Langford trial creates negative image for Jefferson County

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County Commission President Bettye Fine Collins says the Larry Langford corruption trial has created problems for Jefferson County.

"All of this has generated publicity that is adverse to the county's best interest," Collins said Wednesday.

Langford is accused of steering millions of dollars of bond work to his friend, Montgomery Investment banker, Bill Blount. Last week Collins implemented a new rule calling for all future bond deals to be competitively bid and disallow any no-bid contracts.

"If the county has a need,there will be competing proposals," Collins said.

But, there still may be image issues for the county coming out of the Tuscaloosa trial. Monday, an investment banker testified current Jefferson County attorney Bill Slaughter told him not to disclose Blount's fees to other county commissioners. The news did not sit well with some commissioners on Tuesday.

"We need to find out this and why someone who represents the county would encourage somebody to cover up or hide something," Bobby Humphryes, Jefferson Co. Commissioner said.

Commissioner Jim Carns, who pushed for more open government, says there is no guarantee new rules will insure honest government.

"Unless we elect people who do the right thing, there will always be shadow on things, some people not acting correctly," Carns said.

All of the current county commission worked with Langford in the past. Most are praying for him during his trial, including childhood friend William Bell.

"I will continue to pray for Larry and his family," Bell said.  "I hope God will protect him from what he must endure."