#ALpolitics @GovernorBentley’s CPA & Fundraiser Leaves Over Unethical Request
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, September 19, 2015
EXCLUSIVE BREAKING NEWS—
Mike Echols Splits From Bentley
By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on September 18, 2015
Used with permission
Governor Robert Bentley’s long-time personal CPA and heavy hitting moneyman for the Robert Bentley Campaign Committee, has split from the governor. Echols, who handled the financial books and records for both the Bentleys and the Campaign Committee, resigned his post over a disagreement with Bentley about Rebekah Mason, the governor’s mistress and married paramour.
The precise nature of this dispute, which occurred several weeks ago, is not known at this time.
What is known, however, is that Bentley wanted Echols to do something questionable with the financial records relating to Rebekah Mason. The governor’s request did not sit well with Echols, a respected Tuscaloosa accountant and well-known PAC organizer. During a heated exchange between the two men, Echols refused the governor’s request and turned over the various checkbooks and financial records in his custody to Bentley. With this handover, the professional relationship between Echols and Bentley ended.
Echols has been Bentley’s accountant for many years. He was also the Campaign Committee’s accountant in 2010 and 2014.
In a slick move that is expected to become the focus of First Lady Dianne Bentley’s divorce proceedings, as well as law enforcement agencies in Washington, the governor stashed $500,000 of cash from the marital estate away for his life with Rebekah after the divorce. He laundered this money in the form of leftover donations through a series of transfers, starting with a personal loan to his campaign account, then a transfer of this money from his campaign to his newly formed non-profit organization, the Alabama Council for Excellent Government, followed by payments from the Council to Rebekah Mason for services rendered. The loan can be repaid to Bentley’s campaign after his divorce.
As we reported on September 13, 2015, the governor has secured the legal services of Joe Espy, a Montgomery attorney and fellow University of Alabama trustee, to handle his potential criminal exposure for using state resources to carry on his illicit love affair, among other matters. Espy specializes in white-collar crimes and public corruption cases. Bentley confirmed Espy’s hiring earlier this week.
Echols’ departure from the governor’s inner circle adds to a growing list of top staffers and supporters who have split with Bentley over his illicit love affair with Rebekah Mason and his cover-up of the misuse of state resources and misspending of campaign funds. This list includes prominent officials in Bentley’s Tuscaloosa church who have urged him, albeit without success, to break off the affair. The list also includes a staffer who reported Rebekah’s misuse of state resources and misspending of campaign funds directly to the governor, and was chastised.
Others on the list include former trooper lieutenant Wendell Ray Lewis, the departing chief legal advisor David Byrne, a former executive employee at the state capitol who quit because of the Bentley-Mason affair, two of the three board members of the Alabama Council for Excellent Government (whose resignations are forthcoming), and several security officers (who are waiting to bolt from the mess created by this scandal).
More to come.