Chief among them might be Cooper Shattuck, the university's general counsel. As UA's top legal officer, Shattuck manages the work of 21 attorneys and 15 support-staff members. Before returning to his alma mater to take its top legal job, Shattuck served as chief legal advisor for . . . Gov. Bentley.
It's easy to see why Bentley might have considered Shattuck an attractive addition to his staff; the two men seem to have quite a bit in common. Both have connections of various kinds to Rebekah Caldwell Mason, who as Bentley's senior advisor and mistress, helped set the scandal aflame. Both seem to have played roles in the curious stream of funds that have been flowing to Mason and her husband, Jon Mason, partly through the University of Alabama. Both apparently consider themselves men of God, but sources tell Legal Schnauzer that Shattuck (like Bentley) has allowed issues of the flesh to influence his professional life.
According to multiple news reports yesterday, UA has paid Jon Mason's company almost $75,000 this year for services related to billboards in Dallas and Phoenix, before Crimson Tide football games in those cities for the 2015-16 national-championship season. Mason's company, however, did not design, create, or install the billboard ads. It appears Mason's firm, JRM Enterprises, did little more than act as a go-between for the company that rents out the billboards.
How is this for irony? Bentley named Shattuck and Rebekah Mason to his staff on the same day, January 13, 2011.
If Shattuck helped funnel money to Bentley's mistress, is it likely he was involved in schemes to funnel money to her husband? An ongoing federal investigation perhaps will provide clarity on that question.
Can you imagine UA's chief legal officer at the heart of a federal investigation into apparent slush funds for Gov. Bentley's mistress and her husband? That might be harder for the Crimson faithful to swallow than an Iron Bowl loss to Auburn.
It's not like Cooper Shattuck hasn't been involved in messy situations before. Within at least the past two years, our sources say he has engaged in an extramarital affair with Lisa Waldrop, who is assistant director of media and communication at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa.
A 2012 article about Shattuck's move from the Bentley administration to UA described him as "married with four daughters." He was divorced in 2014, and it's not clear if he is currently married. It also is not clear if the affair with Waldrop is ongoing, but the two have paid a professional price for it.
Shattuck also has played a curious role in championing the career of UA lawyer Katie Osburne. sources say. He reportedly hired Osburne to be his chief deputy at UA, even though there was no official posting for the job. Sources say Shattuck created the position specifically for Osburne, who has a relatively thin legal resume and was elevated over UA attorneys who have much more experience and stronger qualifications.
Published reports show that Osburne worked at Rosen Harwood, the same Tuscaloosa firm where Shattuck once worked. Published reports indicate Osburne graduated from law school in 2007. So, with less than 10 years of professional experience, she finds herself as the No. 2 legal officer for the three-campus UA System, which includes more than 63,000 students and almost 28,000 faculty and staff.
Is Katie Osburn qualified to hold that position--or is she the most qualified person on the UA legal staff to hold that position? Taxpayers, who fund her salary, might want to ask themselves that question.
We sought comment for this post from Shattuck, Waldrop, and Osburne, but they did not respond.