|Gov. Robert Bentley and Rebekah Caldwell Mason|
Bentley repeatedly has taken swipes at my professional and personal integrity, and multiple reports have him targeting me (and perhaps my wife, Carol) for unlawful retaliatory action. To think this clown rode into office while touting family values, with one arm raised in the air, while the other thumped a Bible . . . well, it makes him a despicable individual in my book, right down there with his GOP predecessor, Bob Riley -- and I thought no one could touch Riley when it came to right-wing perversity. Bentley has placed himself in the same ballpark.
All of this comes back to mind in the wake of a lawsuit former Bentley security chief Wendell Ray Lewis filed two weeks ago (Nov. 23) against Bentley, former adviser/mistress Rebekah Caldwell Mason and various unnamed individuals and entities who allegedly helped form a slush fund to pay Mason for her "services" to the governor.
I've been a professional journalist for more than 35 years, and I know how to separate my personal feelings from the job of being a reporter. But members of the Riley machine caused me to be thrown in jail for five months in Shelby County, Alabama, for daring to produce accurate journalism about their nasty activities. Now, Bentley has come along to smear me time and again, perhaps taking a role in acts that caused Carol's arm to be broken and us to be thrown into the streets. When political figures attack you in that way, it's no longer just a news story. They are trying to ruin you, and the most objective reporter is driven to fight back -- in a way that could draw blood from someone, at some point.
Again, why has the Bentley story become personal? Let's count the reasons, taking into account what we've learned from the Lewis lawsuit:
(1) On August 31, 2015, we break the story at Legal Schnauzer of the Bentley-Mason extramarital affair. Nine days later (on Sept. 9), we are unlawfully evicted from our apartment in Springfield, Missouri, and in the process, a deputy breaks Carol's left arm so severely that it requires repair from a trauma surgeon. We later learn that Bentley had targeted Web-based journalists, including yours truly, who led the way in breaking details about the Mason affair.
(2) On September 1, 2015, I become the first journalist to report on possible financial irregularities related to the Bentley/Mason affair. I follow up with a second such post on September 2. (Al.com begins to address similar issues on September 3; but the entire scandal, both the sexual and financial angles, take flight from my reporting.) Did this increase the likelihood that Bentley would target us, causing Carol's arm to be broken and both of us to have assault weapons and pistols pointed in our direction -- during an eviction that, by law, could not happen? We still are searching for answers to that question.
(3) In a December 27, 2015, article by al.com reporter (and Ashley Madison devotee) Chuck Dean, Bentley denies "rumors" of an affair with Mason. From the article:
"The rumors were not true," said Bentley.
The governor then seemed to let out months of pent up frustrations.
"There were people on blogs and people in the press who crossed the line. They truly crossed the line. People on talk radio crossed the line," said Bentley.
Bentley essentially took a No. 2 on my integrity. Did I take exception to that, knowing the quality of the sources who helped me break the affair story? Yes, I did. Did I take a certain amount of pleasure in what came next? Yes, I did.
(4) On March 22, 2016, news breaks that text messages and audio recordings show that Bentley and Mason did, in fact, have an affair. Audio captures Bentley reminiscing about fondling Mason's breasts and exploring her nether regions. Despite that, Bentley claims the affair was just a matter of dirty talk and was not physical. (Note to self: Fondling a woman's breasts and massaging her nether regions does not count as "physical.") The Rachel Maddow Show, The Washington Post, and other national news outlets pick up the story, turning Bentley -- and Alabama -- into a national punchline.
(5) In early August, a new audio recording captures Bentley calling me a "slimy guy" and blaming his divorce on "casino gambling people." How low will this guy go? This is from our post on the subject:
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.
(6) Finally, we have the Lewis lawsuit, which was filed on November 23. Lewis quotes Bentley admitting to a physical affair and asking his security chief to break up with her for him. So, let's review: Everything I reported in my early postings -- roughly seven months before the mainstream media took notice of the story -- was accurate. But "Luv Guv" Bentley wants the public to believe I am the "slimy guy." This apparently is a seriously disturbed mind at work.
