#BREAKING! Seth Hammett, #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley’s Chief of Staff Resigns
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 2, 2015
Bentley’s Chief of Staff Resigns
By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on October 2, 2015
Used with permission
Seth Hammett, Governor Robert Bentley’s chief of staff, has resigned his post. The governor announced Hammett’s departure today with the praise and fanfare needed to “mascara” over this surprising defection.
Hammett exited the scene at the governor’s office because he was not comfortable with the growing scandal that has ensnared the governor and senior political advisor, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
Hammett was one the staffers Bentley dispatched to get troopers on the security detail to sign confidentiality statements as word of the love affair spread. Lieutenant Wendell Ray Lewis refused to sign one. Hammett was never comfortable with this assignment.
Hammett knows that the Bentley-Mason scheme to defraud state and federal taxpayers, as well as the misuse of donor money by Bentley’s campaign committee and non-profit organization, will be presented to the Justice Department in Washington. He also knows that Bentley and Mason have lawyered up in anticipation of a criminal investigation into wire and mail fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, and racketeering charges. Hammett is leaving this dangerous playing field before he gets swept up in the governor’s cover-up of the misuse of campaign money and public funds.
Last month, we reported that Mike Echols, the governor’s long-time personal CPA and heavy hitting moneyman for the Robert Bentley Campaign Committee, had split from Bentley. 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, who is also 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. 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 had been Bentley’s personal accountant for many years. He was also the Campaign Committee’s treasurer in 2010 and 2014.
Hammett’s 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 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 for doing so.
Others on the list of departures include former head of executive security Wendell Ray Lewis, chief legal advisor and consigliere David Byrne (who is hanging around until his successor is hired), 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.