BRADENTON, Fla. - Jefferson County, Ala., commissioners yesterday extended yet another forbearance agreement with liquidity banks holding approximately $120 million of variable-rate demand general obligation warrants.
The county has negotiated forbearances on the debt for a year now, delaying full or partial principal payments on the warrants that were supposed to be redeemed by the county in six semiannual payments beginning in September 2008 because they could not be remarketed.
The county was scheduled to pay $105 million by next Tuesday. But some or all of that payment now will be delayed until Oct. 30 under the latest forbearance agreement.
The county has acknowledged in material event notices and in forbearance agreements that defaults have occurred under the indenture and the liquidity facility.
The GO warrants are not related to the county's troubled sewer debt.
And problems remained unresolved with the county's $3.2 billion of variable- and auction-rate sewer warrants, plus $766.3 million of swap termination fees.
In another matter yesterday related to Jefferson County, prosecutors asked a federal judge to delay the sentencing of former county Commissioner Mary Buckelew until two weeks after Oct. 19, which is when Larry Langford's trial is scheduled to start. Langford, now mayor of Birmingham, headed up the Jefferson County Commission when the troubled sewer debt was sold in early 2003.
Buckelew last year pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for lying to a federal grand jury about receiving gifts from Montgomery-based bond dealer William Blount around the times that the county's sewer debt was sold. Buckelew could receive a reduced sentence for testifying at Langford's trial.
Langford, Blount, and mutual friend Albert LaPierre, a lobbyist, were named in a 101-count federal indictment late last year charging them with pay-to-play crimes related to the sewer transactions. Originally, all three men were scheduled to stand trial together in Birmingham on Aug. 31.
But less than two weeks before the trial was to start, Blount pleaded guilty to one count each of bribery and conspiracy. He is expected to testify at Langford's trial. LaPierre in July pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy and filing a false tax return. He also is expected to testify against Langford.
With the new developments so close to the trial date, a federal judge last month agreed to postpone Langford's trial until Oct. 18. The trial also was moved to Tuscaloosa out of concern that local publicity would make it difficult to find a jury pool in Birmingham.