Jefferson County to ask for some Langford forfeiture money

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Jefferson County Commission may seek money forfeited by former Commission President Larry Langford after his federal bribery conviction.

Next week commissioners will vote on a resolution asking the U.S. Attorney General to consider giving the county $1.6 million from the criminal forfeiture involving the public corruption case of Langford, Montgomery investment banker Bill Blount and lobbyist Al LaPierre. Langford was convicted and Blount and LaPierre entered guilty pleas over conspiracy charges involving the Jefferson Co. sewer bond deal.

"It is about whether the money will be collected or not," said Bettye Fine Collins, Jefferson Co. Commission President. "You still have to make a claim. We've done that in other matters and tried in the courts."

Langford was ordered to forfeit more than $240,000, Blount $1 million, and LaPierre more than $371,000. Commissioner Jim Carns said the county is obligated to go after the money.

"If we didn't go after this we wouldn't be doing our duties as county commissioners to get what is due us from the misbehavior of other parties," Carns said.

This money could come at a necessary time for the commission. Currently, the commission is fighting a judge's order to refund money from the old occupational tax, trying to dismiss a lawsuit against the new occupational tax and dealing with its massive sewer bond debt.

Langford began serving a 15-year prison sentence last week at a Kentucky federal prison. Commissioner Bobby Humphryes doubts the county will see most of  the money.

"Blount can pay his back, but I don't know about Lapierre, and Larry has a small amount," Humphryes said. "We will get part of it but we will never get the whole amount."

In the past Jefferson County has sought restitution from others convicted of wrong doing in the sewer bond deal.

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