By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on September 4, 2015.
Discovering Her Husband’s Infidelity
First Lady Dianne Bentley, a 72-year old devout Christian and loving wife, unselfishly gave Governor Robert Bentley 50 faithful years of marriage, birthed and raised four successful sons, sacrificed her own professional career as a bacteriologist to support her husband’s career as a physician and legislator, and campaigned tirelessly for her husband’s successful election as governor in 2010. Governor Bentley, 72, rewarded her for this steadfast faithfulness and support by engaging in a hot and heavy romance with his senior political advisor, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
The First Lady overheard the governor’s steamy love talk during some of his private phone calls with Rebekah. She also read his text messages, which graphically depicted the nature and scope of the love affair between her husband and his paramour. No further proof of his infidelity was needed.
Devastated and hurt beyond belief, the First Lady knew from the phone calls and text messages that her marriage was over. Rebekah, 43, had stolen Robert Bentley’s heart and affection. The only thing left for Dianne Bentley to do was prepare her sons and other family members for the dissolution of the marriage. She chose to accomplish this painful task in two phases. First, she would separate from the governor in January of 2015 and move back to Tuscaloosa, where she is still revered for her work as an advocate for healthy marriages and for being a staunch opponent of domestic abuse. Second, she would begin the arduous task of finding a competent lawyer who was not afraid to sue a sitting governor for her divorce.
Mrs. Bentley’s Golden wedding anniversary, on July 24, 2015, sealed the deal. While she was sitting alone in Tuscaloosa and grieving the death of her marriage, the governor was having the time of his life wining and dining his entourage of groupies on taxpayers’ dollars while attending the 2015 National Governors Association summer meeting in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia.
Financing the Love Affair
For over a year, the governor seemed oblivious to the hurt and pain he had caused to Mrs. Bentley and his children by his love affair with Rebekah. Since he was re-elected last year, Bentley’s primary concern has been figuring out how best to use the financial resources of the state, along with leftover campaign funds and the financial resources of friendly political groups, to support his romantic lifestyle with Rebekah.
In February, Governor Bentley established the Alabama Council for Excellent Government, a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation. Bentley’s former legal advisor Cooper Shattuck formed the Council at Bentley’s request. The stated purpose of the organization is to “support Governor
Bentley in his efforts to solve real problems and to make Alabama greater, stronger and more excellent for all the hardworking men and women who call this great state our home”. In reality, the Council is a slush fund that was set up to (a) fund Bentley’s love affair with Rebekah while concealing payments to her from the view of public oversight and accountability, and (b) stash money for life with Rebekah after the governor’s divorce from Mrs. Bentley.
Bentley funded the Council with excess campaign funds left over from his 2014 gubernatorial campaign. The Council has also received a $25,000 contribution this year from AEA and $20,000 from the Alabama Hospital Association.
Adding insult to injury, Bentley took advantage of a legal maneuver at the end of the 2014 campaign that essentially cheated the marital estate out of $500,000 in jointly owned cash and instead channeled it in Rebekah’s direction. In a classic money-laundering move, Bentley made a surprising personal loan of $500,000 to his campaign on October 24, 2014. The Bentley campaign then began funneling this money to the Council after its formation. From the Council, the money was channeled to Rebekah as “compensation” for whatever services she was rendering to the Governor.
Executive Perks for Rebekah Mason
Bentley also made sure that Rebekah Mason had unfettered access to state trooper transportation, the Governor’s mansion (at all times of the night), the state airplane, the Winton Blount mansion in Montgomery (which was donated to the state), and to any other state resource she needed to make herself fully available to the governor for his personal pleasure. After all, Rebekah, in Bentley’s mind, was the real “First Lady” of Alabama.
Just this year, Bentley pulled a state employee off of the state plane at the last minute in order to accommodate Rebekah as an unscheduled passenger on this out-of-state flight. When the scheduler for this flight questioned this executive action, Bentley chastised the scheduler publicly and unmercifully, shouting that he was the “Governor” and that he could do whatever he wanted to do. Rebekah was said to have been very pleased with this display of Bentley’s manhood.
A Policy of Concealment and Silence
Meanwhile, Chief Legal Advisor David Byrne, Chief of Staff Seth Hammett, and other Bentley staffers have been working diligently to conceal evidence of Bentley’s secret love affair with Rebekah. They have asked state troopers who were assigned to the governor’s security detail to sign confidentiality agreements. They have secured a private attorney to handle Bentley’s divorce case. They have also secured Joe Espy, a Montgomery attorney and fellow University of Alabama trustee, to handle the governor’s potential criminal exposure for using state resources to carry on his illicit love affair.
To date, Bentley and Rebekah have remained silent about their affair. However, the electronic footprint of the affair is permanent and cannot be erased. These lovers have painted a portrait of their love in their own words through their text messages, for all time. More to come…