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Former Birmingham mayor Larry Langford is in critical condition

Former Birmingham Mayor Langford is in critical condition and has been moved to a hospital. His family has been notified of his deteriorating health and are at his side.
Langford is 72 years old and reportedly suffering from several illnesses including end-stage pulmonary disease, emphysema and heart failure.

Langford was convicted of bribery and is serving a fifteen-year sentence in a federal prison in Tennessee.

A federal jury in Tuscaloosa found Langford guilty his role in a scheme to generate lucrative bond commissions for Alabama bond writers by refinancing Jefferson County’s massive sewer debts when Langford was the Chairman of the Jefferson County Commission. The scandal, the multi-billion debt, and the Great Recession sent Alabama’s largest county into bankruptcy court. The bankruptcy was the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history to that point and brought the safety of the entire American municipal bond market into question.

His co-conspirators. former Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Al Lapierre and former Democratic Party Chairman Bill Blount, both pleaded guilty and provided evidence of payments to Langford. Langford launched a vigorous trial and media defense; but it did not succeed.

Langford had requested a compassionate release due to his deteriorating health; but the request was denied on November 2. The Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Prisons recognized that “he is considered to be experiencing deteriorating physical health that substantially diminishes his ability to function in a correctional facility” and further stated that he met the criteria for a reduction in sentence via a compassionate release. However, his request was denied because “his release at this time would minimize the severity of his offense and pose a danger to the safety of the community.”

Langford is also a former Mayor of Fairfield and former WBRC Channel six television reporter.

Langford also promoted the construction of the Alabama themepark: Visionland in Bessemer. The project experienced a number of setbacks and was constructed over budget and heavily in debt so had to be sold for pennies on the dollar after just a couple of years of operation.

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(Original reporting by WVTM Channel 13 contributed to this report.)

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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