BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Not quite sure who some of the people mentioned in the recent coverage of the accusations and allegations made against Governor Robert Bentley are? Here is a list to help breakdown some of the key players. And to see the latest updates in this saga, click here.
Governor Robert Bentley
Alabama Governor: 53rd Governor of Alabama. Was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. Public allegations of an alleged affair with Senior Political Advisor Rebekah Mason first came to light during a press conference by former ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier on March 23.
Rebekah Caldwell Mason
Former Senior Political Advisor: Mason was chosen by Bentley to be his campaign press secretary for Governor Bentley in 2010. She went on to be Bentley’s Communications Director in Montgomery. She once again became his campaign advisor to re-elect Bentley before the 2014 gubernatorial election. Following his re-election, Mason became Bentley’s Senior Political Advisor. Spencer Collier alleged an affair between Mason and Gov. Bentley in a March press conference after he was terminated from his role with ALEA. On March 30th, she announced her resignation from Bentley’s staff.
Rebekah Mason’s husband: He joined Rebekah in Montgomery by becoming Gov. Bentley’s first director of the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives in 2011. Since the alleged affair become public, Jon Mason took to his Facebook to say in part, that he “long ago resolved the personal issue playing out now for everyone this week. Please continue to support families, the governor, and our state with prayers as we all move forward.”
Former 1st Lady: Filed for divorce from Governor Bentley on August 28, 2015 after 50 years. The divorce documents said there was “such a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together. It went onto say their marriage “has suffered an irretrievable breakdown and that further attempts at reconciliation are impractical and not in the best interests of the parties.” She and the Governor had been separated since January 2015. Yellowhammer News reported the phone recordings between Gov. Bentley and Mason took place when Dianne left her phone in the house to record their conversation.
Former ALEA Secretary: Collier was promoted from former state trooper to public safety director. Then, during consolidation of about a dozen agencies in 2013, Collier was named Secretary of Law Enforcement. He was terminated by the Governor on March 22, 2016, after being accused of misuse of funds found in an internal report compiled by new Secretary of Law Enforcement, Stan Stabler. On March 23, 2016, Collier claimed wrongful termination during a press conference because he went against Bentley’s order not to sign an affidavit in the case of embattled Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard. Collier claims the Governor wanted him to lie and tell lead prosecutor in the Mike Hubbard case, Assistant AG Matt Hart, that an investigation into Hubbard’s political opponent, Baron Coleman, was on-going. Collier says Bentley did not want him to sign an affidavit, clearing Hart of any possible wrong doing in the prosecution of Hubbard. Also during the press conference, Collier claimed he had seen texts and heard recordings of an affair between Governor Bentley and Rebekah Mason.
ALEA Secretary: After placing Spencer Collier on medical leave in mid February, Governor Bentley appointed Stan Stabler as acting secretary of law enforcement. On March 22, Gov. Bentley named Stabler Secretary of Law Enforcement when the Governor terminated Collier. The Governor claimed Stabler had found evidence, in an internal review, Collier may have misused ALEA funds.
Alabama Speaker of the House: On October 20, 2014, Hubbard was indicted by a grand jury on 23 counts of misusing his office for personal gain. He was also accused of soliciting gifts from lobbyists. An investigation was concluded by former St. Clair District Attorney Van Davis after Attorney General Luther Strange recused himself. The Hubbard camp has accused the State of prosecutorial misconduct investigation and indictment of Hubbard. The case has yet to go to trial following numerous delays.
Returned to the Alabama Attorney General’s office in 2011 to the Public Corruption and White Collar Crime Division. He’s been accused of prosecutorial misconduct by the Hubbard legal team during the ongoing investigation into the Speaker of the House.
State Auditor: On March 25, he filed complaint with Alabama Ethics Commission relating to possible misconduct of Governor Bentley and his senior political advisor. In a statement, Zeigler stated, “The governor continues to disgrace the state of Alabama, and in my official capacity as state auditor, I am required to report these suspected violations.” He also brought into question how Rebekah Mason has been paid for the past several years, claiming she hasn’t been classified nor registered as a lobbyist.
House Minority Leader: Ford responded to allegations against Governor Bentley saying, “…news of Gov. Bentley’s relationship with Rebekah Caldwell Mason has embarrassed our state on a national level…” He also expresses concern with the way Mason has been paid as Bentley’s political advisor. Ford went on to call for the Governor to resign from office and for Mason to do the same. He asked that Collier and other ALEA members who were allegedly fired because they did not follow Bentley’s orders regarding the AG’s investigation into Mike Hubbard, be reinstated.
Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey
Alabama Lieutenant Governor: Several high ranking politicians and groups have called for the Governor to resign. He has emphatically said over the past couple of weeks he would not resign from office, even after admitting he made mistakes but never admitting to a “physical affair.” The state’s line of succession, if Bentley were to resign or ultimately be impeached, would be for Kay Ivey to take over the reins as Governor. So far, Ivey, nor her office, has had any official comment on the Bentley/Mason scandal.
Wendell Ray Lewis
Former head of Bentley’s security: Lewis was the head of the Governor’s security detail, but took an early retirement. Spencer Collier claimed evidence of an affair occurred in 2014 when Stan Stabler intercepted a text message from Mason to Bentley’s cell phone. Stabler denies that allegation, but Collier went on to say Stabler informed Lewis, who was then a Bentley security office of that text. Collier said Lewis then brought a laptop to him in August 2014 and played a recording between Gov. Bentley and Mason. These same recordings were the ones shared by Yellowhammer News, which CBS42 subsequently asked permission to broadcast. The recordings reportedly came from a family member.