4 years ago

EXCLUSIVE: Bentley had illicit affair with staffer in Governor’s office, audio recordings reveal

Governor Robert Bentley and senior advisor Rebekah Mason. (Photo: Facebook)
Governor Robert Bentley and senior advisor Rebekah Mason. (Photo: Harold Bearden)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Audio recordings reveal that Alabama Governor Robert Bentley carried on an illicit affair with a staffer that included sexual encounters inside the Governor’s Capitol office.

Yellowhammer was given exclusive access to the content of audio recordings captured by Dianne Bentley, Governor Bentley’s ex-wife, during which Governor Bentley makes sexual advances on and recalls sexual encounters with Rebekah Mason, his former communications director who has since become his most senior external advisor. Mrs. Mason’s husband, Jon, also serves in the Bentley administration as Director of Serve Alabama, the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Volunteer Service.

One of the recordings was captured while Governor and Mrs. Bentley were visiting their beach house.

Mrs. Bentley, who had suspected the affair, went for a walk on the beach, but left her cell phone behind recording the audio of what took place in her absence.

During that time period, Governor Bentley can be heard making a phone call to “Rebekah” that includes sexual references to their time together. The Governor also expressed a desire to “FaceTime” so they could see each other.

A second recording appears to have been made at the Governor’s residence.

In the recordings, the Governor calls Mrs. Mason “baby” and discusses how much he enjoys standing behind her and touching her breasts. He also references a past encounter and says if they are going to do “that” again, they will need to start locking the door and also consider moving “Wanda’s” desk further away, presumably referencing executive assistant Wanda Kelly, whose Capitol office is just outside of the Governor’s.

References were also made to encounters that took place at Blount House, a 12,336-square-foot, Georgian-style home in Montgomery that serves as a second Governor’s Mansion. The property was donated to the state in 2008 by the family of the late businessman Wynton “Red” Blount. It was valued at $28 million at the time.

Confirmation of the Mason affair comes after months of rumors and speculation in the wake of Dianne Bentley filing for divorce in 2015 after 50 years of marriage.

“The Plaintiff states there is such a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together,” Mrs. Bentley’s divorce filings said. “There exists a conflict of personalities which destroys the legitimate aims of matrimony and all possibilities of reconciliation are futile. Plaintiff further avers that their marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown and that further attempts at reconciliation are impractical and not in the best interests of the parties.”

The Bentleys married July 24, 1965. They reportedly quietly separated in January 2015, before getting divorced seven months later.

Governor Bentley’s son, Matthew, has been a frequent critic of Mrs. Mason and his father on Twitter since rumors of their affair began to spread online. As the existence of the audio recordings began to surface on Tuesday, Matthew again tweeted at his father’s official government account and Mrs. Mason’s personal account.

UPDATE:
1. Bentley addresses affair allegations: ‘I made a mistake’
2. Alabama’s former top cop: Bentley mistress was ‘de facto Governor’
3. A portion of the audio can be heard below.

26 mins ago

Doug Jones: Jeff Sessions’ recusal ‘about the only thing I think he did right as attorney general’

As the race for the Republican Party’s nomination for Alabama U.S. Senate race has heated up, the topic of then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from any investigation dealing with the 2016 presidential election has become the hot campaign topic.

At a Marshall County campaign stop earlier this month, Sessions defended his decision on the recusal, noting that it was following the Department of Justice rules and procedures. However, since then, both U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) and former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, two of Sessions’ opponents in the GOP senatorial nomination contest, have both raised the issue in the context of Sessions’ ability to serve as a U.S. Senator.

Incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook), who will be the opponent in the November general election for the eventual Republican nominee, disagreed with Byrne and Tuberville.

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Jones, also a former U.S. attorney during the Clinton administration, categorized Sessions’ recusal as “about the only thing” Sessions did properly during his service as the Trump administration’s top law enforcement official.

“I do,” Jones replied. “It’s about the only thing I think he did right as attorney general. But he absolutely did that correctly. I’ve been a DoJ person myself. I was in the position of U.S. attorney, and I think he had to do that. I think it was the right thing to do. And I said that at the time, by the way. This is not something new. I said that at the time.”

“We’ll see who ends up being the nominee,” he continued. “But there will be plenty to talk about — about Jeff’s record if he ends up being the nominee. But that is one thing he and I will both agree on.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

51 mins ago

Huntsville International named nation’s best small airport

Huntsville International Airport on Friday was announced as the USA Today Readers’ Choice Best Small Airport of 2020.

A panel of experts picked the top 20 small airports in the United States to contend for this honor, and voting members of the public from around the United States chose Huntsville International as the nation’s best.

“We are ecstatic that Huntsville International Airport has been chosen by voters as North America’s best small airport for USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice awards,” Rick Tucker, CEO of Huntsville International Airport, said in a statement. “We are so grateful to our community for supporting HSV by voting. We share this honor with them and will continue to work hard to provide North Alabama and Southern Tennessee residents with even more great options at their local airport.”

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Yellowhammer News previously reported that the USA Today experts described Huntsville International as “small and easy to navigate, with an onsite hotel and a nice range of food and beverage options for an airport of its size.”

“Delta, American, United, Silver Airways and Frontier all fly into this small Alabama airport with nonstop service to 10 major destinations across the country,” they advised.

RELATED: Huntsville’s economic future is tied to our airport’s success

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

Alabama workforce development program recognized as one of nation’s best, will now mentor other states

The National Governor’s Association on Thursday announced Alabama would be among a choice group of states that will mentor other states in work-based learning practices.

“Alabama is excited to participate as a mentor state in the third phase of the NGA’s work-based learning Policy Academy due to the remarkable results of our participation in Phase II of the Policy Academy,” said Governor Kay Ivey.

