MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The head of the Alabama law enforcement agency confirmed Wednesday that a state aircraft was used in 2014 to deliver Gov. Robert Bentley’s forgotten wallet to him at the beach but said that Bentley did not request the air delivery method.
Alabama Law Enforcement Secretary Stan Stabler issued the statement in response to reports that state resources were used to deliver the governor’s wallet.
“Gov. Bentley did not request a specific method be used to relay his wallet from Tuscaloosa to Fort Morgan — the decision to utilize department equipment to facilitate the request was made through ALEA’s chain of command, using standard agency protocol,” Stabler said.
Stabler defended the move. He said it is the job of the dignitary protection unit, which serves as security detail for certain elected officials, to, “protect and safeguard its protectees and provide assistance to ensure protectees are fully prepared to perform their duties as constitutional officers.”
Stabler said his predecessor, Spencer Collier, approved the decision, but Collier disputed that Wednesday.
Collier, who was fired by Bentley last month, said he didn’t know about the wallet and never authorized aviation resources to retrieve it.
“I’ve never authorized a flight for a wallet,” Collier said in a brief telephone interview. Collier said Stabler and Bentley went around him to authorize the flight.
The disagreement over who authorized the wallet retrieval is the latest back-and-forth between Bentley’s administration and Collier, who for years was the governor’s friend and appointee.
Collier last month accused Bentley of having an affair with a high-ranking staff member. Bentley denied that he had a “physical affair” but admitted making inappropriate remarks to the woman.