Leaderboard 728 X 90

Friday, April 15, 2016

Robert Bentley's trip to Las Vegas with Rebekah Caldwell Mason helps prove the governor has been lying for months to the people of Alabama


Celine Dion, in Las Vegas
(From caesar's .com)
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley flew last November to Las Vegas with former advisor/mistress Rebekah Caldwell Mason, and the pair attended a Celine Dion concert, according to a report today from al.com.

The story, by columnist John Archibald, raises all kinds of questions about possible misuse of state or campaign funds--and we do not have clear answers to many of those questions at the moment. But this much seems clear: The Vegas trip adds to the mountain of evidence that Bentley has been lying for months about the nature of his relationship with Mason.

What was the trip to Vegas like? Archibald explains:

On Nov. 17 of last year (Editor's note: remember that date), Gov. Robert Bentley boarded a state airplane for Las Vegas, along with his former political adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason, communications director Jennifer Ardis, Deputy Chief of Staff Jon Barganier and his security detail.

They went to attend the Republican Governors Association Annual Conference.

Oh. And to catch a show. They didn't have to think twice before going to the Colosseum at Caesar's Palace for an elaborate concert by Celine Dion.

Bentley went backstage and made Dion an honorary Alabamian. He posed for pictures with her, which he showed around the office – along with backstage passes for which he was ungubernatorially proud. Mason and Ardis posed for pictures, too. The concert was "amazing," Ardis said.

Bentley's staff claims all was proper with the trip, and public funds were not used. Archibald does not seem to be buying it:

Bentley's staff argues that there is no foul. Ardis said Bentley himself paid for all the Celine Dion tickets, and the Republican Governors Association reimbursed the Bentley campaign for the cost of the conference and the flight. The campaign reimbursed the state, and no taxpayer money was used, she said.

She did provide a copy of a deposit to the state of Alabama in the amount of $11,641.35. It was dated March 25 of this year. It came almost 19 weeks after the trip. And it came 3 days after former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency chief Spencer Collier went public with claims that Bentley and Mason had been engaged in an affair, and that Bentley had been warned that using state or campaign assets to carry out an affair could be illegal.

Ardis said the Republican Governors Association wired Bentley's campaign the reimbursement. She said she does not know why there was a delay or when the payments will appear on campaign finance reports.

For now, the most important questions about the trip might be personal, rather than financial. That's because evidence at the time suggested Bentley and Mason were in a romantic relationship--at least from the governor's perspective. Writes Archibald:

But the concert – and the money – are just part of the issue. Some who have been close to the governor claim Bentley boasted prior to the trip of wanting to use Las Vegas to get some personal time with Mason.

Collier, when asked about the trip, confirmed that Bentley tried to alter his security plan to get a little breathing room, and said Bentley made a concerted effort to keep his security detail away from the events at Caesar's.

So, we have this: On or about November 17, 2015, Gov. Bentley made a special effort to have "personal time" with Rebekah Mason--far from home, in Las Vegas. Roughly one month later--on December 27, 2015--al.com published an interview in which reporter Chuck Dean wrote the following about Bentley:

Throughout the ordeal Bentley, reluctant to talk about the deeply personal issue, would only say it was a personal, family matter.

And he never addressed the unfounded rumors of an affair.

Until now.

"The rumors were not true," said Bentley.

Bentley goes on to blame his problems, for the most part, on bloggers. Considering that I was the blogger who broke the story of the Mason affair on August 31, 2015, it seems safe to say much of his vitriol is directed at me. It's also likely much of it is directed at attorney Donald Watkins, who has written extensively about the sex scandal at his Facebook page:

The governor then seemed to let out months of pent up frustrations.

"There were people on blogs and people in the press who crossed the line. They truly crossed the line. People on talk radio crossed the line," said Bentley.

Bentley said it's hard as a public official to address the kind of rumors that were being spread and he said he felt to directly address them would only serve in some cases to give them credibility.

Bentley said the rumors hurt many people.

"There were many people – my own family and there were a lot of other families – many people, people that I love, that I care about, they went through some difficult times because people were able to say whatever they wanted to say. They were just ridiculous. I don't know how anyone could ever believe them."

By "crossing the line," Bentley apparently means that certain bloggers (Watkins and me) had reported accurately about the governor's sordid activities. Then we learned that Bentley, channeling his inner Richard Nixon, reportedly ordered the use of state and federal criminal databases in an effort to dig up dirt on Watkins and me.

How despicable is Bentley's behavior? Well, we know that on November 17 of last year, he was trying to rearrange his security detail so he could get "personal time" with Rebekah Caldwell Mason--in Las Vegas. Roughly five weeks later, the governor was telling the press "the rumors were untrue," and blaming others for the story getting out.

We now know the "rumors" were more than rumors. The posts that Watkins and I published were right on target--a classic example of citizen journalism serving the public good, unearthing a story that the mainstream press, at the time, seemingly did not want to touch.

We also know the Bentley/Mason coupling apparently went well beyond the borders of Alabama--with no expenses being spared in the process.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just when I thought I could not be shocked by anything else about this story . . .

Anonymous said...

The sense of entitlement in this story continues to amaze. Guv and Becky think they have every right to do this stuff--and no one should ask questions.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Bentley ever sexually harassed any patients or staff members in his dermatology practice. The guy sounds so creepy that this doesn't seem like a new thing for him.

Anonymous said...

I am about to cross a line.

I have never ever done this before.

Governor Bentley, you are a double douche canoe.

As I am quite certain that you've already pillaged the taxpayers beyond all decency, ill just post a link to the definition. This way you don't have to send the state helicopter to pick up your dictionary and deliver it to you so that you can fondle it in person.

Double Douche Canoe:

Someone who is up shits creek with a turd for a paddle yet takes no responsibility for their situation and find the need to blame everyone else for their predicament.


