DECEMBER 01, 2008
In what federal prosecutors are calling a classic pay-to-play scheme, the mayor of Alabama’s largest city has been arrested and charged with bribery and money laundering for masterminding a multibillion-dollar sewer bond deal that practically bankrupted the surrounding county.
Long the target of a huge federal investigation, Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford has finally been hauled away in handcuffs and charged for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for his influence on bond deals and swaps. The veteran politician committed the crimes while he was president of the Jefferson County Commission, according to authorities who have been watching him for months.
A 101-count indictment charges the Democrat mayor and two of his investment banker buddies with a series of crimes connected to the Jefferson County bond transactions and swap agreements. Among the charges are conspiracy, bribery, fraud, money laundering and filing false tax returns.
According to the indictment, Langford solicited $235,000 from an Alabama-based bond underwriter and a lobbyist in exchange for his help in getting lucrative government deals. The bribe was delivered in the form of cash, expensive jewelry and fancy clothes. Prosecutors say Langford sold out his public office to his friends through a web of financing agreements.
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