By Brandon Moseley and Susan Britt
Thursday July 7, 2016, State Auditor Jim Zeigler responded to committee approval of $200,000 for legal contracts including for Bentley’s defense in Collier lawsuit.
Auditor Zeigler said, “This is a double whammy on the taxpayers of Alabama. They have already been hit with the cost of Bentley’s spending. Now that he has been sued, taxpayers will be hit again with his legal defense. This is so unfair. An ordinary citizen would have to pay his own defense costs. Bentley got himself into this, and he should pay his own legal costs to try to get himself out.”
According to sources close to the decisions the legislature’s contract review committee approved a contract of up $100,000 contract for the law firm of Maynard, Cooper, & Gayle to defend embattled Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s defense in a lawsuit brought by former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) head Spencer Collier for improper termination.
Gov. Bentley’s defense has said that the Collier firing was justified and has asked that the suit be dismissed.
The contract approves a rate of $195 an hour for attorneys and $60 an hour for paralegals working on the case and is not to exceed $100,000.
A second $50,000 contract was awarded to the defense team for ALEA director Stan Stabler.
Stabler was the acting ALEA head while Spencer Collier was placed on medical leave for back surgery. Stabler claims that he uncovered misappropriation of state property and fired several top ALEA officials. An angry Collier denied those charges and accused Bentley of punishing him for providing an affidavit in the Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) trial.
Gov. Bentley has expressed sorrow at Hubbard’s recent guilty verdict. “Mike was my friend,” said the 74 year old Governor recently.
The disgraced former Speaker of the House will be sentenced on Friday in Lee County for 12 counts of felony ethics violations.
Collier alleged that the firings were done on orders of then Bentley’s top political advisor, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, who ordered them in order to end several ALEA investigations in misconduct by state legislators.
Collier also charged that the highly paid and married Mrs. Mason was Gov. Bentley’s secret mistress and provided audiotape that appears to confirm those allegations.
Gov. Bentley then fired Collier and made Stabler, who had previously been head of the state VIP protection detail, the State’s top law enforcement officer.
Gov. Bentley acknowledges that he and Mason had an inappropriate relationship; but denies actually having sex with the much younger mother of three.
There is a third contract for $50,000 which is actually to pay for Spencer Collier’s legal defense in a matter involving a State trooper who had a rape allegation leveled against him.
Collier says that that is a separate matter entirely separate from the ongoing Bentley sex scandal saga.