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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tab for Gov. Robert Bentley's affair with Rebekah Mason comes to more than $1 million--with much of it at the expense of Alabama taxpayers and donors

Robert Bentley and Rebekah Caldwell Mason
The extramarital affair between Governor Robert Bentley and former advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason cost more than $1 million--with much of that coming at taxpayer expense--according to a new report from a prominent Alabama lawyer.

How free was Bentley with public funds? He ordered a state helicopter to fly his forgotten wallet to the beach, according to a report today from a conservative news site.

Attorney Donald Watkins, writing at Facebook, said an analysis indicates Bentley stuck taxpayers, campaign donors, and "dark money" contributors with the tab of more than $1 million for his romance with Mason. Bentley's actions likely constitute federal crimes, and Justice Department investigators are expediting the case, with cooperation from Mason, Watkins reports.

The sex scandal, it appears, was about more than "T and A"--although audio recordings clearly show Bentley was interested in that. In criminal terms, the scandal is more about "D and C" (dollars and cents) and a grotesque abuse of public resources. Writes Watkins:

How can a governor of ordinary financial means romance his married lover like a billionaire? Bentley could only romance Rebekah in this high-end manner by using our tax dollars, campaign funds, and "dark money". In other words, Bentley stole our money to pay for his personal pleasures of the flesh. In doing so, Bentley deprived Alabamians of “honest government services,” which is a federal crime. He committed a plethora of other federal crimes as well, including wire and mail fraud, criminal conspiracy, money laundering, RICO, and the unauthorized use of federal criminal data systems.

Federal investigators are drilling down on what taxpayers, campaign donors, and “dark money” corporate entities and lobbyists unwittingly paid for in Bentley’s criminal scheme to use their money to sponsor his love affair with Rebekah. Bentley made these groups pick up the tab for a wide array of expenditures for his personal benefit,

Watkins provides an astonishing list of expenditures, including payments for scores of private jets to transport Mason for vacations, shopping trips, and rendezvous with the governor. These could be tracked, in part, via flightaware.com.

Is it a sweet gig to be a governor's mistress? Watkins provides a list of expensive perks that indicate the answer is a resounding yes:

1. Around-the-clock state trooper escort/chauffeur services for Rebekah and her children;

2. Hush money for Rebekah’s husband, Jonathan Mason, in the form of a $91,400 annual salary as head of Serve Alabama;

3. The cost of scores of leased private jet flights for Rebekah to rendezvous with the governor on road trips and for Rebekah to take her family on beach vacations and out-of-state shopping trips. Each private flight ranged from $10,000 to $20,000. [The love birds were unaware that all of Rebekah’s flights could be tracked through www.flightaware.com/ All you need is the tail number of the aircraft.];

4. The cost of Rebekah’s hotel rooms when the Bentley-Mason sexual rendezvous were in play;

5. High-end private “wining and dining” for the two love birds in exotic restaurants and ports of call;

6. “Burner” cell phones to hide the illicit affair from First Lady Dianne Bentley;

7. Rebekah’s consulting fees for providing her all-inclusive personal services to Bentley;

8. Renovations to the Winton Blount Mansion in Montgomery, which was the scene of many Bentley-Mason romantic escapades;

9. Renovations to the governor’s beach front mansion in Gulf Shores for what the couple anticipated would become a future “love nest”;

10. Legal fees for private lawyers who are desperately trying to keep Bentley from being charged for his crimes; and

11. Crisis managers who are frantically trying to mitigate the damage to Bentley’s already shattered “Christian” public image.

How freewheeling could Alabama's deeply Christian governor get with other people's money? A report today from Yellowhammer News gives a clue:

Multiple confidential sources inside of state government came forward to Yellowhammer this week with accusations that Alabama Governor Robert Bentley ordered a state helicopter to fly his wallet to him at the beach, after he accidentally left it behind in the wake of an argument with his then-wife. If true, the allegations call into question Gov. Bentley’s assertion that he did not misuse state resources during his affair with his then-senior advisor Rebekah Mason. . . .

In the summer of 2015, Gov. Bentley and his then-wife Dianne had an argument at the couple’s private residence in Tuscaloosa over Gov. Bentley’s refusal to sever ties with Mrs. Mason, his top political advisor-turned-mistress.

As a result of the argument, Gov. Bentley left the residence in his pickup truck and drove toward the couple’s beach house in Ft. Morgan, Alabama. According to the sources, this happened on multiple occasions, leaving the governor’s security detail to decide whether to chase after him, or let him go.

When the governor arrived at his beach house, he realized that in his rush to leave, he had forgotten his wallet.

At that point, he ordered one of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) helicopters to deliver it to him, which it did.

The sources each said that current ALEA head Stan Stabler was involved in facilitating the delivery.

Stabler succeeded Spencer Collier as head of ALEA after Bentley fired Collier, his longtime friend, last month.

From the outset, the Bentley scandal has provided moments of comedy--and the "wallet caper" seems to fit into that category. But Watkins makes it clear this is a serious matter, with possible implications for a number of individuals tied to the administration:

It is estimated that Bentley has stuck taxpayers, campaign donors, and “dark money” contributors with a tab for his love affair with Rebekah that exceeds $1 million.

Furthermore, whoever paid Rebekah’s firm a “consulting fee” for a meeting with the governor was guaranteed a meeting with Bentley. The secret safe deposit box shared between the two lovers held cold, hard cash – kickback money for Bentley.

