Like Bentley, Shattuck portrays himself as a man of God, but he has problems with issues of the flesh--not to mention apparent workplace favoritism. Our post mentions his relationships with Lisa Waldrop, media and communications director at Shelton State Community College, and UA deputy counsel Katie Osburne as examples.
Stories like this tend to generate much harrumphing, and we've seen this before. I broke the story of Bentley's extramarital affair with Rebekah Caldwell Mason last August, and in recent weeks, the whole world has learned that our reporting was accurate. I faced defamation lawsuits after reporting on extramarital affairs involving Rob Riley and lobbyist Liberty Duke and Attorney General Luther Strange and Jessica Medeiros Garrison--and I even was thrown in jail for five months for daring to report on such topics.
What did the lawsuits prove? Not a thing for the plaintiffs. For me, as a matter of law, they proved that my reporting was not false or defamatory.
Like key figures in the other stories, Shattuck and Co. were given an opportunity to respond to questions, but they chose not to. Here are questions I sent via e-mail to Cooper Shattuck, with copies to Ms. Waldrop and Ms. Osburne:
I am a journalist from Birmingham and publisher of the blog Legal Schnauzer, which covers justice issues in Alabama and beyond.
I have reported extensively on the affair between Gov. Bentley and aide Rebekah Caldwell Mason and issues connected to that. In my research, your name has come up frequently. Therefore, I would like to ask that we schedule a time for a telephone interview. If that is not possible, I would like to give you an opportunity to comment on the following topics:
* I understand that you had (or are having) an extramarital affair with Lisa Waldrop, who is assistant director of media and communication at Shelton State. Are extramarital affairs common among current and former members of the Bentley administration? What does that say about the ethical standards of Alabama's governor and his associates?
* I understand that you were associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in Tuscaloosa, and Ms. Waldrop was the worship leader, when your affair started. I further understand that both of you have lost your church positions in the wake of revelations about the affair. Has the affair continued, and have you sought work in other churches?
* I understand that you hired Katie Osburne to be your chief deputy at UA. I also understand that there was no official posting for the job, that you created it specifically for Ms. Osburne. I further understand that Ms. Osburne has relatively little legal experience, but you elevated her over more qualified members of the UA staff. Why have you championed Ms. Osburne to such a degree?
* It has been reported that you set up the Alabama Council for Excellent Government (ACEGOV) as a nonprofit while still working for the Bentley administration. Where has money for ACEGOV come from and where has it gone? How much of the money has gone to Rebekah Caldwell Mason? Would you provide copies of documents that show the in-flow and out-flow of funds connected to ACEGOV?
Like most journalists, I work on deadline, so I ask that you respond to this e-mail by 5 p.m. on March 4.