Bentley's state-funded legal defense approaching $250,000
MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) —
Footing the bill for Bentley’s defense two years after his alleged affair was exposed, and he resigned from office.
NBC 15 News has uncovered new information showing that Governor Kay Ivey's administration is still paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect the disgraced former governor.
The former head of ALEA Spencer Collier is the one who told the public about the affair. Collier lost his job and sued Bentley because of it.
Taxpayers are still paying to defend Bentley year and a half after he quit. So far, we've discovered almost $240,000 spent.
“Alabama has to continue paying for his defense since he was sued in regards to activities when he was governor,” Governor Kay Ivey’s Press Secretary Daniel Sparkman said.
Ivey's administration says they have to pay because it's the law.
The law says the state must foot the bill for former state officials and employees if they're sued for something they did as part of their official duties, as in this case.
NBC 15 News asked if Governor Ivey thinks it is fair that taxpayers are continuing to pay for Bentley’s defense.
“If it’s the law, then it’s appropriate,” Governor Ivey said.
We asked the state auditor about this situation. Jim Ziegler sent NBC 15 News the following statement:
In my opinion, a mistake was made in the Bentley plea bargain agreement. The agreement could have required Bentley to reimburse the state for legal fees and other costs. It did not.