Ala. town gives convicted fmr. mayor second chance

Larry Barton (Courtesy: WBRC)
Larry Barton (Courtesy: WBRC)

A man who went to federal prison after being convicted of defrauding the city of Talladega as mayor has been returned to office.

Larry Barton won a runoff election for mayor on Tuesday with almost 53 percent of the vote against Harvey Bowlin, a former revenue commissioner.

Barton was serving his third term as mayor of Talladega in 1995 when he was convicted on federal charges involving theft from the city. Freed from prison after about three years, he lost runoffs for mayor in 1999 and 2003.

Barton thanked voters Tuesday night for giving him another chance. He acknowledged his time in prison and said Bowlin used it to suggest to voters that businesses might be afraid to locate in Talladega as a result. 

Barton told WBRC Fox 6 he thinks the opposite will happen, the forgiving attitude of voters being a factor that would attract business. "I think this sends a message that Talladega is a town that you'd want to live in," he explained. "You've got people here that forgive you for whatever you've done."

Prosecutors said Barton took $5,900 by having checks written to a man he claimed to have hired to remove tree stumps around town. He served time for fraud and money laundering.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. WBRC contributed. All Rights Reserved.)