Archive for the ‘Crazy Train’ Category

Oh Good Grief!

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

The Birmingham News has finally noticed what the Birmingham Weekly figured out on Tuesday — Steven Hoyt’s election as City Council President Pro Tem may not be valid.  When Councilor Roderick Royal was elected the new City Council President, he immediately became acting Mayor, displacing Carole Smitherman.  The Mayor-Council Act says the Mayor cannot vote with the Council, but Royal went on to nominate and vote for Steven Hoyt as President Pro Tem, providing the fifth vote that put Hoyt over the top.

That could also call into question Carole Smitherman’s vote in the initial election, which she lost 5-4.  Did her position as interim Mayor end as soon as the new Council was sworn in?  If not, how could she vote with the Council?  Her vote didn’t make any difference; Royal would have won anyway.  Of course, if Hoyt had voted for her, as he allegedly promised, there would have been a 4-4 tie.

Rep. Demetrius Newton argues that both votes were inappropriate but says no harm was done.  I can’t agree with that.  Smitherman is still in the running to be the next mayor.  Hoyt will be second in command on the City Council once Royal resumes his position as Council President.  These are people with influence.  They should at least adhere to the rules.  Not to worry, though — the Alabama Legislature will get right on it:

State Rep. Demetrius Newton, a former Birming­ham city attorney, said the controversy over the vote highlights the need for more clarity in the Mayor­Council Act. Newton said the question should be re­solved by legislation rather than in court.

“This whole thing is a gray area that the Legis­lature is going to have to deal with,” he said.

Oh goody.  Another relic of our crappy 1901 Constitution — an issue that should be resolved locally will once again waste legislative time, and we’ll likely get to watch the various factions of the Jefferson County delegation show their collective ass while they play power games.

Steven Hoyt, when questioned about the vote, responded with his usual humility and lack of ego:

Hoyt on Wednesday dis­missed the notion of an ille­gal vote, saying council members had a chance to express concern Tuesday but said nothing. Hoyt maintains he is pro tem and will serve as council presi­dent while Royal serves as acting mayor. Hoyt made the committee assignments Wednesday afternoon.

“Voting won’t take place again,” Hoyt said. “I’m council president and I do not plan to relinquish my position. I was elected by a majority of the council.”

He does have a point about his fellow Council members. Why didn’t they consider these questions ahead of time? Didn’t they ask their attorney? That may not have helped much:

J. Richmond Pearson, the council’s legal adviser, said the dispute should be set­tled in court.

“All I can do is opine, and it does not carry any force whatsoever,” he said.

Good to know.

So — will this be resolved, or will it end up under a rug down at City Hall?  My money’s on the rug.  I hope I lose.

More from City Hall

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Could it get any crazier at Birmingham City Hall? Of course it could. @BhamWeekly is now tweeting:

Press conference at city hall. Smitherman to read statement saying Hoyt did not keep his word on Council President vote.

Smitherman says city needs stability, honesty, someone whose word can be trusted. Says Hoyt pledged his vote to her last night.

Says her budget review process would have reduced city department needs by $9 million dollars. Says #bham is a vibrant city, not gloomy.

Kyle asks if Hoyt is legally pro-tem, as Royal became Mayor as soon as he was elected Council Pres & could not vote in pro tem elect.

Royal, who became Mayor, might not legally be allowed to have made that vote for Hoyt as pro tem. Would mean 5-4 vote was not valid.

Smitherman says she got played today, politics at its worst. But is a Christian & says she’ll be done w/ this issue when presser over.

Smitherman says she knows Patrick Cooper was calling councilors trying to get them to vote for Royal for council president.

Smitherman won’t say who Cooper called. Says she is tired, is going home to prepare for thanksgiving. Presser over.

So.  Steven Hoyt allegedly stabbed Carole Smitherman in the back.  He may not be the legally elected President Pro Tem. Will there be a real challenge, or will the victors just shove Smitherman off to the side and move on?  What happened to the calm that was supposed to follow the Larry storm?

The Definition of Irony

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Glenn Beck imploring the media to stop digging into his past.

This just cries out for another Chris Crocker parody (my favorite is Seth Green’s). Oops, I said “cries out”, which reminded me that Glenn Beck was caught using Vick’s Vaporub to induce those sincere, spontaneous tears he cries for our country.

I feel terrible for you, Glenn. Really.

Langford Wants to Move Trial to Tuscaloosa

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Birmingham mayor Larry Langford is seeking to delay his trial yet again.  He wants to move it to Tuscaloosa and to have more time to recover from surgery and retool his strategy now that both of his co-defendants have flipped on him.  Funny how he was furious that the public — you know, his employers — were wondering about his surgery, but he’s not above using it to push back his trial date.  The trial is currently scheduled to begin August 31.

