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Convicted Alabama Mayor had a Credit Score of 485

By Sally Maison
Published: Thursday, October 29th, 2009

With a very low credit score and a luxurious lifestyle, it is not hard for the public to understand why Alabama Mayor Larry Langford got into bribery deals. Investigators found out that Langford had several debts which amounted to more than half a million in 2007, the majority of which are on credit card debts, automobile loans, and mortgages. Langford was found guilty today over bribery charges.
Earlier this week, a former National Bank of Commerce employee testified against Langford saying that he had a credit score of 485 when he applied for loan in 2003. The witness added that when he helped Langford prepare a financial statement in 2007, the former Birmingham, Alabama mayor had $649,946 in total debt.

Convicted Alabama Mayor had a Credit Score of 485 He owed $19,000 in credit cards debts, $280,000 in a mortgage, and $92,000 in an automobile purchase. Alabama court today convicted Langford of accepting bribes in exchange for arranging a lucrative bond swap deals worth $7.1 million. The case involved William Blount, a banker, and Al LaPierre, a lobbyist. Both men pleaded guilty to the charges.

A former employee for Colonial BancGroup Inc. also testified in court this week, narrating how she approved a $50,000 worth of unsecured loan for Langford despite his low credit score. She said that Blount, whom she was dating at that time, helped secure the loan for the former mayor because he wanted to expand his business in Jefferson County.

The 61-year old Langford maintains his innocence while blaming his conviction to racism and the local media. He said there were nine white jurors and only three black jurors in the panel, adding that prosecutors struck as many black people off the panel as they could.

Meanwhile, critics were quick to point out Langford’s poor financial management has not only affect his personal credit score. They recalled that on March 04, last year, Moody’s Investor Service downgraded Jefferson County’s sewer credit rating just a week after rival Standard & Poor downgraded the county’s rating. Moody’s cited the county’s insufficient cash flow as the cause for their credit rating fallout. At that time, Jefferson County had $3.2 billion of risky debt linked to periodic auctions. It was subject to interest rates which could climb up to 10 percent which made those debts riskier. The downgrade came a year after Langford left Jefferson County Commission in 2007 when he won the mayoralty race for Birmingham.

The sentencing date is yet to be announced while Langford remains out on bail. Prosecutors say if the maximum statutory sentence is given, the former mayor will be sentenced to more than 500 years in prison.

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