|"Luv Guv" Bentley and Patti Austin|
(From Inside Alabama Politics)
Unlike John Archibald of al.com, we don't take credit for breaking stories that others actually broke. On the Austin story, we were the first to identify her as Bentley's "guest" -- so I guess we deserve partial credit for breaking it. But we were not the first to report on the gist of the story. And we certainly were not the first to provide photographic evidence of the pair at a Washington gala.
That honor belongs to Inside Alabama Politics (IAP), the venerable subscription-based newsletter that has been dishing dirt and landing scoops on state politics for years. As you can see from images above and below, the nosy folks at IAP (I like nosy folks) landed proof that Bentley had a lovely guest on his arm. And it wasn't Rebekah Caldwell Mason -- although she and husband Jon also were on the state plane, and surely were in the immediate vicinity when these photos were snapped.
Here is one problem with the photos: A guy who seems to have a serious drinking problem is caught guzzling beer in both shots. We don't know if this was an intentional "photo bomb" or he just happens to be the "Forrest Gump of the Washington social scene."
Either way, the photo at top catches Ms. Austin looking back over Bentley's right shoulder toward the photographer. One senses that she is not thrilled to see a photographer nearby. One also senses the photographer is trying to take the snaps on the down low, perhaps explaining why he didn't tell "Drinking Guy" to get the hell out of the way.
|Austin, Bentley, and "Drinking Guy"|
From Inside Alabama Politics
Here is the IAP news item that accompanied the photographs:
Last week Inside Alabama Politics broke the story Governor Robert Bentley had a date accompany him to Washington D.C. for the inauguration festivities of President Donald Trump. Also along on the flight to D.C. was the Governor’s 44-year-old alleged mistress Rebekah Mason and her husband Jon. When questioned by the media Bentley has only referred to his mystery date as an unnamed special guest and has declined to release her name. IAP has since learned she is a 54-year-old real estate agent from Orange Beach, we have decided not to identify her by name. She is pictured below (looking strikingly similar to Rebekah) at one of the inaugural parties with the Governor along with an unknown beer guzzling photo bomber.
What's with this idea of not identifying Ms. Austin, by name? IAP obviously knew who she was, name and all. What's the fun in not naming her?
We have to consider that a journalistic fumble on IAP's part, so we were happy to pick up the loose ball and run with it. But we give props to our colleagues for being the first to get the general story out there -- especially with photos.
For now, we only can hope someone has helped lift "Drinking Guy" out of the gutter.