Val Walton, Birmingham News, December 1, 2008
Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford was arrested this morning on federal charges and is being held at the federal courthouse, the FBI and other federal officials confirm.
A special grand jury for several months has been investigating county bond deals and Langford’s financial dealings. Langford was Jefferson County Commission president 2002-06.
Al LaPierre, a close friend of Langford’s who also was part of the federal investigation, will be surrendering today, said his attorney, Tommy Spina.
David McKnight, Montgomery banker Bill Blount’s attorney, said Blount is on his way to Birmingham from Montgomery to surrender.
The Langford, LaPierre and Blount indictments are under seal, so details of the charges are not available.
Langford, LaPierre and Montgomery investment banker Bill Blount are accused in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit of not disclosing $156,000 in payments to Langford. The SEC has accused Blount of paying Langford through LaPierre as part of a plan to secure Jefferson County financial business when Langford was Jefferson County Commission president.
This statement was released from the mayor’s chief of staff, Deborah Vance-Bowie.:
As you know, the Mayor was detained this morning by federal authorities. We do not know the details of his detention at this time. City business will go on as usual as we are all here to do a job and we’ll continue to do our jobs to ensure we deliver the best services to the taxpayers of Birmingham. 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. We are glad the mayor will finally have his day in court. As members of his team, we stand behind him and look forward to the day when we can return the focus to the important issues before the city.
[Editor’s Note: The past documents and reports mentioned in the story are listed here.]