," said Kenneth Monro of Chicago Scene.

One, setting back the dreams of this 10-year-old boy.

"My goals for my business is to have my business all around the world so everyone can wear bow ties," said Maverick.

The I-Team also hand-delivered a letter and emailed Banks with a summary of the allegations listed in our report. He has not yet commented.

When you are entering any business deal, remember all that matters is what's written in the contract. Any other verbal agreement may legally not have to be fulfilled.

You should also try to avoid paying for all services upfront.

The two consumers in our report filed complaints with the attorney general's office.
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