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Mayor's trial casts shadow on Birmingham

Oct. 20, 2009 at 11:10 AM

BIRM, Ala., Oct. 20 (UPI) -- The corruption trial of Birmingham's mayor is bad for business because it reinforces negative stereotypes about Alabama, local political leaders said.

Mayor Larry Langford, 61, whose trial began Monday in Tuscaloosa, is charged with fraud and bribery for allegedly granting millions of dollars of county contracts in exchange for money, clothes and jewelry.

The publicity from the trial impacts business, especially when it comes to convincing companies to move to the area, said Glenn Phillips, president of Forte Inc., a technology consulting firm in Pelham, Ala., that does business with companies throughout the country.

"Outrageous behavior sticks in people's mind more than anything," Phillips told the Birmingham (Ala.) Business Journal.

Langford's arrest in December put the future of Birmingham's leadership in doubt, Birmingham lawyer Frank Young said.

"It's a negative for our community and our state," Young said. "It's going to be a good thing to get behind us no matter how it is resolved."

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