SEC sues Langford, Blount and LaPierre
As expected, the SEC has filed a lawsuit in federal court here against Mayor Larry Langford, Montgomery investment banker Bill Blount and lobbyist Al LaPierre. The SEC's complaint is a civil lawsuit, so nobody is getting arrested or going to jail. That's the Justice Department's end of things and they're still working at it.
In the meantime, the SEC wants Blount, LaPierre and Langford to repay money they received in various bond deals from Langford's tenure at the Jefferson County Commission. According to the lawsuit, Blount paid off more than $150,000 of Langford'2s personal debts, while Langford directed more than $6.7 million in fees to Blount'2s investment firm, Blount Parrish.
The SEC also wants the court to prevent the defendants from entering into new deals, and it wants the defendants to pay damages.
In the complaint, the SEC argues that for at least five years before Langford joined the county commission, Blount never received bond business from the county. However, his fortunes changed with Langford's arrival. Blount and Langford had been friends for almost 30 years, and soon Langford was directing bond business to Blount's firm. Over a two-year period of time, fees from Jefferson County bond deals comprised more than 70 percent of the firm's revenue.
In a SEC deposition last June, investigators asked Langford whether he ever considered bidding the bond contracts out.
"Obviously not," Langford said then.
Using LaPierre as a middleman, Blount paid Langford's debts, including $70,000 in credit card and department store bills mostly for clothes, the lawsuit says.
Langford has blasted the SEC investigation, saying he has been put under more scrutiny than any other politician.
"I voluntarily took a polygraph test, and I passed it," Langford said Tuesday. "They asked , 'Have you ever used your office for personal gain?' No, I passed it."