Where does this all go from here. In a Facebook post dated December 4, attorney Donald Watkins says corruption might be coming to a head in Alabama, driven in part by former House Speaker Mike Hubbard and his efforts to reduce his sentence for ethics-law violations by "singing like a bird" to a task force of state and federal investigators. From the post:
Hubbard’s cooperation with authorities has led them to others in state and local government. This includes Jefferson County lawmakers and local officials.
As a result of Hubbard’s substantial cooperation with prosecutors, at least four members of the Alabama House of Representatives are under investigation and could possibly be indicted. One of the four -- Oliver Robinson -- suddenly resigned his House seat at the end of November. Three additional Birmingham-area legislators are targets of the investigation. Two of these lawmakers are Republicans and one is a Democrat.
In October, the Alabama Attorney General’s Corruption Unit empaneled a grand jury in Jefferson County. This is the prosecutorial unit that took down Mike Hubbard.
We have confirmed that the grand jury is investigating allegations of ethics violations and public corruption inside Birmingham City Hall and the Birmingham Water Works Board. The investigation is also reviewing vendor relationships at other city agencies, including the Birmingham Airport and Birmingham Construction Industry Authority.
(Question: Is anyone looking at Riley Inc.? How can any serious investigation of Alabama corruption not include Bob and Rob "Uday" Riley?)
Watkins paints a picture that comes back around to "Dr. Love" Bentley and Rebekah Mason:
On Friday, Cooper Shattuck, Governor Bentley’s former legal adviser, suddenly resigned from his powerful position as General Counsel to the University of Alabama System. Shattuck oversaw Bentley’s “dark money” slush fund -- the Alabama Council for Excellent Government – that was formed in 2015 and used to pay Rebekah Mason for “personal services” rendered to the Governor. The slush fund was established after Mike Echols, Governor Bentley’s long-time personal CPA and heavy hitting moneyman for the Robert Bentley Campaign Committee, split from Bentley. Echols resigned his post over a disagreement with Bentley about his love affair with Rebekah Mason. . . .
Prosecutors have not extended a plea deal to Rebekah Mason. They do not need her cooperation to make their criminal case against these two lovers.
Bentley and Mason have run out of options for avoiding their indictment.
When he started off with that business about "I want to be your brother," we should have known this boy ain't right. What a disgrace.
Interesting stuff from Watkins about Hubbard "singing" to state and federal prosecutors.
So someone is going after Oliver Robinson, but not Bob Riley? That sounds like the usual standard for racist prosecutions in Alabama.
I see from yesterday's post that you have a comment from Davy Hay. Sounds like he's butt-hurt that you revealed him to be a Bill Baxley/Luther Strange suck up. Thought you did a pretty good job of telling him to stick it.
Yes, Davy slithered out from under his rock to leave a comment on this post:
I invited him to call me, and I would be happy to interview him about his actions in the Garrison case, give him a chance to explain himself. Doubt he will take me up on that.
Also, I asked him who paid him to sell me out, since I didn't pay him anything. Doubt he will answer that either.
Anyone who ever considers hiring Davy Hay for a legal matter, no matter how small, would be wise to call me first.
I don't blame you for being pissed. To write a set of on-target stories and then hear Bentley deny they were accurate and call you slimy . . . I'd be pissed too. He's a lowlife.
Funny that al.com would jump on the story in recent months, but didn't they trash you when you broke it?
Yes, they did. In fact, that's about all they did for the first seven months of the story. Here is part of what John Archibald wrote when the story first broke. This is ironic because Arcibald, best I can tell, broke the recent story about Wendell Ray Lewis' lawsuit. Not sure there would have been a Lewis lawsuit -- or at least one that was covered in the press -- if I'd not had the top-notch sources, and the "stones," to break it.
"Several media outlets--bloggers and radio talkers--this morning cited "sources" as they reported that Gov. Robert Bentley has without question had an affair with a female staff member, a torrid love cuddle that caused the governor's wife of a half century, Dianne Bentley, to file for divorce and ask for everything the guy ever made.
