Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Robert Bentley's claim that Paul Bryant Jr. was "using" him suggests the Crimson Tide football boss was connected to the scandal that brought down a governor

Paul Bryant Jr.
(From Bloomberg Markets)
An oblique reference to Paul Bryant Jr. in an impeachment report indicates the businessman and University of Alabama sports honcho might have been connected to the sex/money scandal that brought down Gov. Robert Bentley.

Bryant was a major financial backer when the Tuscaloosa-based Bentley ran for governor. But the relationship must have soured because a recently released impeachment report quotes Bentley as saying Bryant was among several power brokers who were "using" him. Others included in the quote were Clay Ryan, vice president for governmental affairs and special counsel at the University of Alabama, and Bill O'Connor, a political consultant and former president of the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) who became a Bentley insider, with close ties to Chief of Staff Seth Hammett.

Bentley's comment about Bryant is buried on page 86 of the impeachment report, and to my knowledge, has received no attention in the press. (The full report is embedded at the end of this post.)

The comment came after Bentley had dispatched Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) chief Spencer Collier to meet with the governor's scheduler, Linda Adams, to find out what she might know about tape recordings of a steamy conversation between Bentley and his adviser/mistress Rebekah Caldwell Mason. The meeting with Collier left Adams shaken, and Bentley brought it up with her in a subsequent meeting. From the report:

About a week later, on routine business in Governor Bentley’s office, Governor Bentley asked Adams if Collier had come to see her on election night. She replied: “Yes, sir, he did, and I don’t appreciate it.” Governor Bentley said: “I sent him.” Adams asked Governor Bentley: “Do you not trust me?” Governor Bentley replied: “Oh, no, no, no Linda, it’s nothing like that.” Adams says that Governor Bentley told her that his family was turning against him and that Paul Bryant, Clay Ryan, and Bill O’Connor were “using” him. Adams ended the conversation by telling Governor Bentley, “Governor, there are a lot of people using you.”

The governor is telling a key aide that two top-of-the-food-chain officials from the University of Alabama and a former president of the BCA are "using" him. How could those individuals "use" the governor? Were they using him for their personal benefit, for the benefit of the university and certain business interests? Did their "use" of Bentley involve Rebekah Caldwell Mason?

O'Connor reportedly told security chief Wendell Ray Lewis, ""We created Rebekah, but it wasn't to sleep with the Governor."

Who exactly is "we," and why did they create Rebekah Mason? That is one of many questions lingering over the Bentley scandal, even after he is gone from office.


Anonymous said...

I hadn't heard about this angle to the Bentley drama. Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Bryant has made a career out of using people. That's what he does, it's all he knows.

Anonymous said...

Bentley probably never gets elected without the Crimson Tide football vote, and Bryant's name attached as a supporter.

Anonymous said...

Seems pretty obvious the Bentley scandal runs through UAT. Cooper Shattuck, Jon Mason, Clay Ryan, PBJ . . . very, very Crimson.

Anonymous said...

Strange story about the two women from U of Alabama Law School being found dead at Lake Tuscaloosa.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:38 --

Yes, very sad. Sounds like a possible electrocution. I believe one of their husband's works in athletics dept. at UA, as fundraiser for Crimson Tide Foundation.

Anonymous said...

"We created Rebecca, but it wasn't to sleep with the governor."

Gee, nothing strange about that comment!

Anonymous said...

A shining example that this was a weak investigation. That little section about Bryant, Ryan, and O'Connor just begs for further investigation, but the impeachment team apparently didn't bother -- or it allowed itself to be stonewalled.

Anonymous said...

So BCA and U of Alabama try to use the governor to benefit themselves? Didn't see that one coming.

Anonymous said...

That funky quote from O'Connor tells me this: They paid "Home Wrecky Becky" to push certain things on "Luv Guv." She wound up pushing more than they bargained for.

legalschnauzer said...

@2:27 --

I think you nailed it. That's probably why no one was interested in further investigation of Rebekah Mason. We know she doesn't work for free, so it stands to reason that money was changing hands. Nothing to see here.

Anonymous said...


#39 Rebekah Mason written by Cliff Sims on February 17, 2014 at 10:01 am CST

Its easy to forget, but there was a time when Robert Bentley was a little-known state representative from Tuscaloosa launching a long-shot bid for governor. Very few people believed he had much of a chance against better funded candidates. But Mason was one of the true believers from the very beginning.

After Bentley was elected, Mason came into the administration as Communications Director. Bentley World has been basically devoid of controversy, which can be attributed in part to Masons deft handling of the communications shop.

Now that shes moved outside of the administration, its freed her up to take on a greater role in shaping the big-picture direction of the governors office and re-election campaign, rather than having to get bogged down in the day-to-day operations.

Staffers and administration officials frequently bring problems or ideas to Mason first to find out how to best present them to the governor. And shes written or refined pretty much any important speech or comment the governor has given over the last four years.

Rebekahs the governors voice, one senior administration staffer told Yellowhammer. I dont think you can overstate how influential she is when it comes to the message the public hears from this governor.


Anonymous said...

@4:50 --

Good find. Maybe Bryant & Co. paid Mason to become "the governor's voice," but she became his plaything, too?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of "Yellowhammer" this should be interesting: http://yellowhammernews.com/politics-2/alabama-special-election-for-u-s-senate-seat-moved-up-to-this-year-jal/

e.a.f. said...

it could be Bentley was being a tad paranoid. Perhaps as a previous poster suggested, she was there for other reasons and when that didn't work out, to accomplish "goals" Mason slept with the governor and gave him the idea she "cared' for him, when it was only to keep tabs on him.

it would appear Govenors are elected for all sorts of reasons and sometimes groups want a specific person to be elected for their own gains. Once elected they do have to keep tabs on him to ensure he/she stays in line. When they don't, well they have to go.