The five other mentor states in the program are Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington.

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The type of programs that will be worked on between Alabama and other states align with Ivey’s Success Plus initiative. Success Plus is a comprehensive effort to get Alabamians whatever post-high school education they need to be prepared for the workforce, no matter if that is a four-year degree, two-year degree or professional certification.

The specific aspects of Sucess Plus in which Alabama will mentor other states are the work-based learning such as apprenticeships and internships.

“This selection by the National Governors Association is a solid indication of Alabama’s commitment to increasing the state’s labor participation rate through the AlabamaWorks initiative,” said Ed Castile, deputy secretary for the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Across the state, we are working with business and industry to expand our efforts in preparing a well-trained, high-skilled, quality workforce,” he added.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

4 hours ago

How you can meet Jalen Hurts, other Senior Bowl players on Friday

MOBILE — With the Senior Bowl only one day away, Friday will feature a trio of free events for fans to attend in downtown Mobile.

These events follow the Senior Bowl Summit, which occurred Thursday night and was presented by Alabama Power Company and Regions Bank.

The first event for fans on Friday will be the Senior Bowl Experience, presented by Alabama Power. Hosted at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center, this 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. CT event will feature a bevy of games and activities for all ages.

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The Senior Bowl Experience will also include “Meet the Players,” presented by Coca-Cola.

“Tackle the obstacle course, time your 40yd dash, dance with NFL cheerleaders, take your picture with college mascots, and meet your favorite college all-stars from across the country at the Senior Bowl Experience inside the Mobile Convention Center,” the Senior Bowl wrote about the event.

The Senior Bowl stated that their clear bag policy will be in effect for the Senior Bowl Experience.

Following the Senior Bowl Experience will be the Senior Bowl Street Party and inaugural Mardi Gras Player Parade, presented by Wind Creek Casino and Austal USA. At 6:30 p.m., the parade will begin in front of the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel. You can view the route here.

“Downtown bars and restaurants will provide specials and craft cocktails reflecting Senior Bowl Week,” the Senior Bowl outlined. “Local High School Bands will lead our players (in their college jerseys), college mascots, local dignitaries, NFL cheerleaders, as we throw candy, beads, and footballs to the crowd.”

Finally, when the the Senior Bowl Street Party and inaugural Mardi Gras Player Parade ends at Cathedral Square, a free concert featuring The Revivalists will begin.

You can still get tickets for Saturday’s game, which is at 1:30 p.m. CT, here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

5 hours ago

7 Things: Trump loves Alabama, impeachment limps along, driver in Rod Bramblett’s death indicted for manslaughter and more …

7. Some seem to want paroles sped up

  • After it was found that the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles was not following its own rules, pardons were stopped and then slowed. Now, some lawmakers seem to want that process to speed up, but the current leader doesn’t seem so keen on that idea, even though it isn’t his role.
  • When Director Charlie Graddick spoke to lawmakers Thursday, Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) and Sen. Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) questioned the policy changes and the slowdown in paroles.

6. Alabama teen kills three family members and then goes to school

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  • Landon Hudson Durham, a 16-year-old high school student, has been charged with capital murder in the stabbing deaths of his mother and his own two 13-year-old twin brothers before going to school as if nothing happened.
  • The bodies were found on Tuesday by a family member, but Durham wasn’t found until Wednesday morning after a member of law enforcement saw him walking on a state road. He was taken into custody without incident.

5. Free stuff for everyone doesn’t appeal to everyone

  • U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has made headlines multiple times for her plan to cancel student debt up to $50,000 for those making less than $100,000 per year if she’s elected president, but she was recently confronted by a voter for her plan that would cause a lot of students to get “screwed.”
  • The voter described how his daughter is currently in college, and that she doesn’t have student loans because he saved up to pay for her college and he asked if he’d get a refund, but Warren replied, “Of course not.” The father then said, “So you’re going to pay for people who didn’t save any money and those of us who did the right thing get screwed?”

4. Trump’s pro-life coalition

  • Friday, President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is planning to reveal a pro-life coalition. The “Pro-Life Voices for Trump” will be led by Marjorie Dannenfelser, who stated, “From appointing pro-life judges to defunding Planned Parenthood, President Trump’s track record demonstrates he’s the most pro-life President in history.”
  • Trump is aiming to make the pro-life movement a huge issue in his campaign as another way to rally voters and encourage people to vote in the 2020 election, focusing on his changes to the courts that could clear the way to overturn Roe v. Wade.

3. Teen in Bramblett case has been indicted

  • Johnston Edward Taylor, 16, has been indicted for manslaughter by a Lee County judge for the wreck that killed the Voice of the Auburn Tigers Rod Bramblett and his wife, Paula.
  • Taylor’s bond in the case was previously revoked after two additional speeding tickets and one for reckless driving. His arraignment is scheduled for January 31; his trial is set to start on May 4.

2. No one is watching impeachment — everyone is already decided

  • As the boring and unwatched impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate continues, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has brought even more absurd comments to the spotlight by claiming that President Donald Trump’s conduct “puts even President Nixon to shame.”
  • Even as the theatrical histrionics continue on the floor of the Senate, it is becoming increasingly clear that there will be no witness or documents added to the trial and that it will probably be over some time next week.

1. Trump vague about Alabama’s U.S. Senate race

  • President Donald Trump tweeted out polling stats from the Alabama Farmers Federation, which showed former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions leading at 35%, former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville at 31%, U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) at 12%, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore at 8% and State Representative Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) at 1%.
  • While the polling data is about two months old, Trump added in the tweet, “I LOVE ALABAMA!” Sessions’ campaign manager Jon Jones said that this shows “Republican voters in Alabama solidly back Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate race.”