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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Rebekah Caldwell Mason's financial difficulties and Robert Bentley's boredom with an idyllic life led to an epic scandal, according to new report at GQ magazine

Robert Bentley and Rebekah Caldwell Mason
The scandal enveloping Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley started when one of his sons tried to help a family at his church that was going through rough financial times. File that under "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished."

A toxic psychological brew that helped touch off the scandal began when Gov. Bentley grew bored with a life that probably seemed idyllic to others. File that under "Idleness Is the Devil's Workshop."

Gov. Bentley was susceptible to sexual temptation because . . . well, he married young, was averaging looking (at best), and he was not used to receiving come-ons--especially from former beauty-queen types like Rebekah Caldwell Mason. File that under "You're Never Too Old to Become a Horndog."

Finally, a key moment in the scandal was touched off when Bentley's sons wisely realized that Mason, as their father's mistress, could take steps that would devastate their mother financially. File that under "No Scandal is Complete Without Courtroom Drama."

Those are four of many revelations in an article published yesterday by GQ about a man who has gone from being a mild-mannered dermatologist to being seen as our "horndog governor." That transformation has placed Bentley and Mason at the heart of a federal investigation that could see both of them serving lengthy prison sentences.

The article, by political reporter Jason Zengerle, is titled (appropriately enough) "The Love Song Of Robert Bentley: Alabama's Horndog Governor." Zengerle does not touch much on the legal problems hanging over Bentley and Mason. But he provides a compelling and incisive account of the human weaknesses and foibles that led the governor and his senior advisor into an "inappropriate relationship" of epic proportions.

In shades of the Mike Hubbard scandal, money problems -- or perhaps we should say perceived money problems -- led down a slippery slope. From Zengerle's GQ article:

As political temptresses go, Rebekah Mason was, in some ways, a familiar one. A onetime news anchor, she'd done a tour of minor Alabama media markets before leaving TV to raise her children. In the summer of 2010, she and her husband, a meteorologist, were facing financial difficulties. Their church, First Baptist of Tuscaloosa, had tried to help the young family, praying for God's assistance. When their fellow congregant Robert Bentley had an opening in his campaign press office, one of his sons suggested the nice young woman from church who was struggling to make ends meet, according to a person familiar with the circumstances behind Mason's hiring. After Bentley was elected, he appointed the former TV reporter the governor's communications director, and he even gave her husband, Jon, a $90,000-a-year job as the head of the governor's office of faith-based initiatives. It seemed that everyone's prayers had been answered.

None of this would have happened if Bentley had not decided, fairly late in life, to enter politics. And that would not have happened if he had not grown bored with his life as a respected dermatologist; (seemingly) devoted husband to Dianne; and attentive father to four sons. Writes Zengerle:

According to this friend, Mason was dismayed by how alone the governor felt. Bentley had gone into politics, he once told her, because he could no longer stand the tedium of his dermatology practice and the banality of those Lean Cuisine pizza lunches at home with Dianne. “He wanted more,” this Mason friend told me, “and his family didn't understand that.”

Mason was young, ambitious, and attractive and could present temptations that Bentley did not know how to handle, Mason's friends apparently saw her as the kind of "visionary" strategic planner the governor needed. Those close to Bentley saw Mason as . . . well, maybe the term is "political gold digger."

People close to Bentley, however, told me they viewed Mason's role in starkly different terms. They believe that Mason wormed her way into the governor's good graces through flattery and flirtation. To their minds, Bentley—an awkward man with a heart-rending comb-over who'd married young and come late to his lofty position—was unaccustomed to female attention. And foolishly susceptible to it. When his advisers would caution him about pushing for things the legislature wouldn't support, like a teacher pay raise, Mason would counter in a syrupy voice, “But you're the governor. People love you.”

The story of the Bentley/Mason affair finally became public in late August 2015 when Dianne Bentley filed for divorce to end a 50-year marriage. Legal Schnauzer was the first news outlet to report the affair and name Mason as the governor's mistress. At about the same time, attorney Donald Watkins presented a multi-part series on his Facebook page, describing many of the scandal's inner workings. The mainstream media (MSM) largely ignored the story, although MSM reporters offered a number of attacks on me.

Jason Zengerle
(From gq.com)
Their approach changed when audio tapes emerged of Bentley and Mason having discussions of a "sexual nature" -- proving that Watkins and I had been right all along.

