|Rebecca and Jon Mason|
Rebekah Caldwell Mason, whose affair with the governor led to First Lady Dianne Bentley's divorce complaint last Friday, has been paid $426,978.43 via her Tuscaloosa-based company, RCM Consulting. Those campaign expenditures are shown at the Alabama Secretary of State Web site.
Records at open.alabama.gov show that Mason has received $161,571.67 in state funds during the Bentley administration. Those payments--in fiscal years 2011, 2012, and 2013--were listed mostly as "personnel costs," with a small amount for "out of state travel."
That brings total payments, to Rebekah Mason or her company, to $588,550.10.
The total expands considerably when you consider payments to Jon Mason, Rebekah's husband, in his role as director of the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Bentley appointed Jon Mason as director in 2011, and the office since has morphed into servealabama.gov.
At the "About Serve Alabama" Web page, the office's mission states:
ServeAlabama is a state agency under the office of the Governor of Alabama.
Serve Alabama, The Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Volunteer Service works to increase an ethic of service and volunteerism in the State of Alabama, strengthen the capacity of Alabama’s faith and community-based organizations, and promote collaboration among individuals and organizations striving to meet some of the greatest needs in our state.
We Serve Alabama in the following ways:
We serve as the Alabama State Service Commission, granting and administering (10) State AmeriCorps Programs across Alabama.
We are the state’s lead agency for Volunteer and Donations Management after disasters. Our work in this role includes response to Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina, Deepwater Horizion Spill and the April 2011 tornadoes.
We serve as a liaison to the state for faith-based and community-based non-profit groups.
We administer FEMA’s Disaster Case Management Program for survivors of the April 2011 storms.
We administer the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund.
We administer ReadyAlabama.gov, Alabama’s statewide disaster preparedness campaign.
Our role is to serve the people of Alabama and carry out the goals and objectives of the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Volunteer Service through partnerships, integrity, and a sense of community.
How is Jon Mason, as a former weatherman at WVUA in Tuscaloosa, qualified to head such an agency? That remains unclear, but public records show he has been paid well with taxpayer dollars. For FY 2014, the most recent full fiscal year on record, Mason received $94,673.27. It looks like he will be pushing a six-figure salary when FY 2015 is completed.
Jon Mason's total compensation during the Bentley years is $393,539.82. When you add that to Rebekah Mason's haul, you get a total of $982,089.92--and our sources say the official numbers do not represent all funds paid to the Mason family under Bentley.
Alabama is in the midst of a budget crisis, with reports that 15 state parks will be closed and statewide driver's license bureaus will be reduced to four.
But at least someone has profited nicely under Robert Bentley's leadership. And that is the Rebekah and Jon Mason family of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.