A taped phone conversation released yesterday captures Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley calling your humble blogger a "slimy guy." Bentley also makes a negative reference to attorney Donald Watkins. The tape adds another level of authenticity to reports that Bentley used state and federal resources to target Watkins and me -- the two citizen journalists who broke the story last summer of Bentley's extramarital affair with advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
It becomes more intriguing when you consider this timeline: I broke the story of the Bentley/Mason affair on August 31, 2015, the same date Bentley and State Rep. Allen Farley (R-Bessemer) talked in the evening, with Bentley calling me a "slimy guy." Nine days later, on September 9, my wife, Carol, and I were violently and unlawfully evicted from our apartment in Springfield, Missouri, and Carol was left with a shattered left arm that required trauma surgery. We've already asked this question: Were Bentley and/or Mason involved in arranging the bogus eviction in Missouri? Was that part of their plan to target me? Was having us roughed up and brutalized also part of the plan?
The new audio suggests the answer might be yes.
Yellowhammer News yesterday released the audio, and al.com followed with a report that Farley made the tape and released it, in part because recent events had caused him not to trust Bentley. The tape captures Farley saying he wants to take information from an "avalanche" of press reports about misconduct in the Bentley administration and ask Attorney General Luther Strange to conduct an investigation.
"I want the AG to step up and make sure state dollars were properly spent by the governor," Farley says. "This is a bombshell, but we have to deal with it."
Bentley seems less than enthused about the idea. "Allen, I don't think you need to get Luther in it, personally. There's nothing we're trying to hide . . . Whoever is doing this is using rumors and innuendos that are not fact. . . ."
Who does Bentley think is throwing around these "rumors and innuendos"? He makes that abundantly clear. "Casino gambling people are feeding this story. . . . They want to use the divorce to feed the story and get it out because they are trying to discredit me. . . . This didn't cause my divorce, although it did in part . . . they fed my wife this stuff."
Get a load of that arrogance. Bentley actually is blaming "casino gambling people" -- whoever that is -- for his own abominable behavior with Mason, which caused his divorce. Talk about "slimy."
On a personal level, it's quite a "blow" to be called a "slimy guy" by someone as slimy as Bentley -- by a guy we know spent time caressing Mason's boobs and exploring her nether regions, even though he marched into office as a "Christian, family values" candidate. His values were so strong that his wife of 50 years, former First Lady Dianne Bentley, filed for divorce last August and more or less told the "Luv Guv" to take a hike -- after she was finished taking him to the cleaners.
My given name never comes up in the Bentley-Farley conversation. But my blogging name is front and center. Consider this back and forth from Farley (AF) and Bentley (RB), early in the tape:
AF: There is an avalanche of speculation across the media. . . . When these people are contacting me, I say the governor is my friend, and I've been over a couple of times and prayed with him. This is devastating. When they say, "What do you think of this allegation about trips taken by the governor on the jet, and overtime by people who guarded him, and personal things that have been alleged . . .
RB: I read some of that stuff from Donald Watkins. . . .
AF: There is this guy Legal Schnauzer, or something . . .
RB: Legal Schnauzer is the one who accused Rob Riley and got sued . . . he's a slimy guy.
That last part is laughable. Rob Riley might be the most unethical and oily individual ever to engage in American politics. And I'm a "slimy guy" because Riley filed a bogus defamation lawsuit against me -- a case where, by law, my reporting was shown to be neither false nor defamatory? Sounds like the people who think Bentley is mentally losing it might be right.
Bentley reveals himself to be both a liar -- repeatedly claiming, falsely, there was no affair -- and an idiot. He apparently thinks it's lawful, and routine, for a journalist to be kidnapped (taken without a warrant) and thrown in jail for five months because of a civil case that alleges publication of defamatory matter. We have a governor, it turns out, who knows absolutely nothing about the First Amendment.
Perhaps Bentley needs to take a refresher course in the meaning of the word "slimy." A quick Google search reveals this definition: "disgustingly immoral, dishonest, or obsequious."
If you want to talk about slimy qualities, Governor, try looking in the mirror.