All they offered was "sources." Not proof or fact or anything more than smoke."
I appreciate Donald Watkins reporting on Mike Hubbard and his "arias," but the way he writes it, I get a strong whiff of selective prosecution. How on earth does anyone take a look at corruption in Alabama without looking at Bob and Uday Riley?
Some of the Riley corruption probably is beyond the statute of limitations, but I'm sure an investigation would turn up plenty of Riley dirt that is inside the statute.
Agreed, @3:06. In fact, I feel certain you could make a criminal case against Uday Riley for all of his acts that caused me to be unlawfully incarcerated. I'm pretty sure all of that would be within any applicable SOL, and there is no telling how many sleaze bags that would bring down. We're talking kidnapping here, so that is serious stuff under any criminal code.
I'm not the most objective observer on that issue, but you can bet crimes were committed.
God only knows how many crimes Bob Riley has been involved in. The likely ones that jump out at me involve obstruction related to the Alabama Supreme Court and its string of bogus rulings regarding VictoyLand. My guess is that Riley homeboy Jim Main might be a primary figure in that, with Roy Moore sitting by and doing nothing.
And we have hard and fast written evidence that suggests Bob and Uday Riley, and Bill Baxley, were engaged in obstruction in Mike Hubbard case.
Speaking of Riley criminality here is an LS post that addressed that:
Perhaps the key unanswered question: How close will any future indictments get to key figures in Riley Inc., the political machine that seemingly is built around worship of former Gov. Bob Riley?
Why might the spotlight shine first on Reagan. He was forced to resign in December 2014 after Attorney General Luther Strange found he had leaked secret grand-jury information to political associates. Evidence released before the Hubbard trial started suggests Bob Riley, former first son Rob Riley, Hubbard attorney Bill Baxley, and Hubbard himself were among those who received Reagan's information.
This is ironic because Arcibald (sic), best I can tell, broke the recent story about Wendell Ray Lewis' lawsuit.
I personally would not use the phrase "broke the recent story" with respect to reporting a lawsuit (which was not filed under seal and is thus public record) which involves various parties and participants to the apparently intertwined scandals which have received national press attention for years.
It certainly took no stones or reporting skills to get out in front of everyone else with coverage of the Lewis lawsuit at this late date. I would describe Archibald's report as got there first in a cloud of dust.
Why hasn't Strange prosecuted Sonny Reagan and Gene Sisson, and anyone to whom they leaked grand-jury information?
Strange is letting these white guys from his own office, but he's maybe going prosecute Oliver Robinson and William Bell?
Sounds like Strange is trying to appeal to his racist base by prosecuting some black guys.
I saw Davy Hay's comment on yesterday's post, and I found it appalling for a so-called "legal professional." Here is part of what al.com reported about Hay's plan to represent you:
"Shuler also asks the judge to grant him leave to file an amended answer and counterclaim, and enter a new scheduling order sufficient to allow time for discovery in the case. . . .
"Hay states in the motion that Shuler has a meritorious defense in the case, "and by virtue of evidence currently in his possession and that which can be obtained through exhaustive discovery, shall show that the case against him is frivolous and nothing more than an attempt by the plaintiff to unconstitutionally bully the defendant (Shuler) into silence."
Hay publicly stated he was going to file a counterclaim and seek discovery, but he did not do either. And then he sounds like a wise-ass in his your comments section. What a puss, what a schmuck!
I would use the term POS to describe Hay, but puss and schmuck certainly apply.
I've had a couple of comments on this post about Hay's comment left on yesterday's post. Since it's attracted interest here, here is the Hay missive and my response:
Davy Hay said...
So I guess, based on your capitulating to the complaints and blurring the picture...this is now the 2nd time you have self censored?
December 6, 2016 at 9:23 PM
Davy Hay --
Here is a question for you: Once you've screwed over a client, and failed to do the "exhaustive discovery" that you have promised, you then file smart-aleck remarks to them online? What a class act you are!
