William B. Blount
William Bell "Bill" Blount (born c. 1954) is a Montgomery banker and bond trader and former chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party who pleaded guilty in August 2009 to federal charges of bribery and criminal conspiracy in the SEC investigation into Jefferson County bond swaps which took place in 2003 and 2004.
Blount grew up in Troy and completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama in 1975, having served as the Machine-backed SGA president. He went on to earn his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1978. After additional graduate work in the United Kingdom he joined a Montgomery investment banking firm as partner. In 1985 he opened his own WIlliam B. Blount Company, which became Blount Parrish & Company after Derek Parrish joined in 1987.
Blount has also founded or co-founded several other companies involved in solid waste handling, communications, publishing and manufacturing. In the 1990s Blount Parrish was involved in controversial bond deals proposed to raise capital for the construction of warehouses at the Alabama State Docks in Mobile. Among the controversies were the exorbitant fees being charged to the City of Mobile for the deals and the contributions made by Blount and other parties in the deal to funds overseen by governors Jim Folsom, Jr and Don Siegelman. He stepped down as chair of the state Democratic Party following a 1995 court ruling limiting the participation of bond dealers in political roles.
After Langford joined the Jefferson County Commission, Blount Parrish reportedly collected over $7 million in fees from a series of refinancing transactions that were made under no-bid contracts with the county. Fees for underwriting and marketing the $6.4 billion worth of swap deals amounted to 70% of the Blount Parrish's income during those two years. Langford allegedly collected $235,000 in bribes in exchange for steering the county's business through Blount. Lobbyist Al LaPierre acted as go-between.
In December 2007 Blount and Langford were subpoenaed to a U. S. District Court in Miami, Florida to testify as part of the investigation. Both refused to testify without citing a specific legal privilege excusing their refusal.
The SEC filed a 101-count indictment against Blount, LaPierre and Langford in the U.S. District Court on April 30, 2008. Blount pleaded "not guilty" to the charges against him on December 1, 2008. On August 18, 2009 he changed his plea and agreed to testify against Langford, the sole remaining defendant after LaPierre and former commissioner Mary Buckelew also made plea deals. He was sentenced in February 2010 to serve 52 months in prison and to pay $1 million in restitution.
Blount served two and a half years of his sentence, mostly at the minimum security Federal Prison Camp at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery before he was transferred to United States Penitentiary, Atlanta and the Federal Correctional Institution, Talladega. He was moved to a halfway house in Montgomery in October 2012 and released in April 2013. The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles granted him a pardon in January 2017, restoring his voting rights. He is still restricted from owning firearms due to his federal conviction, and from practicing as an attorney, securities trader or government contractor by the terms of his plea.
- Curran, Eddie (May 27, 2001) "Warehouse deal bloated with fees." Mobile Press-Register
- Wright, Barnett (December 18, 2007) "SEC wants to force Larry Langford, Bill Blount to testify in Jefferson County bond swap deals." The Birmingham News
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (April 30, 2008) "Litigation Release No. 20545"
- Walton, Val (December 1, 2008) "William Blount free on bond after pleading not guilty to federal bribery charges in Jefferson County." The Birmingham News
- Hansen, Jeff (August 19, 2009) "Bill Blount's steep drop from the heights of Alabama politics." Birmingham News
- Gordon, Robert K. (February 26, 2010) "Bill Blount sentenced to 52 months in prison for bribing Larry Langford." The Birmingham News
- Faulk, Kent (October 26, 2012) "Bill Blount moved to halfway house as he nears end of sentence in Jefferson County bribery case." The Birmingham News
- Archibald, John (August 23, 2017) "Larry Langford's briber gets pardon as ex-mayor stares at life in prison." The Birmingham News