Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Bentley crony Cooper Shattuck reels in $325,000 of state legal work, while Rebekah Caldwell Mason remains front and center in "Luv Guv's" administration

Cooper Shattuck
(From Alabama Political Reporter)
The lawyer who formed an alleged slush fund for the mistress of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has received state contracts worth $325,000, according to a recent published report. The mistress, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, remains front and center with Team Bentley, even though she supposedly resigned as senior political adviser last March, the report states.

Cooper Shattuck, who resigned as chief counsel at the University of Alabama last December, is billing at $195 per hour for legal work, according to the subscription Inside Alabama Politics (IAP) Web site. Shattuck served as Bentley's legal adviser before taking the UA job and established the ACEGOV nonprofit, which has been described as a slush fund for Bentley mistress Rebekah Caldwell Mason.

Shattuck resigned at UA eight days after being named in a lawsuit filed by former Bentley security chief Wendell Ray Lewis. ACEGOV is a defendant, with Shattuck prominently mentioned in the lawsuit. Shattuck might be out of a full-time job, but he won't be hurting for money anytime soon. From the IAP report:

According to a State contract review for February, Shattuck will pull down $325,000 in legal work for the state between now and January 2019. One contract is for legal work related to the Deepwater Horizon matters and issues with the Gulf State Park Enhancement Project, a State-run hotel and convention center that will compete with private businesses along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Billing at $195/hour this contract is good for $250,000 of state money from DWH funds until January 2019. A second contract for Shattuck (again at $195/hour) is related directly to the governor’s office dealing with Bentley’s possible impeachment. The contract states that the nature of the work is to provide “advice, counsel and other related legal services on all matters involving the Governor’s Office…on an as-needed basis.” Bentley’s friend will be paid $75,000 for this work through September 2018.

What about Caldwell Mason? Well, she apparently considers herself bulletproof. From IAP:

Speaking of Rebekah Mason, according to several sources she has once again become a permanent fixture around the Governor’s office. One insider tells IAP “she is conducting meetings as if she were the boss.” Another source has reported Mason now occupies office space in the RSA Union building and possibly working on another project with Shattuck.

Shattuck, by the way, is not the only lawyer gorging himself at the public trough:

Also mentioned in February’s contract review included $285,000 for legal work by Waller Lansden Dortch and Davis. If that name sounds familiar, it may be because Governor Bentley paid the firm $50,000 for ‘administrative’ work, presumably since there is no category on campaign finance forms for paying legal fees. Bentley reported the expenditure in January on the same report where he paid his legal bills as well as those for his fondling partner Mason.

How many reports about the seemingly dry topic of state contracts would include a reference to the governor's "fondling partner"?  Only in Alabama.


Anonymous said...

When Shattuck was forced out at Bama, you knew he somehow was going to land with Luv Guv.

Spear Chucker said...

Bentley just can't help himself. Never seen a guy, already in a deep hole, who can keep digging like Bentley can.

Anonymous said...

How much work will Shattuck actually do?

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I think nothing will ever happen with the Bentley Impeachment. The momentum is not there in the state house to keep pushing it forward and it would seem most of the public has just moved on. Even if he eventually gets put on trial, they can drag it out for a pretty good amount of time, maybe even into the next election cycle in which the story would probably get lost since he is a lame duck. Other than and here, there are not a lot of calls for answers. I guess we try to make a better choice next election.

Anonymous said...

I hear Bentley has a new girlfriend, a real estate agent down south, I think in Orange Beach.

Anonymous said...

@11:07 In addition to Mason and hubby, wasn't there an unnamed person on the Luv Gov's guest list flown up to Trump's inauguration?

Anonymous said...

Aboard the Camperdown the 4=H lambs were bedded down for the night. Beka had scheduled the Luv Guv to be the judge the next day. Beka and the Luv Gov were enjoying a bottle of "3 Fools Petite Verdot" when Beka began to get small drops of perspiration on her upper lip. She whispered to the Guv,"Robert I'm hot." He reached for his wallet to get a condom and remembered he had left his wallet at home. He called security to rush his wallet to him "pronto". Beka cooed to the Luv Guv that a sheep skin would feel more natural. The Guv was in the sheep pen when Beka heard the sheep bleating Aboard the Eliza Battle the Stranger in the Shadows was recounting his visit to the 4-H show on the Camperdown. The stranger said a ventriloquist asked Bentley if the little black dog sitting by him could talk. Bentley had replied ,"Dogs can't talk." The ventriloquist asked the little black dog what Bentley had done the previous night. The little dog replied "He had sex with Beka." The ventriloquist asked Bentley if the sheep could talk. Bentley replied "Yes! But they lie"

legalschnauzer said...