What prompted Dianne Bentley to file for divorce when she did? GQ provides insight:

For the Bentley sons, according to people close to the family, anger now metastasized into a fear that Mason could bring further havoc. (Bentley family members have declined to comment.) Should things sour, they worried Mason could claim she was sexually harassed and file a devastating civil suit. They implored their mother—who they knew still loved their father—to divorce him so that she could at least lay claim to half his assets now. And so, last August, Dianne Bentley filed for divorce. She cited irreconcilable differences. She did not claim infidelity, nor did she make any mention of the incriminating tape.

Bentley might be a sorry excuse for a governor -- and a husband -- but he and Dianne did not raise dummies. The brothers provided shrewd advice that probably ensured their mother would live out a comfortable life. And yes, the possibility of Mason bringing a sexual harassment claim probably was very real.

How badly have the people of Alabama been served in all of this? That might be the most important question of all, and GQ provides insights:

Whatever Mason's motives—to buck up a governor who she felt needed to assert himself or to win the affections of a lovelorn old man—the ego-stroking worked so well that some people were shocked. “When she became his top political adviser, it was like the Hindenburg came down and fell on the Titanic as the Titanic hit the iceberg,” one person who was once close to Bentley told me. “I was watching a woman who didn't know how a bill becomes a law running the state of Alabama.”

Yep, those conservative, "Christian" Republicans sure know how to govern -- when they aren't busy figuring out ways to satisfy their inappropriate urges, on the public dime.


Anonymous said...

Excellent article by GQ. Everyone in Alabama should read it.

Anonymous said...

Bentley has the brain of a 14-year-old in the body of a 70-year old.

Anonymous said...

Naw, It was not the VP of Bryant Bank son who recommended Beka.

Anonymous said...

“You kiss me. I love that. You know I do love that.”
“You know what, when I stand behind you and I put my arms around you, and I put my hands on your breasts, and I put my hands on you [unintelligible] and pull you real close...”
“Hey, I love that too, putting my hands under you.”
“Oh, great. I think about that right now, so let’s do it.”
“Yeah, I could tell you were thinking about—I could tell you were thinking about it last night.”
“It’s okay, everything is going to be fine. We’re going to be alright this week.”
“I love you. I love to talk to you. I do.”
“But baby, lemme tell you what we’re gonna have to do tonight: Start locking the door. If we’re gonna do what we did the other day, we’re gonna have to start locking the door.”

Anonymous said...

So, Bentley was bored being married to Dianne? Can you imagine how bored she must have been with being married to him?

Anonymous said...

If the old loon was talking like this to a woman not his wife of 50 years then what are the odds of Anthony Weiner style selfies of the governor?

Even odds that the luv gov sent a pic of himself standing at attention and the world will see it before this is all done.

Anonymous said...

A sick man. What else can you say?

Anonymous said...

Hey has a new butt hut at the beach. Paid for with gubment cash.

Anonymous said...

I love the file that under "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished." Sheesh. What an absolutely heartless and evil woman this Rebekah woman is and what an absolute fool Governor Bentley is to fall for it. I think he should have heeded his fears more when he told her that he's afraid of how much he loves her. What kind of a fool destroys his marriage and family and political legacy for a remarried divorcee with children who, to be honest about it, while younger than he is no Elizabeth Taylor?!?

Anonymous said...

Please check out Daily Haze on Facebook. They just got served in Shelby County for blogging and have no idea what they are up against.

Anonymous said...


legalschnauzer said...

Thanks, @2:17, for alerting me to the Shelby County case at Daily Haze. I would say it's mind-blowing, but I've been through a similar situation, so nothing much surprises me in that county.

If someone could send a copy of the lawsuit, I would love to look it over. I understand Health News Network is among those being sued? Do you know what the grounds are for the lawsuit? Is it defamation, something else?

Anonymous said...


Phil Fleming said...

I just can't "picture" Bentley naked. He would look like a death camp survivor

Anonymous said...

Bent Lee is the divine rod of Alabama politics. A man bent on snagging young cooze.

Anonymous said...

Thought everyone might want to see the latest opining from a local right-wing rag on the SCOTUS decision for ex-repug-gov Bob McDonnell... http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jun/26/us-supreme-court-to-decide-fate-of-ex-virginia-gov/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS

Anonymous said...

Everyone should read Donald Wakins latest article. It's come down soon.

Anonymous said...

Please read Donald Wakins latest article.

Anonymous said...

Wow, What a great read.

Anonymous said...

Looks like SCOTUS just screwed the pooch for McDonnell...

Anonymous said...

Some people don't belong to Facebook.

Actual link to the Watkins post referenced (thanks to the Meck Report!)


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lot of people will be going down, and not on each other.

No happy endings this time.

Anonymous said...

Bentley won't make it