It sounds like the prosecution won’t fight him on this.  Given that one of the team just resigned, they may want some regrouping time too.

Now it’s up to Judge Coogler, who wasn’t sympathetic to Larry’s last delay attempt.  We’ll see.

UPDATE:  It worked — the trial will be moved to Tuscaloosa and delayed until October 19.

It’s Official: Blount Joins LaPierre in the Felon Club

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

The cheese mayor stands alone.

Montgomery investment banker Bill Blount pleaded guilty today in Tuscaloosa federal court in connection with bond deals involving Jefferson County.Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford is now the lone defendant in the Aug. 31 bribery trial with Blount and Al LaPierre having pleaded guilty….

…[Birmingham mayor Larry Langford, [investment banker Bill] Blount and [admitted bagman Al] LaPierre were charged in a 101-count indictment accusing them of mail fraud, bribery, money laundering and conspiracy. Each fraud count carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, and each money laundering and bribery count is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The conspiracy count carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

In exchange for Blount’s cooperation, prosecutions will recommend Blount serve 52 months in prison and forfeit $1 million.

I’m waiting for Larry to tell us Blount’s plea is good for his case, but I guess he’s been too busy quelling rumors of his impending resignation.

Blount To Plead Guilty

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Larry’s toast.

(Sorry for the lack of hyperlinking – still haven’t totally figured out Blackberry blogging. Fixed the hyperlink.)

Everyone Deserves a Vigorous Defense, but…

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Is Birmingham mayor Larry Langford really too poor to pay for his own attorney? Couldn’t he sell a couple of those Rolexes or start a legal defense fund?

To avoid further delays, the court has appointed Mike Rasmussen, Langford’s current attorney, as his taxpayer-funded counsel. At least he won’t be able to put off the trail any longer.

If I’m reading the court order correctly, all documents will be sealed until after the trial.

Langford Says LaPierre Testimony “Should Be a Help”

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Can you say “delusional”?

According to the plea agreement filed today in federal court, LaPierre acknowledged that he was the go-between, giving Langford cash he received from Blount in exchange for Langford using his power as president of the Jefferson County Commission to steer business to Blount’s firm, Blount Parrish & Co.

According to LaPierre’s plea agreement he:

• Took out a $50,000 loan to pay off an unsecured loan for Langford. Blount reimbursed LaPierre.

• Took $69,000 from Blount and funneled it to Langford at Langford’s request.

• Took $3,500 from Blount and funneled it to Langford — again, at Langford’s request — to pay for a trip to Mississippi with John Katopodis.

Within weeks of those transactions, Langford “used his power and authority to include William B. Blount and his company in a Jefferson County financial transaction, for which Blount received approximately $2.6 million,” the plea agreement says.

LaPierre was paid $100,000 in connection with those transactions, it says.
The plea agreement also says that Blount and LaPierre on several occasions paid for clothing Langford purchased on an account at Remon’s.

Yeah, Larry, that should be a big help…


See also:  LaPierre Cops Plea, Agrees to Testify against Larry Langford

LaPierre Cops Plea, Agrees to Testify against Larry Langford

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

UPDATE: Kyle at the Birmingham Weekly has more details, including this:

In exchange for LaPierre’s testimony in this case and possibly others, the government agrees to ask for a sentence of 48 months in prison. In addition, LaPierre will pay the government restitution of $371,932, in addition to unpaid taxes.

So it looks like LaPierre will do jail time.


The shit has officially hit the fan.

al-lapierreLobbyist Al LaPierre today has agreed to plead guilty and testify in the federal criminal case against Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford. In a deal struck this morning, LaPierre will plead guilty to two counts of conspiracy and one count of filing a false tax return, said his lawyer Tommy Spina.

The deal requires LaPierre to testify in the Aug. 31 case against Langford and Montgomery investment banker Bill Blount.

“He felt this was the right thing to do. He know he has to pay a consequence. He accepts that and will hold his head up,” Spina said.

LaPierre has agreed to forfeit $371,932 and pay all taxes due from 2003 to 2006. LaPierre is expected to formally enter the plea Thursday before U.S. District Judge Scott Coogler.

“He felt this was the right thing to do.”  I’ll just bet he did.  Looks like he will avoid jail time with this deal.

Mayor Langford had been pushing for a third delay of his trial for mail fraud, bribery, money laundering and conspiracy charges, but Judge Scott Coogler turned him down yesterday.  Barring divine intervention, or more legal maneuvering, the trial is on for August 31, six days after the Birmingham City Council election.

Who’da thought Birmingham politics could get more interesting?

Foot in Mouth Disease

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Courtney Haden of the Birmingham Weekly takes on Larry Langford, Richard Shelby,  and Jim Bunning — and their mistreatment by the eeeevil media — with hilarious results.

On Larry: