Prevailing winds usually blow from west to east, but there is a smell of chicken litter in Birmingham that could drift westward over to Bessemer. Crazy Larry...wait...let me stop right there. Larry Langford, who once called himself “crazy,” and the nickname sort of stuck, today was quoted in the Birmingham News,
“Now I understand why it’s so difficult to get stuff done in this city. It’s like the inmates running the asylum, and we can’t have that.”
You are running the city, Larry (even though he was actually referring to David Hill, executive director of the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority, who made a not so crazy move of delaying free bus service because they don’t have the money to pay for it).
Anyway, one of Langford’s co-defendants in the SEC case against them is Bill Blount, chairman of Blount Parrish & Company, a muni bond broker and dealer. Blount has a history of dealing with Bessemer and happens to be Mayor Ed May’s favorite go to guy.
Blount has had millions and millions of bond deals with the city of Bessemer, and rumors have been swirling for months that everything has not been on the up and up.
This quote from the Birmingham News interested me. The lawsuit states
“Langford quickly made sure Blount and Blount Parrish benefited from Blount’s financial assistance to him.”
Langford arranged for Blount’s firm to be involved “in every county bond offering and swap agreement in 2003 and 2004,” the SEC complaint states.
Both the mayor (of Bessemer) and the council have a loud and strong history of at least trying to arrange for their favorite bond company (that’s Gardnyr Michael Capital and Walter Lewis for the council) to be involved in every deal (rather than looking for the best deal for the city) and those who are looking more closely at things say the citizens of Bessemer have been screwed more than once because of it.
And if Blount has made swarmy deals with one municipality, I wonder if he would do so with another.
So the chickens have come home to roost for Larry Langford. That strange wind coming out of the east is dropping a few feathers in Bessemer, but only time will tell us if the birds will land here as well.