Governor Bentley Faces Ethics Charge and Alabama Gambling Questioned

Mar 25, 2016

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is facing another hurdle this week.

State Auditor Jim Zeigler has filed an ethics complaint against Bentley and Bentley’s senior political advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason.  A-L-dot-com reports Zeigler’s complaint is the about the possible misuse of state property by the Governor, and whether Mason should be considered a public official or a lobbyist.

In a report to Tom Albritton, the Executive Director of The State Ethics Commission, Zeigler asks how Mason is paid, whether Governor Bentley and Mason are using state property in furtherance of their personal relationship and about other potential violations.

Both Bentley and Mason have denied an affair, but earlier this week, the governor admitted that he made sexually inappropriate remarks to his senior political advisor after audio of Bentley's side of the conversation was leaked.

Alabama’s gambling regulations are causing confusion according to a federal lawyer.  A-P-R student reporter Allison Mollenkamp has more…

U.S. Attorney George Beck of Montgomery sent a letter to Governor Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange. He wants clarification on the state’s position on gambling.   

U.S. Attorney George Beck
Credit justice.gov

The letter states that there’s confusion from differing regulations on gaming machines at casinos run by Alabama’s Native American tribes and on non-tribal land. There’s also concern over uneven enforcement.

Beck sent the letter at the request of Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford. The release of information would be voluntary.

Neither Bentley nor Strange had any immediate response to Beck's letter, which cites what it says are the state's differing positions on gambling machines.

For APR News I’m Allison Mollenkamp in Tuscaloosa.

Spring break season is in full swing along Alabama’s gulf coast. And, these college students may be a bit thirstier in Gulf Shores. An ordinance put in place late last week prohibits alcohol on the beaches. The measure was passed after city officials saw an increase in large gatherings and alcohol consumption in concentrated areas.

Grant Brown is the public information officer for the city of Gulf Shores. He says the city still welcomes fun, but will not tolerate drinking on the beaches.

“And the idea is we’d love to have families. We’d love to have kids come to beach and enjoy spring break and let off some steam, but the element of this heavy binge drinking and damage to the facilities, to the beaches, we’re not going to tolerate.”

The ordinance is being enforced between March 1st and April 17th. However, the city plans to continue the ordinance dependent on the yearly spring break schedule. The University of Montevallo and the University of West Alabama are among the schools going on spring break next week.