(WKRG) – Governor Robert Bentley allegedly demanded his staff members sign confidentiality agreements, just days after finding out there were sexually explicit audio recordings of him talking to his political adviser Rebekah Mason.
“I saw the first signs of change in Robert Bentley in August of 2014,” said one time ALEA Director Spencer Collier on March 23 of this year when he leveled charges against the Governor.
Collier said that’s when evidence of an affair between the Governor and his political aide Rebekah Mason first surfaced.
“On August 5th, Chief Lewis came into my office and played me parts of an audio recording in which Gov. Bentley and Rebekah Mason were participating in an inappropriate sexual conversation,” Collier said.
Collier said he informed the Governor of the recording that day. Twelve days later, Bentley demanded that all his staff members sign a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement. — 87 people ended up signing.
The agreement begins ominously with the line “you are appointed and serve in your position at the pleasure of the Governor.”
The City of Mobile’s Attorney says such agreements are rarely used in government.
“From a governmental stance you’re going to talk about nondisclosures in terms of economic development,” said Ricardo Woods. “We use them a great deal and then when you’re talking about protecting the identity of a confidential witness or informant.”
Bentley’s apparent paranoia about the recording being leaked reportedly consumed him a few months later on the night of his landslide victory in November 2014.
“I mean here you have a Governor, on the night of the biggest election of his life, worrying about a tape,” said political reporter Bill Britt of The Alabama Reporter.
Meantime, there is more trouble for Rebekah Mason and her husband Jon.
State Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, D-Red Bay, has filed a new complaint with the Ethics Commission alleging the Masons knowingly submitted incorrect financial disclosure forms.
Both have filed amended forms for 2011, 2012 and 2013. Jon Mason’s original forms left out hundreds of thousands of dollars of payments from the University of Alabama to his advertising firm.
Morrow previously filed an ethics complaint saying Mason and Bentley killed his legislation because he gave Mason a bad grade as a professor at a junior college decades ago.
“I think it speaks to the vindictiveness, the evilness of her,” said Morrow.
Morrow was one of two legislators who earlier this month went to the governor’s office demanding to see “Wanda’s desk.” Wanda was the Governor’s one-time secretary. In the recordings with Mason, the Governor said they might have to move her desk so she couldn’t hear what the two of them were doing in his office.