December 2, 2008

Perp Walk: Larry Langford (Birmingham Mayor)


Did you see where the feds arrested the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, yesterday? It turns out that Mayor Larry Langford for his part in a corruption probe surrounding a massive sewer bond debt that has forced Jefferson County to the brink of bankruptcy.

The US Attorney indicted Mayor Langford on 60 counts including bribery, conspiracy and filing false tax returns. Langford's friends involved in this scheme are investment banker William Blount and lobbyist Al LaPierre. The government said it was also seeking $7.6 million in forfeiture from the three men.

Blount’s company profited from collecting fees recommended by Langford in the sewer bond transactions.

One of the consequences from the Mayor's criminal activities is that Alabama’s Jefferson County — of which Birmingham is the main city — is fighting to stave off what would be the largest bankruptcy in U.S. municipal history over its sewer debt.

He sold out his public office to his friends Blount and LaPierre for about $235,000 in expensive clothes, watches and cash to pay his growing personal debt. All the while, Blount was paid fees topping $7 million,” said US Attorney Alice Martin.

Ms. Martin continued, “Through a web of financing agreements Langford required many institutions to use Blount as a consultant so Blount would make fees and in turn pay off Langford. It was a classic pay-to-play scheme.”

In May the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit accusing Langford of receiving and not disclosing a $156,000 illegal payment.
Langford sat on Jefferson’s county commission from 2002 to 2006 and was its president. He became Birmingham mayor in 2006.

Do any villagers have any thoughts on this mayor-gone-bad? When will our public leaders recognize that they are not above the law?

10 comments:

HD Notes said...

I have not seen the same level of arrests at Wall Street, and beyond, who have collectively taken over 4 trillion dollars over the past two years of public debt and investment.

As the subprime and non-traditional mortgage foreclosure "tsunami" towers over us, regulators and players in the securitization process continue to turn a blind eye to consumer and community needs. US taxpayers are "bailing out" Wall Street and financial institutions at an unprecedented level.

But at what cost? And do we have any greater consumer protections, bankruptcy reform, or fair lending oversight as a result?

To get answers to these questions, join us for an informative Webinar that will review fair lending enforcement techniques and policy recommendations, including NCRC's [Cincinnati Change's is member organization] recent civil rights filing against the credit-rating agencies Moody's and Fitch. This Webinar will evoke meaningful discussion that will be shared with the incoming Administration to promote economic recovery for all Americans.

You may attend in via webinar to morrow just drop me mail at natichange@gmail.com if you want to watch.

Villager said...

Herschel - My grandfather once gave me wise counsel. He told me to never think that I could get away with the same stuff that a white man can get away with. Back in the day we lived by the credo, 'do twice as much to get half as far'. I'm thinking we need to keep that credo in our mind even today...

Esquire said...

Villager - definitely sound advice from your grandfather.

HD Notes said...

On Nov. 4ht 2008 at 11 Pm that world changed.

hershel

HD Notes said...

Sorry, I never had my granddad tell me that cause he died a before I knew him after serving and being gassed on WWI.

My dad was with FHA in 50's after training for Korea and HUD after that as a SES with Cincinnati as a territory so I saw first hand the racism in the industry. Up until his death in 1996 he challenged the system, from within and then through his apprentices.

As for me, after being on the staff of a African nations consulate here and living in Egypt I know that the statement is not true worldwide.

So when Cincinnati Change was organized in 1998 by Wanda J Andrews {Daniels] with 5 neighborhoods, the CAA and the city at Mt. St. joe it was in mind we can make a change. It may have taken 20 years buy we have that change.

This is a fight we have been in since I came to Cincinnati 12 years ago. Through our then Chairman Fred Hargrove, Sr. PE MBA, Cincinnati Change, started our support of Obama in Iowa in July 2007, even though we had had Senator Clinton as our keynote speaker at NCRC in 2007.

Now we have to pick up on all that we have won and run it to the fullest as the economic systems of the world are reset. It is time for change and those who can bring it about must come together for it.

This why with NCRC next week we are calling for a week of action on the financial system leading up to our meeting in 1st qtr 2009 with the nations leading banks and the federal reserve.

SjP said...

I think, unfortunately Villager, that public official have always become corrupt with the power they have or think they have. Don't think that will ever change. But, our job as citizens is to call them out when it happens. Good calling them out!

Black on Campus said...

I agree with SjP. Far too many public officials become seem to lose touch with reality as soon as they give a little power; and then they apparently believe that they can get away with anything!

I am always disappointed when I hear that African American officials are behaving in this matter because it bespeaks a total lack of a sense of accountability to the larger Black community. This is especially true for Black appointed and elected officials in majority Black cities.

Can someone say Kwame Kilpatrick?

Villager said...

Sojourner & Ajuan - The sad thing is that we have vast majority of Black politicians that serve their constituents well. It just seems to set us back when Kwame and this Larry Langford do as they have done. Very sad...

Esquire & Herschel - Asante sana for sharing your village voice with us...

unmitigatedword said...

For one, this moron has ruined most of Birmingham's chances of hosting the Olympics in 2020 (as if the city actually had a chance to begin with. How many southern cities outside of Atlanta or Miami would ever get that honor. But I digress.). But most of all, I'm concerned about the ecomonic prospects that will likely be negatively affected with Langford's legal problems. How many businesses would willingly move to Birmingham with Larry the Lawbreaker running things? Before we were figuratively examining how Langford drove the city down the toilet, he was literally doing it.

Being a Michigander, this story is eerily close to another certain black mayor screwing things up for a major US city in decline. Except, Langford's vice doesn't come in form of a staff aid and illicit text messages.

...or does it?

Andre

Villager said...

Andre - No doubt that this story resonates much the same way that it did with the mayor of Detroit. Very sad to see. Quite frankly, I never head of Larry Langford until this week...