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12-01-08, 10:00 PM #1
Federal authorities arrested the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, on Monday as part of a corruption probe surrounding the city's sewer bonds.
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Reuters) – Federal authorities arrested the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, on Monday as part of a corruption probe surrounding the city's sewer bonds.
The office of Mayor Larry Langford confirmed the arrest and said it was "no surprise."
"We are glad the Mayor will finally have his day in court. As members of his team, we stand behind him and look forward to the day when we can return the focus to the important issues before the city," Langford's chief of staff Deborah Vance-Bowie said in a statement.
The statement gave no further details of Monday's charges against Langford, who became mayor in 2006.
In May the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit accusing Langford of receiving and not disclosing a $156,000 illegal payment.
Alabama's Jefferson County -- of which Birmingham is the main city -- is fighting to stave off what would be the largest bankruptcy in U.S. municipal history over its sewer debt.
Langford was the head of the Jefferson County commission at the time it engaged in variable rate, auction and bond swaps to raise money to improve its sewer system. Those bonds resulted in what is now a $3.2 billion sewer debt.
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