Gregory John Katopodis (born 1947 in Birmingham) is a businessman, former president of the Birmingham City Council, former member of the Jefferson County Commission, and ran in the 1979 and 1983 Birmingham mayoral elections.
 Background and education
Katopodis grew up in Wylam, son of a Greek immigrant father and a mother of Scottish descent.
In the late 1960s, he served as director of federal programs, helping oversee the desegregation of schools in Sumter County, Georgia, where Jimmy Carter was chairman of the school board before being elected Governor.
He then went to Harvard University, earning a master's in public administration in 1973 from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He later completed an Ed.D from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Katopodis was a Fulbright Scholar to Sweden and is a recipient of Harvard's Sheldon Prize and several other academic awards.
He returned to Birmingham to take a position as special assistant to Birmingham City Schools superintendent Wilmer Cody. That job was eliminated by the Birmingham Board of Education in 1976, but Katopodis won a lawsuit reinstating him. He left shortly thereafter, though, to become associate director of the Alabama School of Fine Arts.
 Public office
Two years later he joined a large group of challengers (including current Mayor Larry Langford) running to unseat incumbent David Vann in the 1979 Birmingham mayoral election. Katopodis missed the runoff by 97 votes. Richard Arrington, Jr won that runoff against Frank Parsons and became the city's first African-American mayor. Katopodis remained on the council and became its president in 1981. He challenged Arrington's incumbency in the 1983, but was soundly defeated.
Katopodis left the council in 1985 and made a successful run for Jefferson County Commission in 1986. While there a business he owned was sued by the City of Birmingham for unpaid sales tax and a state audit found hundreds of dollars worth of unapproved long distance telephone charges made from his Commission office. His tenure as the first Republican elected to the Commission ended when Gary White defeated him in the 1990 Republican primary. White later pursued a redistricting plan that placed Katopodis' residence in the predominantly-black district represented by Chris McNair.
In the 1990s Katopodis tried to spur closer ties between area governments forming the Council of Cooperating Governments. The organization's primary project was a campaign to establish a new regional airport in Alabama to serve Atlanta and Birmingham. In 2001 the FBI interviewed Katopodis about an alleged "shakedown" in which Roger Clinton would get a lucrative consulting job from the Council in exchange for participation from the Secretary of Transportation in their efforts.
In his career in public service, Katopodis has been involved in a number of public projects including the creation of EPIC School, an elementary school in Birmingham that mainstreams disabled children, as well as the McWane Science Center, an interactive science museum. He has also served as associate director of the Alabama School of Fine Arts, where he led the drive to build the school's current facility. Katopodis has also served as chair of the Birmingham Regional Planning Commission and as secretary of the Alabama Republican Party.
 Computer Help for Kids
Katopodis helped create the charity program Computer Help for Kids along with Larry Langford and Healthsouth founder Richard Scrushy in 2000. After Scrushy's dismissal from HealthSouth under the cloud of a massive accounting scandal the company sold off its Southside holdings to UAB. Katopodis sued the company saying that he had been promised the Pita Stop building as partial payment for consulting work. HealthSouth countersued alleging that work contracted to Katopodis was never performed and that money given to the charity was used for personal expenses and to make questionable payments to elected officials. The parties settled their respective suits in a confidential agreement shortly after testimony began in March 2008.
In October 2008, Katapodis was indicted on federal charges stemming from mismangement of funds given to the Computer Help for Kids program. The indictment charged that Katapodis used approximately $250,000 of the $815,000 given to the charity for his own personal gain and for the benefit of his friends, payments on his personal credit cards, and travel, including a trip to the Bahamas. Katopodis pleaded not guilty at his November 13 arraignment. He was convicted on all 97 counts of fraud on July 1, 2009 and sentenced on March 12, 2010 to serve 46 months in prison.
 Birmingham Education Intiative
In 2007 Katopodis worked with Mayor Larry Langford to negotiate the purchase of 15,000 XO laptops from the One Laptop Per Child foundation at MIT and was among those involved in the short-lived Birmingham Education Initiative created by Langford to administer the program. That group was dissolved after the City Council voiced concerns about Katopodis' involvement. During the debate, documents released in by Healthsouth pertaining to a property dispute made damaging claims about Katopodis' management of Computer Help for Kids and his relationship with adult film actor Ryan Idol. Katopodis denied any wrongdoing, but withdrew from any involvement in the laptop program saying his work as negotiator was completed.
 Other controversies
- Whitmire, Kyle (February 19, 2008) "Langford consultant has tricky ties." Birmingham Weekly
- Palmer, Curtis (February 20, 2008) "Past is Prologue with Dynamic Duo; Katopodis/Langford." Musings on Birmingham.
- Velasco, Eric (March 26, 2008) "Half of taxpayer contribution to computer charity diverted for Katopodis' use." Birmingham News
- Velasco, Eric (March 27, 2008) "Katopodis, HealthSouth settle lawsuits." Birmingham News
- Walton, Val (October 31, 2008) "John Katopodis indicted on federal fraud charges." Birmingham News
- Gordon, Robert K. (July 2, 2009) "Former Birmingham, Alabama county commissioner John Katopodis found guilty in charity fraud trial." Birmingham News
- Gordon, Robert K. (March 12, 2010) "'Bright, able' John Katopodis to be sentenced today in federal court." Birmingham News