The details of the governor’s criminal scheme to defraud Alabama taxpayers and others will be outlined in the federal charges against Bentley and Mason. Bentley fleeced Alabamians, and he fleeced them good.

This is far beyond a sex scandal. This is a massive public corruption case.


Anonymous said...

I suspect the feds are interested in determining if any federal dollars have been involved in these schemes.

The odds are fairly high that if any state funds were misappropriated they easily could have been federal pass though dollars.

The moment when the participants are informed of this possibility by their attorney may be unpleasant. That's the moment when they realize it probably won't be contained by more of their legal and legislative home cooking. Any fellow participants in the various related schemes have probably begun to realize they might be about get a thorough exam from the federal proctologists. Ooops.

Federal aid to the state budget

"State governments receive aid from the federal government to fund a variety of joint programs, such as Medicaid.

The table below notes what share of Alabama’s general revenues came from the federal government in 2013. That year, Alabama received approximately $8.2 billion in federal aid, 28.3 percent of the state's total general revenues."

UA also does fairly well with federal earmarks if I remember correctly.

legalschnauzer said...

Good points, @2:30. I suspect anything involving aviation is likely to come under federal auspices, as do many misdeeds involving U.S. mails and federal wires (phones, computers).

Anonymous said...

Have you heard any rumors as to whether Bentley is considering hiring Hastert's attorneys? Looks like they have the kind of special sauce Bentley needs now.

Court Doc: Hastert's Lawyers Say A 'Groin Rub' Isn't Sexual Assault

"While undoubtedly many would consider this episode as described by [Individual A], consisting of a groin rub for a groin pull and a massage, to be misconduct, we are not so certain that the incident qualifies as sexual misconduct, especially for a coach and trainer forty-two years ago," Hastert's lawyers wrote."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the two reports today and bringing to us the reports from various blogs/social sites, etc. I don't get a chance to read those other sites during a busy day, so I appreciate you sharing these. Keep it up, LS. Me thinks that this is only the beginning stages of a long and drawn out story around our beloved Love Gov.

harriet said...

seems as if you are desperately seeking fault in the form of robert bently. im not a fan of his, but until you have black and white proof i think i will withhold judgement.

legalschnauzer said...


You don't think Bentley had an affair, despite what we all have heard via audio recordings? Are you serious?

Sounds like you are desperately seeking to NOT find fault with Bentley.

legalschnauzer said...

Haven't heard the rumors about Bentley using Hastert's lawyers, but that's an interesting rumor, to be sure. If Bentley were to hire Hastert's lawyers, he'd better hope he was able to hang onto some serious assets in divorce case. Hastert is using lawyers from Sidley Austin, perhaps the most powerful law firm in Chicago. That's where Barack Obama met Michelle Robinson, and they became Barack and Michelle Obama. The firm is one of the biggest contributors to Obama campaign. It's hardly a liberal firm, though. It will represent any client that promises to bring in revenue, including Rollins Inc., parent company of Orkin Pest Control. We've written many posts here about Ted Rollins and others from the Orkin crowd.

If Orkin poisons your family while spraying your house for bugs, Sidley Austin likely will handle the defense--or it will oversee the firm that does. And you can bet Orkin will stand a good chance of getting away with it.

e.a.f. said...

You really need to start writing that novel. This is so much better than what is on t.v. these days and no one had to make it up. OMG.

It is the sense of entitlement that some politicians have. Its beyond the pale of things. We had the former premier of Alberta, Canada (Govenor) spend almost half a million on private jets because she didn't want to share with others. she wound up resigning. Here in British Columbia, we have a Premier who has already run up a half million in private jet fees because she can't take a commercial jet. Rationale: she needs her videographer with her at all times. So Bentley having his wallet helicoptered to him, not so strange. Inappropriate but not so strange.

Politicians seem to think they are there to be served by us the taxpayers. They appear to have forgotten they are there to "serve" us and if not serve, then to do the job they are paid to do. The Presidency has a two term limit on it. Perhaps it is time to have it for Govenors also.

What I find amusing is these politicians are trying to sell themselves as fiscally responsible, that they know how to do business, that they are ensuring the state/provincial budgets are not wasted. They carry on like banshees if people cheat on some state subsidy, but they themselves, rip tax payers off like there was no end to the looting.

Good post. Nice work. Hope the old SOB gets charged and goes to jail along with the girlfriend. this has to send a message to all politicians.

Anonymous said...

Seems old Bentley has done a lot more than Guy Hunt and look what happened to him. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

The other woman here, the temptress seems to have not got the mag light shined at her too much. All the scuttlebutt is aimed at Bentley. Don't get me wrong he deserves it but she's treated like a dainty little ol' museum piece of high society here. Public relations firms' marketing firms and lobbyist are sleaze merchants just like pimps, corrupt lawyers and hedge fund managers. Plus she was a "journalist" at Fox news, an info babe. People attracted to power and dirty old men intersect in Montgomery. I bet if impeachment proceedings go forward there will be more, don't let em look at me, prayers silently spoken and more beads of worry sweat leaching out than they can handle. Just like Gingrich, Jesse Jackson and Clinton were all stepping out and and into the spotlight. I'm gonna study the faces of all of em. Both with and against Bentley. Beer and popcorn and entertainment. At least they can do that, entertain. They're no count fer much else.

Anonymous said...

Will this sick deviate quack please resign??!!