Why don't you answer this question: Who paid you to change your tune in the middle of the song, after engaging in "oral argument" with Bill Baxley. My experience has been that lawyers never do anything for free. Since I didn't pay you, who did pay you to come up with your BS "$1 plan"? I find it interesting that your promise to file a counterclaim and conduct "exhaustive discovery" went out the window once you communicated with your hero, Bill Baxley.
Is that how a lawyer goes about selling out a client? You get more free publicity from my case than all of your other cases combined, and then you stab me in the back. In fact, you conned the public, with your high-and-mighty claims regarding the First Amendment, and then you want to sell out the First Amendment for $1. Some "legal champion" you are.
Here's how it looks from my seat: Jessica Garrison and Luther Strange can't handle discovery because they did, in fact, have an affair -- and I'm sure you know that. So someone persuaded you, and made it worth your while, to ignore your promise of conducting discovery.
You wind up siding with a lowlife like Bill Baxley, which must make you very proud.
No wonder so many people consider lawyers to be a bunch of blood-sucking con artists. Why don't you give me a call if you wish to discuss further? You have my number, unless you sold that out, too.
December 7, 2016 at 6:49 AM
What is the proof that the post made under "Davy Hay" was actually made by Davy Hay rather than some shit stirrer running a false flag op?
That's a good question, @5:14. All I have to go on is the name attached to the comment, but yes, someone could put a fake name on there. The Internet is kind of known for that. If Davy Hay sees the comment and wants to show that it wasn't him, I hope he will do that. I invited him to call me, so he's welcome to call (or write) and show that it wasn't him.
These comments make for good passing away the moments in time without discussions going to root causes of our state government's problems and corruptions. And for the moment serves the purpose; for the Iceman has already cometh, and he sits waiting at the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing room's table............ babbling bullshit has longtime past, now time for Sessions pulling up big boy pants soon faced with national public accountabilities and responsibilities that will dictate face of future politics in Alabama. Strange will never get past the Senate Judiciary Committee; and neither can he prosecute those he fired, Alabama's entrenched corruptions are now more than ever before on schedule for exposing, investigations, indictments, convictions, and most assuredly will not be limited to sexual lifestyles when the political moral compass has spun off and broken.
Just think: two years from now, Governor "Pussyhound" will be out of a job and will live the rest of his life, as a lonely "old fart"
Urban dictionary: "Pussyhound"-a man who loves pussy; really likes it.
@ 9:39 A.M. December 08, 2016
Which of the two following incidents do you feel secure in that demands more political expediency in solving, even at the expense of revealing their cover ups; permissive, though sexual misconducts while governors and attorney generals, or two high school senior girls murdered execution style after audio recording officials involved with young people with contrabands, before could get to the FBI in Montgomery? But, you probably do not know of such things, why, because you do not get seriously involved in the state corruption undermining the political character and integrities of our state.
@4:54 -- I don't get seriously involved in state corruption? Are you kidding? Why do you think Riley Inc. had me kidnapped and thrown in jail for five months?
I'm just one person, and I've never claimed I can tackle every story of corruption in Alabama. But have I been seriously involved. You're darned toutin, and I've paid a price that hardly anyone has paid, including you.
Roger, are you the 9:39 A.M. to which the 4:54 P.M. was posted; you may want to recheck to whom comment directed. Right?
Yes, my mistake, the comment was directed toward someone else. I didn't see that part originally. Sorry for getting on my high-horse there.
What I find so amusing is, if you are so incorrect and not a journalist and all those other things the gov el al keep saying about you, why do they pay you any attention. I don't know about the U.S.A. but here in Canada if some one is pretending to be a journalist but most everyone else thinks they're a nut bar, they get ignored. If you're not being ignored I'd suggest you're on to something. Something those you write about aren't happy about having exposed. Keep up the good work.
There are over a hundred channel on my t.v. but nothing as entertaining as the politics of the State of Alabama. You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.
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