Most of the details of Gov. Robert Bentley’s sordid sex scandal are known, but little has been said for the man who blew the whistle on it, until now.
Spencer Collier had lost his job as the head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, fired by Bentley because, as the governor claimed, an audit of Collier’s department turned up signs of irregular spending.
However, Collier later announced that he’d actually been fired for defying Bentley. What’s more, he was tired of protecting the governor’s secrets.
Not only did Collier tell reporters about the mysterious circumstances behind his own firing, he also told them that there was proof of Bentley’s relationship with his closest aide: a tape that he had heard containing “an inappropriate sexual conversation.”
Collier revealed this evidence of the affair in press conference just hours before Gov. Bentley took to his press conference to acknowledge the misdeed. Collier had laid out proof of the relationship between Bentley and his aide, Rebekah Mason, which had allegedly gone as far back as 2014.
“I told Gov. Bentley that I loved him like a father and that there was nothing I wouldn’t do for him except lie to a grand jury,” Collier said. “I made Gov. Bentley aware of the recording that I heard. I told Gov. Bentley there was no need to try and explain it for anything other than it was. It was very obvious that it was sexual in nature.”
In his perceived role as a whistleblower, Collier referred to a text message a member of Bentley’s security team had accidentally intercepted by picking up the governor’s cell phone, which Collier claimed was sexual in nature.
Before long, Mason resigned, state legislators began drawing up articles of impeachment against Bentley, and Collier filed suit against the governor and Mason for wrongful termination.
Investigators started asking questions. Who was paying Mason’s salary? Why had the University of Alabama — on whose board of directors sat many Bentley allies — steered hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mason’s husband’s public-relations company in recent years?
More investigations are currently being conducted to look into Mason’s source of payment and see if it has ties to the governor.
Under the False Claims Act, whose who knowingly submit false claims for payment of government funds are liable for up to three times the government’s damages plus civil penalties of $5,500 to $11,000, but evidence has yet to surface of Bentley’s involvement.
Despite all of the allegations and evidence stacked against him, Bentley has vowed to stay in office.