@12:03 --

Yes, there was an unnamed "guest" on the trip to DC. I'm working on nailing that story down. Should have it soon here at LS.

Anonymous said...

Oh, God, Shattuck and Mason are going to be working on a project together. That will be like having Richard Pryor playing with matches near flammable liquid.

Anonymous said...

Just when you think Bentley can't get any worse . . .

Anonymous said...

For some reason the Governor Bent/Bekky Homewrecky/unnamed "special guest" at the inauguration continuing saga might remind some people of an old NASA scandal.

legalschnauzer said...

Hah, I had forgotten that story. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of the cuked repubs actually are into diapers? There were some internet rumors abut Dave from Louisiana and some hooker...

Anonymous said...

Hm-m-m. Has Bently redeemed himself with the Trump crowd by helping Sessions with private prisons?

Anonymous said...

$195 per hour for legal work? I don't know if you realize this, but that's actually dirt cheap. Most lawyers won't get out of bed for less than $300 an hour.

legalschnauzer said...

I'm quite aware of how much lawyers charge. I've written a number of posts about how much lawyers have cost us. The bigger questions here, in my view, are: (1) Will Shattuck actually do any legal work that could not be done by staff attorneys or private lawyers already being paid by the state; (2) Was there a real need to hire Shattuck or this just graft to a Bentley crony; (3) Was this contract subject to state bid law and did it go through that process? (4) What's the real reason Shattuck was let go at UA?

Ooooh that smell Cant you smell that smell said...

"The news that Craig Pouncey, Jefferson County school superintendent, took legal action against state school board member Mary Scott Hunter, former interim state superintendent Phillip Cleveland, department legal counsel Juliana Dean and two of her staff attorneys spread like gossip in a small church yesterday.

The lawsuit was triggered by an effort last summer to discredit Pouncey’s reputation and prevent him from being selected state superintendent. You can see the entire court filing here.

The suit contends that those named above played a key role in an anonymous smear sheet alleging that Pouncey did not author his own doctoral dissertation in 2009 for Samford University."

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for sharing, @10:46. Who was against Pouncey on this? Was it Riley types, Bentley types? Trashing someone's reputation and messing with their employment sounds like a Riley gig.

Anonymous said...

What if this leads to Governor Bentley's Wheelhouse? Because that's a diSTINKT possibility!

"Pouncey was the target of an anonymous complaint that alleged that he used staff at the Alabama Department of Education to complete a dissertation. Pouncey, backed by the staff members alleged to have helped him, said he accepted voluntary help typing the dissertation but added that he wrote every word himself.

Gov. Robert Bentley alluded to the complaint during Pouncey’s interview for state superintendent in August. The following week, the State Board of Education voted to give the job to former Massachusetts Secretary of Education Michael Sentance. Those who voted for Sentance, including Bentley and Hunter, said the complaint did not weigh on their decision and that they sought an outsider who could improve the state’s performance on standardized tests."

Do the citizens of Alabama have any reason to suspect anyone else has been in the Governor's wheelhouse with him? Possibly doing the kinds of things they need to lock the door for?

Here's one question: did Hunter have an agenda?

Here is what we know with certainty: A “smear sheet” intended to discredit applicant Craig Pouncey was distributed to State Board members at their July 12 meeting. Masquerading as a complaint to the Ethics Commission, the info was unsigned. While six board members discounted it, members Mary Scott Hunter and Matt Brown told the legislative committee they were very troubled by the allegations.

Hunter passed the info on to Phillip Cleveland, who was interim superintendent at the time, and asked him to get it to board legal counsel Juliana Dean. Hunter then called Tom Allbritton, who runs the Ethics Committee, and told him about the document. She did not tell him that the info was anonymous (This is important because the Ethics Commission will not investigate info they can not verify or prove credible)

Discovery could be interesting!

Anonymous said...

It is unfathomable how Bentley and his mistress just keep succeeding with their money laundering ventures at the expense of the state. Why oh why oh why do they keep getting away with it? It isn't as though they've been overly cleverly in hiding their misuse of funds. All I can figure is that they must have the real dirt on everybody and everybody is running scared of them. This is really ridiculous.

legalschnauzer said...

