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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Executive Betrayal – Robert Bentley’s Fleecing of Taxpayers and Donors

By Donald V. Watkins

©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on September 16, 2015

Governor Robert Bentley could barely contain his lust and love for Rebekah Caldwell Mason in the months leading up to his re-election in 2014. He was so obsessed with Rebekah that he sent a romantic text written for Rebekah to First Lady Dianne Bentley by mistake. It was graphic in content. Ms. Bentley’s subsequent review of her husband’s text messages answered all of her questions about the nature and scope of the governor’s marital infidelity. The text message exchange between the two lovers, along with what Dianne overheard during the governor’s private phone calls to Rebekah, let her know that the governor, 72, was “head-over-heels” in love and lust with his 43-year-old paramour.

Not only has Bentley proven to be a cheater and a sexual pervert, but now he has proven to be a crooked governor too. We have recently learned that Bentley not only had direct and personal knowledge of Rebekah’s handling of questionable financial practices with state and campaign monies, but he even went so far as to take calculated measures to prevent his staff from investigating these practices.

During the 2014 campaign season and beyond, the Bentley-Mason romance flamed with an intensity that bothered the governor’s close friends and most loyal staffers. They worried that the love affair would eventually spill over into the public arena. They were also very concerned with Rebekah’s unfettered access to state resources and cash, which included her unprecedented control over the expenditure of campaign funds.

At first the lines were blurred with regard to legitimate uses of state resources and campaign funds. When those blurred lines failed to raise any red flags among the oversight groups, the seemingly minor misuse of funds and resources graduated to a blatant disrespect for and clear abuse of the applicable regulatory rules and laws. Internal efforts to check Rebekah’s control over the money became an exercise in futility. Rebekah made it known among the campaign staff and within the governor’s office that she spoke for the governor, and her word was final.

Eventually, one of the governor’s top staffers and campaign officials grew impatient with the incessant whitewashing of Rebekah’s questionable financial practices. This staffer, whose name is being withheld because the individual is not authorized to speak on these matters, became afraid of being implicated in the governor’s scheme to skirt Alabama’s financial accountability and election reporting laws, as well as various federal anti-public corruption laws.

The staffer mustered up the courage to approach Governor Bentley about Rebekah’s control and dominion over state resources and campaign funds. He also informed the governor that she was misusing the state resources and misspending the campaign funds. After the staffer offered to investigate the matter further, an angry Bentley snapped and told this individual to “drop it or leave”. The staffer dutifully complied with the governor’s directive and dropped the matter.

The financial shenanigans continued unabated until Dianne Bentley filed her divorce complaint in August.

The governor and de facto First Lady Rebekah Mason took their love affair to the “new” governor’s mansion – the Wynfield Mansion, a/k/a Winton Blount Estate. This 12,000 square feet, $28 million mansion was donated to the state in 2007 by the estate of the late billionaire Winton Blount. The mansion is breathtaking in its magnificence, beauty and elegance. The governor has used public money and donor funds to ready the secluded mansion for his romantic lunches, discreet in-town getaways, and trysts with Rebekah.

Rebekah also made sure her husband Jonathan continued to be well compensated for continuing to turn a blind eye toward the love affair. Not only is Jonathan drawing a healthy annual salary in his position as director of Serve Alabama, he also reportedly receives economic benefits for the donations he secures for the various programs under this umbrella organization.

The governor and Rebekah made sure that they would continue to have access to lifestyle money with the establishment of Bentley’s “Alabama Council for Excellent Government”. This non-profit organization made it possible for Bentley to shield from public view the payments to Rebekah. The Council has three board members and has never had a board meeting. Yet, expenditures of Council funds have been made without board knowledge or approval.

After the news of the Bentleys’ divorce broke, Bentley arranged a hasty exit for Rebekah from the state. She is reportedly working for Presidential candidate John Kasich (R-Ohio). Kasich is also the current Governor of Ohio. Bentley endorsed Kasich for President in a surprise announcement on August 17th. Rebekah landed a job with the Kasich campaign shortly after the announcement.

In the aftermath of the governor’s cheating scandal, the list of defections by Bentley’s top staffers and supporters is growing. This list now includes prominent officials in Bentley’s Tuscaloosa church who have urged him, albeit without success, to break off the affair. The list also includes the staffer who reported Rebekah’s misuse of state resources and misspending of campaign funds. Others on the list include former trooper lieutenant Wendell Ray Lewis, the departing chief legal advisor David Byrne, a former executive employee at the state capitol who quit because of the Bentley-Mason affair, two of the three board members of the Council for Excellence (whose resignations are forthcoming), and several security officers (who are waiting to bolt from the mess created by this scandal).

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