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Larry Langford Arrested by FBI

December 1st, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford was arrested this morning on over 101 counts of Bribery, Fraud, Conspiracy, Filing False Tax Returns, in the 101 count indictment of Larry P Langford and Friends.

Langford’s indictment comes as no surprise with the waning hours of the US District Attorney’s office likely to undergo change in January.  The Indictment also includes Langford’s Friends William Blount and Al LaPierre.

Birmingham’s NBC 13 Broke the news story a few hours ago:

Breaking News: Langford, LaPierre, Blount face 101-count federal indictment

Breaking News: Langford, LaPierre, Blount face 101-count federal indictmentAndrea Lindenberg and Rod Carter
Published: December 1, 2008

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford was arrested Monday and the 101-count indictment against him has been unsealed.

This morning, U.S. Attorney Alice Martin announced that Langford, along with friend Al LaPierre and businessman Bill Blount, face charges of conspiracy, bribery, fraud, money laundering and filing false tax returns.

Langford was taken into custody at his job at Birmingham Budweiser Distributing. LaPierre turned himself in. Blount was expected to do the same.

Martin said Langford, as president of the Jefferson County Commission, steered $7.1 million in business to Bill Blount’s investment banking firm Blount Parrish. Martin said that in exchange, Blount ensured Langford’s “crushing debt” to the tune of $235,000.

During the news conference Martin said Langford received bribes from Blount—through friend Al LaPierre—to buy clothes and jewelry from expensive New York boutiques and high-end stores in Birmingham as well.

Martin said that between 2003 and 2006, Blount paid for about $235,000 in clothing, jewelry and charge account bills for Langford.

The U.S. Attorney also said that Blount gave Langford a $11,000 Rolex watch.

Another accusation is that Bill Blount engineered a personal loan from Colonial Bank for Langford, who defaulted on the loan. Then, Martin said, Blount set up a loan for LaPierre at the same same bank to pay off Langford’s original loan.

Martin said it was all in return for steering Jefferson County bond business to Blount’s Montgomery firm, including the multi-billion dollar sewer bond business.

She said, “He (Langford) sold his public office to a friend.”

Reginald McDanial with the Internal Revenue Service said, it was a “textbook, tax fraud scheme.” He went on to say, “all money is taxable, even money from illegal activity is taxable.”

On Monday morning, Deborah Vance with the mayor’s office released a statement which said in part:

“This is certainly no surprise to us—we anticipated something happening soon especially knowing Alice Martin’s days in office are numbered with the swearing in of a new president in late January—just a little over a month from now.”

Langford was set to make a first appearance Monday morning at 10 a.m.

  1. December 2nd, 2008 at 02:01 | #1

    Birmingham is making front page news of CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/12/01/birmingham.mayor/index.html

  2. Will
    January 4th, 2009 at 17:18 | #2

    (Dec. 2008 -LARRY LANGFORD, AL LaPIERRE, and WILLIAM BLOUNT arrested)

    In 2007 Langford was investigated by the SEC on corruption charges. In 2008 a lawsuit was filed against him for illegally accepting $156,000 in cash and benefits.

    On the morning of December 1, 2008, Larry Langford was arrested by the FBI on a 101 count indictment alleging conspiracy, bribery, fraud, money laundering, and filing false tax returns in connection with a long-running bribery scheme. Also indicted were lobbyist and former state Democratic Party executive director Al LaPierre, and Montgomery investment banker and bond underwriter, and former state Democratic Party chairman, William Blount of Parrish & Co.

    While Langford was head of the Jefferson County commission, he engaged in a variable rate auction, and bond swaps, to raise money to help improve the county’s sewer system. During that time, Langford is alleged to have received $235,000 in bribes from Blount, some routed through Al LaPierre, to help influence the bond deals. According to the indictment, William Blount helped Langford receive a $50,000 loan, paid for jewelry, including a Rolex watch, and designer clothes. Blount’s firm earned $7.1 million in fees from the bond deals while LaPierre was paid $219,500 by Blount for his help the scheme. Jefferson County banks made approximately $120 million by encouraging the county to refinance nearly all of its bonds using swaps. The result of the bonds has resulted in a $3.2 billion sewer debt which now threatens to bankrupt the county. The government is currently seeking $7.6 million in forfeiture from the three men.

    LaPierre pleaded not guilty and will be released on a $50,000 bond secured by property. Langford also pleaded not guilty and has been released on a $50,000 non-surety bond.

    While Langford was head of the Jefferson County commission, he engaged in a variable rate auction, and bond swaps, to raise money to help improve the county’s sewer system. During that time, Langford is alleged to have received $235,000 in bribes from Blount, some routed through Al LaPierre, to help influence the bond deals. According to the indictment, William Blount helped Langford receive a $50,000 loan, paid for jewelry, including a Rolex watch, and designer clothes. Blount’s firm earned $7.1 million in fees from the bond deals while LaPierre was paid $219,500 by Blount for his help the scheme. Jefferson County banks made approximately $120 million by encouraging the county to refinance nearly all of its bonds using swaps. The result of the bonds has resulted in a $3.2 billion sewer debt which now threatens to bankrupt the county. The government is currently seeking $7.6 million in forfeiture from the three men.

