|Robert Bentley and Rebekah Caldwell Mason|
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. . . .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:
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.
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.