They keep getting away with it because our justice system is broken. We haven't had a real AG in Alabama for years, unless Strange wanted to prosecute someone (is that you, Mike Hubbard?) for political reasons. Obama was horrible on justice issues, appointing the completely inept George Beck as USA in Montgomery.

Anonymous said...

Check out thisvery interesting situation

"Between June and August 31, 2016, there were almost weekly meetings and over 250 emails exchanged discussing how to smear Pouncey. The report found that the these five individuals — using state time, equipment, and resources — coordinated to disseminate, “anonymous and unsubstantiated ethical allegations to legislators, State Board members, governmental bodies, news and media outlets, and the public at large would effectively taint Dr. Pouncey’s credibility and candidacy to be selected as State Superintendent.”

In sworn testimony, ALSDE’s Chief Information Security Officer David Pope recalled how, on or around July 20, 2016, he was summoned by Cleveland and Dean for a, “telephone conference with Mary Scott Hunter on General Counsel Dean’s speaker phone.” At the heart of the matter was Hunter’s “demand” that Pope conduct a computer search, for all e-mails and documents relating to Pouncey. Pope also confirmed that Cleveland and Dean, “were in favor of Mary Scott Hunter’s demands and encouraged him to fully cooperate.” According to Pope’s testimony Dean, “further offered her assistance, including identifying search terms.”"

legalschnauzer said...

@10:30 --

Thanks for sharing. Here's something I haven't figured out about the Pouncey story. Why were these folks against him, and to what political tribe do they belong? Are they Riley people, Bentley people, other? Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Add'l on the Sentance 'selection':

How Much Does Mary Scott Hunter Care For Craig Pouncey? Let’s Check The Record.

As we continue to rehash the shenanigans that took place last summer looking for a state school chief, one of the focal points continues to be what role did state board member Mary Scott Hunter play in it all? She told a legislative committee that she made sure the anonymous smear sheet aimed at applicant Craig Pouncey got to legal counsel, Juliana Dean, at the state department. She has also admitted that she notified the head of the Ethics Commission about this info.

Let's not forget that Mary Scott Hunter announced earlier this month that she's running for Lt. Governor of Alabama, to replace Kay Ivey who isn't Lt. Governor of Alabama anymore, because Robert 'the Luv Guv' Bentley isn't Governor of Alabama anymore.

The previously linked blog post continues with another very illuminating detail:

Prior to the board vote last August on a new superintendent, each member, including Governor Robert Bentley, could list up to five of the applicants to be interviewed.

Bentley listed Bill Evers, Jeana Ross and Janet Womack....

Mary Scott Hunter picked Bill Evers, Dee Fowler, Mike Sentance and Jeana Ross.

So of the eight elected board members and the governor, only Hunter and the governor did not ask that Pouncey be interviewed.
In other words, apparently she felt that at least four other applicants were more qualified than he was.

Now the question still remains; who was really hitting the flush lever? It's Alabama politics so the first question should be: "Is it the BCA?"

Those who handed Sentance the reins were Governor Robert Bentley, Matt Brown, Mary Scott Hunter, Betty Peters and Stephanie Bell.

Many educators have expressed confusion and even betrayal by Peters and Bell who made common-cause with Brown and Hunter to appoint Sentance.

According to individuals at the recent BCA conference, Hunter painted Sentence as an attractive candidate. According to those at ALSDE, Sentance had all but withdrawn from the process until Hunter moved to encourage him to stay in the race.

According to sources with direct knowledge, AFLA and BCA lobbied for the Board to select anyone but Pouncey, and it worked.

ALFA’s chief and two of his lobbyists were on hand at the proceeding.

And...Mary Scott Hunter is running for Lt. Governor, and probably would like the BCA to contribute what they can. Like they say, making your bones.

Anonymous said...

Add'l on the Sentance 'selection':

The Evolving Story Surrounding Superintendent’s Hiring

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The selection of Michael Sentance as Superintendent of Education is an evolving story with no end in sight.

Insiders believe Sentance is a useful stooge to give the powers that be an opening to abolish the elected Board of Education, fully implement common core and surrender the State’s education to private enterprise under an Accountability Act 2.0. The move is thought to be the product of a loose confederation between the Business Council of Alabama (BCA), ALFA and Riley Inc.