Anonymous said...

LS: Are they still involved with each other?

Anonymous said...

Bentley seems to have used tax payer funds inappropriately. That being said, I think that this instance can be considered within his position. There were 30 some governors there too i'm assuming, although w/ security and their staffs. As long as the concert was paid for with other funds, I think this will pass the test

Anonymous said...

Wonder if he played "poke her"?

Rainier Wolfcastle said...

If you ever decide to take nominations for Legal Schnauzer's Homer Simpson Alabama Political Commentary Hall of Shame I will nominate this Lagniappe post:

Power play in paying Bentley’s chief? By: Rob Holbert | October 14, 2015

The whole thing is full of fail and needs to be viewed as an entire piece (and also in the context of Lagniappe's previous Bentley denial mongering), but this paragraph alone earns it a place in the LSHSAPC Hall of Shame Top Ten in my opinion:

"I guess in Mason’s case calling her an employee of ACEGOV is really not accurate, so much as she gets paid by it. And since Bentley ostensibly controls the nonprofit, one could argue it would be hard for it to use Mason to unduly influence the governor. It really just comes off looking like he wants to pay her in some way no one else can see. "



Anonymous said...

LS have you noticed the kid gloves the Tuscaloosa News has used covering this story? Maybe they don't want to offend their hometown sweethearts.

Anonymous said...

Those conventions whether governors, house speakers, attorney generals, or sheriffs associations help weave a great, big interstate political-social web. Examining the public good and discovering the covert bad that comes from their networking would be quite a challenge if you dare. Perhaps these gatherings are where they share information on how to break the law, enjoy their mistresses, evade exposure and manage and harass citizens who might publicly expose them. Increasingly this country, its government and business is ruled by a networking, fortunate 1% and their cronies, and no longer by "we, the people." In any event, wouldn't you love to see them give the leftover food from their parties, banquets and a few airline air miles to help the homeless?

legalschnauzer said...

Good question, @12:52. Has the T-town News even put on kid gloves? I wasn't aware that they had covered the story at all. Makes you wonder about possible influence from Bryant Jr. As I understand it, Bryant is the guy who more or less gave us Bentley. Now that Bentley had turned into an embarrassment, I'm guessing Bryant does not want the story covered. The newspaper probably is happy to take direction from "Bear Jr." What a sad state of affairs for journalism.

Anonymous said...

Wrong! TTown newspaper was first to call for resignation.

Anonymous said...

EDITORIAL: Bentley should do right thing, resign

From Tuscaloosa News March 23, 2016


Robert Bentley is a hometown guy who unexpectedly and almost by default rose from a relatively obscure member of the state legislature to governor of Alabama. When the retired dermatologist started running for the office in a seven-candidate primary, few voters outside of Tuscaloosa knew his name. He won many of them over with the slogan that Alabama was sick and needed a doctor as governor.



Amazingly, he emerged as the last man standing and defeated outgoing Agricultural Commissioner Ron Sparks, a Democrat, in a landslide. In January 2011, he was sworn in as Alabama's 53rd governor. The victory further sealed the Republican Party's hold on Alabama politics.

In 2010, the GOP grabbed hold of both the House and the Senate and now Bentley, a two-term member of the House of Representatives, had emerged to replace Bob Riley as the second straight Republican governor.

Now, after an uneventful first term short on accomplishments, Bentley is in the middle of his second term. House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn is facing a sweeping indictment and Bentley is denying he had an inappropriate relationship with a staffer while admitting that he made inappropriate comments. It is evident that Alabama politics is still sick and Bentley isn't the doctor we need to heal the situation. To say that the Alabama GOP has wasted a great opportunity to fulfill campaign promises is an understatement.

On Wednesday, Bentley apologized for making the inappropriate remarks two years ago, but denied that he has been involved in an extramarital relationship.

Last year, his wife of half a century filed for divorce two days after making an appearance with him in Tuscaloosa. This newspaper, along with several other news organizations, sued when the Bentleys tried to keep the terms of the divorce secret from the public.

e.a.f. said...

None of this says much about the voters in Alabama either. while the state is mired in poverty, the Govenor is off partying. Not a good thing.

Taxpayers might want to ask what is being accomplished at these gatherings? if funded by the party itself, is this a method of "rewarding" governors for carrying out the party's agenda at a state level?

It would be very interesting to know whether other Republican govenors showed up with their mistresses. What ever happened to America?

Anonymous said...

Roger, Thank you for being the first to break the Bentley Affair story, back in August (at, as it has turned out, great finaancial and physical danger to both you and your wife).. But I wonder why is no one mentioning Rebekah Caldwell Mason's history as a serial homewrecker? According to T-Town sources, she and her current spouse/pimp were both married to others when they carried on their torrid affair. They then divorced their first spouses and got married. So, so far, RCM has broken up three marriages, her first, her spouse/pimp's first and the Bentley's marriage. So that's three marriages that we know of. T-town sources also tell us that after they married, they decided to 'move up'. Social climbing being the reason (rather than Jesus) their motive for joining the First Baptist Church.

Anonymous said...

Roger, Thank you for being the first to break the Bentley Affair story, back in August (at, as it has turned out, great finaancial and physical danger to both you and your wife).. But I wonder why is no one mentioning Rebekah Caldwell Mason's history as a serial homewrecker? According to T-Town sources, she and her current spouse/pimp were both married to others when they carried on their torrid affair. They then divorced their first spouses and got married. So, so far, RCM has broken up three marriages, her first, her spouse/pimp's first and the Bentley's marriage. So that's three marriages that we know of. T-town sources also tell us that after they married, they decided to 'move up'. Social climbing being the reason (rather than Jesus) their motive for joining the First Baptist Church.