|Robert Bentley and Rebekah Mason|
Bill Britt, editor of Alabama Political Reporter (APR), reported earlier this week that Bentley's high-priced lawyers from Maynard Cooper and Gale of Birmingham are playing hardball on discovery, stonewalling on producing the names of donors to the ACEGOV nonprofit, which has become known as Bentley's "Girlfriend Fund" because it was used to pay his mistress and senior adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
Why the determination to stiff the Collier legal team on discovery? Jill Simpson -- opposition researcher, whistle blower, and retired attorney -- says it likely is because Chattanooga real-estate mogul Franklin Haney was a prominent donor to ACEGOV. And he is the money man behind the Bellefonte project.
That brings us to another question that Bill Britt raised: Why is the Ivey administration so doggedly defending Bentley instead of putting the matter to rest? Simpson says it's likely because Ivey supports the Bellefonte project on behalf of what Simpson calls the "Alabama Gang" of corrupt right-wing politicos -- including such luminaries as "Luv Guv" Bentley, former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, former Gov. Bob Riley, and former Business Council of Alabama (BCA) president Bill Canary.
|Bellefonte nuclear plant|
The money trail can be difficult to follow, so we ask you to follow these bouncing balls:
(1) Haney reportedly engaged the services of Donald Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen to help arrange financing for the Bellefonte project from Qatari interests. The meeting, aboard Haney's yacht, came days before federal agents raided Cohen's office, and it could be of interest to investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The meeting also came before Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations.
(2) Haney has reached an agreement with SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian engineering firm, to finish at least one of two reactors at Bellefonte -- with the assistance of federal loan guarantees.
(3) SNC-Lavalin has a history of working on various projects with Russian interests, via the VEB Bank, which has close ties to Vladimir Putin. reputed mobster Oleg Deripaska, and former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort (who has been found guilty of financial crimes.)
(4) SNC-Lavalin is under a criminal inquiry in Canada, related to allegations of fraud on its engineering and construction projects.
Sounds like a quagmire, doesn't it? Jill Simpson seems to think so. From one of several Facebook posts on the subject:
The Mueller bunch, if they question Mr. Haney and Mr Cohen, might want to ask if the $10 million is coming from Mr Haney or from the Russian branch of SNC-Lavalin, a division that is owned 51 percent by the Russian government and controlled by Vladimir Putin.
The press might want to ask why Jeff Sessions' DOJ guy, Rod Rosenstein (who owes his current job to Chuck Cooper. Sessions' lawyer) and Mueller why they haven't arrested Mr Cohen's co-conspirator, Mr Haney. I suspect they are protecting Sessions, as Mr Haney knows all about the Sessions Alabama Gang of crooks, who have this nuclear deal going with a company that is owned in large part by Putin's government bank.
I don't know about most Alabamians, but I don't want a Russian-backed company, like SNC-Lavalin, putting in a nuclear plant near where I live. The Russian government stole our election, and God only knows what they might do with a nuclear plant.
I am pretty certain Mr Haney is just the middle man in this deal. . . . We still have the dark money connected to Bentley's girlfriend fund. We call it the "Governor of Alabama Pussy fund," suppoted by folks friendly with the Russian government and,in fact partners with Russian bank VEB.
God, these Russians are slick. It's so funny that Kay Ivey is overseeing Bentley legal defense so that Russian dark money from Haney and SNC-Lavalin does not become known to the public. The whole Alabama Gang ticket has been pushing for Haney and SNC-Lavalin (a Russian-government-bank company) gets their nuclear plant.
What could all of this mean for the United States down the road? The picture might not be pretty, Simpson writes:
I have been . . . spending a lot of time tracking the contract Mr Haney has with SNC-Lavalin on Bellefonte. So I thought I would share that Mr Haney has asked the Alabama Gang of GOP politicians to help him get $5 billion in a U.S. government loans to complete the nuclear plant, located near Scottsboro, Alabama.
The company he plans on giving the money to do this has close ties to the Russian government. Its name is SNC-Lavalin. Mr Haney reportedly is working with the Canadian company in multiple places, but that is only half true, as the company also operates out of Moscow and has close ties to the Russian government -- and to Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs. So everyone is real clear, this company will be finishing a U.S. nuclear plant. That sounds like a security matter that should not be allowed at all.
Also, SNC-Lavalin was awarded a huge Russian Arctic contract that I have been tracking for several years now.
Kay Ivey essentially has been running a 2018 "trust me" campaign for governor, refusing to debate Democrat Walt Maddox and saying almost nothing of substance. Perhaps she should address questions about her support for a Russia-backed project that will place a nuclear plant -- on TVA authorities have said is not even needed -- in the backyards of Alabama citizens.