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FACTBOX-Timeline of events in Alabama's Jefferson County
Feb 26 (Reuters) - Alabama's Jefferson County is fighting to stave off what would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history over a multibillion-dollar debt it accumulated as it upgraded its sewer system earlier this decade.
Following is a timeline of major events related to the county's debt:
Feb 26, 2010 - A federal judge sentenced investment banker William Blount and lobbyist Al LaPierre to four-year prison terms for corrupt bond deals related to the debt.
Jan 19 - William Bell elected Birmingham mayor after the previous Mayor Larry Langford was convicted of corruption.
Nov 13, 2009 - Jefferson County sues JPMorgan Securities and JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) for fraud over its debt, as well as Langford and other officials.
Nov 4 - The bank reaches agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over a $720 million settlement in an unlawful payment scheme in the county's sewer bond financing.
Oct 28 - A federal jury finds Langford guilty of 60 counts of corruption relating to his term as president of the county commission and the bonds swaps that led to its debt.
Sept 8 - The county votes to extend a forbearance agreement with creditors on a $105 million portion of its debt. It is the latest in a series of such agreements.
Aug 18 - Blount, co-accused with Langford, pleads guilty. Al LaPierre pleads guilty in July.
Aug 14 - Alabama legislators approve an occupational tax for the county.
Aug 3 - County lays off 1,000 workers temporarily because of a separate, short-term financing crisis.
May 15 - State legislators fail to pass a county sales and occupational tax, heaping pressure on its finances.
Feb 2009 - Two "special masters" appointed by a district judge produce a report saying that, barring government intervention, sewer rates must rise dramatically to cover debt repayments.
Aug 2008 - Alabama Governor Bob Riley takes a lead in debt negotiations on the county's behalf.
2008 - Talks begin with creditors to restructure the debt and reduce service repayments. One focus is whether to raise water rates.
April 2008 - Moody's Investor Service downgrades a rating on part of the county's debt to seven notches into "junk" status.
Feb, 2008 - Ratings agencies downgrade county debt to junk, causing a crisis as interest rates on the debt spiral.
2007 - Interest rates soar on the county's variable rate auction swaps, in part due to a national crisis in the mortgage lending sector. County cannot cover its debt service payments.
2002-2007 The county commission under its president, Langford, refinances debts on the advice of consultants through interest rate, auction rate and other bond swaps.
Late 1990s - The county incurs huge debts as it upgrades the system and water rates soar as a result.
1996 - The county is required to start upgrading its sewer system to comply with the federal Clean Water Act. (Writing by Matthew Bigg, Editing by Tom Brown and Dan Grebler)
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