Kevin Cohee

*Kevin L. Cohee, the banker at the center of the Rep. Maxine Waters ethics controversy is firing back at his critics, saying sex and drug cases against him were “unequivocally dropped” and that the decision by his institution not to make home loans in some low-income neighborhoods was financially prudent, reports the LA Times.

Cohee, OneUnited Bank Chairman and its Chief Executive, declined to talk about Waters, saying he wouldn’t discuss pending legal matters. He said that would have to wait for resolution of House Ethics Committee charges that the longtime congresswoman from South Los Angeles intervened improperly with the Treasury Department on his behalf after his bank suffered huge losses at the height of the financial crisis. The bank received $12 million in federal bailout funds that it has yet to repay.

“We’ve been taking an unfair pounding,” Cohee said in a telephone interview Thursday from near Boston, where OneUnited is based. “I’m not a bad guy. We’re not bad people. We’ve spent our entire lives trying to make a positive difference in the world. And we’re going to continue to build OneUnited into black America’s bank.”

The Times reported Wednesday that the black-owned bank, which has touted itself as a financial institution for the underserved, financed a luxurious lifestyle for Cohee that included a Porsche and a $6.4-million Santa Monica beach house, despite his having a record that includes arrests and allegations of drug use.

The story also reported that OneUnited had failed a federally required test for lending in low-income neighborhoods in Florida. Critics quoted in the story said the bank was a weak performer and had abandoned its stated mission to serve inner-city customers.

Read MORE of this LA Times report HERE.