    LaPierre pleaded not guilty and will be released on a $50,000 bond secured by property. Langford also pleaded not guilty and has been released on a $50,000 non-surety bond. He is forbidden to travel outside of the Northern District of Alabama without prior approval from the court.

    I have a problem with the recent Larry Langford arrest and entire ordeal of him being in a public office. Unfortunately, I do work in Jefferson County, but live in Shelby County, so I was not afforded the luxury of choosing to vote for someone else in the Jefferson County Mayoral election. I am now forced to suffer like everyone else when Langford makes poor decisions and spends taxpayer’s money in ways that should be, or are, illegal.

    Considering the evidence that he was living in Fairfield (football games ordered to his residence) when he was elected Mayor of Birmingham and not in a Birmingham apartment as a resident of this city, his career began with legal troubles and appears to be getting worse. His career as Mayor of Fairfield seems to mirror his improprieties as current Mayor of Birmingham. Lets see: In 1996 Langford and LaPierre (also recently arrested) work together to petition legislation and the community to support building Visionland, a multi-million dollar project/amusement park, in the Fairfield area. Visionland was built by Blount Parrish, (aka “William ‘Bill’ Blount”) in 1998 and by 2002; it declared bankruptcy with a $100 million debt. It seems Visionland’s failure was that it was too big and expensive for the local community and state to support the park’s expenses and overhead to make a profit, or just break even.

    I have a few questions about his new amusement project, aka “The Dome”:
    1) How much is the Dome going to cost and where is all the money coming from?
    2) Who is building it and has Langford asked them for any personal loans yet?
    3) Since Birmingham and the state of Alabama for that matter do not have any Professional sports teams, where is the revenue to operate going to come from? Ruben Studdard or Bo Bice concerts? Can the Papa Johns Bowl with 38,000 in attendance produce enough revenue to support this massive money pit?

    Ok, back to Langford… He takes the Fairfield Mayor office with a $70,000 personal debt, so his buddy, LaPierre (aka “VictoryLand”) convinced Colonial Bank to give Langford a $50,000 six-month loan to pay towards his $70,000 debt. Langford is unable to repay Colonial Bank, so he asks William Blount (aka “VictoryLand”) for a $150,000 personal loan to repay Colonial and tells Blount that he can pay him back when a piece of property in Hoover sells, which Langford states he has an interest in.. Langford’s attorney stated he (Langford) did not put any of his own money into this property, so how does he have an interest in it, or why would he profit from its sale?

    Langford moves from Fairfield Mayor to work on the Jefferson County commission from 2002-2006. The Jefferson County sewer junk bonds are now sold at this time under the care and direction of the Commissioner, Larry Langford. These sewer bonds are now worthless and the JeffCo Sewer board is seeking to declare bankruptcy on 3.2 Billion dollars in worthless investments. Again, Langford was a key participant in the decision-making of the offering and sale of these bonds/investments and the resultant failure and need to seek bankruptcy protection from the courts in hopes of a future for the company (see also Visionland). The recent arrest of Larry Langford is a step in the right direction. He needs to be removed from office before he bankrupts the entire county of Jefferson and possibly surrounding counties that are currently struggling for capital and may fall to the guise of a “good investment” –as per the Mayor’s office.

    Do not get me wrong, I would love to see a “Dome” (although recent architectural designs indicate it will not even have a domed roof) and a Professional sports team come to Birmingham… The Birmingham Barons did not work out, even with the help of #23, Michael Jordan. Maybe we could be called the Birmingham Bonds (never mind, that is bound for failure and bankruptcy), the Vulcans (nevermind, that is our one claim to fame and it took 10 years just to get him back up), The Steel City (nevermind, most of the Steel factories have closed, but the Sloss Furnace now doubles as a haunted house on Halloween, occasional rock concert, and a BBQ festival!!), I think Larry’s Losers or LaLa’s Lawsuits would be most fitting.. Point is, at this time Birmingham can not support a DOME (Did Our Money Evaporate?) and Langford should not be in a public office or anywhere near the reins of this project… Based on his past business ventures and corrupt involvements, it will cost a lot of money, will be built by his friends, it will go bankrupt within a few years, and he will come out wearing a new Rolex and Burberry scarf..
    Good luck and God Bless you Birmingham and Jefferson County, I am glad to say that neither myself or my neighbors in Shelby County had anything to do with this.

    References:

    USA vs Larry P Langford, William B Blount, Blount Parrish & Co. Inc, and Albert W Lapierre
    Copy of indictment from the Birmingham News
    http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSTRE4B045V20081201
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=agT26ZZSbwXY&refer=us
    http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/12/01/america/NA-US-Mayor-Arrest.php
    http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2008/12/birmingham_mayor_larry_langfor_16.html
    http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2008/12/birmingham_mayor_larry_langfor_16.html
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601015&sid=adq8QPXJc5zo&refer=munibonds

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