Gov. Bentley calls, and then cancels, a conference call with legislators about the latest allegations leveled against him…

This will never end…

He wanted to discuss this with legislators at 10:00 AM (WARNING: This is long)…

Dear Honorable Members of the Alabama Legislature,

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you all, like me, are looking forward to a day spent with family. First, let me say thank you all for your hard work serving the wonderful and kind people of Alabama. I appreciate your dedication both to our State and to your Districts. Together we have many great days ahead of us, and I am eagerly looking forward to working with you all in the exciting days to come.

As many of you are aware, a civil suit last night was filed against me, the state of Alabama and others. It mentions members of my family, my staff and well-respected members of the community. While my Office issued two strong statements regarding this absolutely meritless suit, the media coverage was sensational, and I’m afraid that perhaps my message got lost, or ignored, in the confusion. I also spoke with Speaker McCutcheon about this matter last night, and I appreciate his leadership.

I wanted to email you to personally assure you, the allegations, stories and accounts contained in the suit are completely and utterly false.
My attorney, John Nieman can best explain in the statement I’ve included below in this email, but, in short, I can tell you this claim is an absolute “shakedown” for money from myself, my family and the taxpayers of the state. I refuse to be intimidated into giving someone hundreds of thousands of dollars for salacious lies and indefensible claims. We are vigorously fighting this case.

Not only does the suit contain malicious and slanderous lies, it is an outrageous abuse of the legal system, and my legal team is aggressively pursuing all possible legal remedies against Mr. Lewis and his attorney.

Mr. Lewis’ attorneys presented us with this complaint along with a demand for an outrageous amount of money. They want the taxpayers, me and my family to pay them “hush-money” in exchange for not publicly filing this claim. I refuse to give in and use taxpayers’ dollars and my life savings to basically endorse pure lies.

I knew the political and public fallout from refusing to give in to the shakedown would be difficult and harmful. And that is exactly what is taking place now. That is why I wanted to personally contact you all.

I simply ask you all to please read the following two statements in their entirety. There is one from John Nieman and one from myself. These statements will also better explain to you the clear motives behind these blatantly false claims, and why we are aggressively fighting them rather than hiding.

I cannot thank you enough for your consideration in this matter.

I want to make myself available to you all as quickly as I can.  I have set up a conference call for 10:00 AM tomorrow, November 25th.  I invite you to join me so you will be able to hear directly from me and ask questions if you have them.

The call in number is: (800) 230-1096

Thank you all again, for your support and most of all your prayers. And thank you for everything you do for our wonderful state.

Yours truly,

    Robert

Statement from John Nieman, Attorney for Governor Bentley:

“Mr. Lewis’ lawsuit is an outrageous abuse of the system. The bulk of his complaint is full of allegations the Governor denies, and those allegations ultimately will be shown to be irresponsible and false. In addition, those allegations have nothing to do with the actual legal claims asserted by Mr. Lewis.

He appears to have included those irrelevant allegations in his complaint for the purposes of sensationalizing what is a meritless legal case.

We will ask the Court to quickly dismiss Lewis’s legal claims, which are meritless through and through.

To understand why Lewis’ lawsuit is so outrageous, look to the article that he claims to be the basis for it—a 2014 al.com article where Mr. Lewis says Governor Bentley somehow ruined his reputation. That is a baseless claim by Lewis because Governor Bentley did not say negative things about Lewis in that article. To the contrary, that article says Governor Bentley “praised” Lewis “as having worked to put together the best security detail and Capitol police force the state has ever had.”

In that article Governor Bentley said that Lewis “is a man of honor and integrity and I support him one hundred percent.” In that article Governor Bentley called Lewis “the man for the job.” In light of those statements, it is indefensible for Lewis to now seek hundreds of thousands of dollars from the State and Governor Bentley on the theory that Governor Bentley somehow defamed him in that same article.

Lewis’s claim that he was “constructively discharged” by Governor Bentley and lost money as a result of his work for the Governor is equally outrageous. Public records show that when Lewis worked for the state government, he made more than $661,615 over five years, based on the overtime he was paid. But he chose to quit.

That was his choice—no one else’s. Public records show that as a result of his decision to quit, Lewis is now getting $87,387.60 per year in State retirement income, for life. But now he is trying to force the State to give him more money, and to go so far as to extract money from the pocket of a governor who has never even taken a salary since he took office.

The Governor’s legal team will tell the Court that Mr. Lewis’s allegations are irresponsible and wrong, and will pursue all appropriate remedies against this abusive lawsuit. We hope to have this lawsuit dismissed soon.”

Statement from Governor Bentley:

“Ray Lewis has presented a baseless, malicious, slanderous, salacious and poorly constructed civil complaint against myself and others in a thinly veiled attempt to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from the State of Alabama taxpayers, myself and my family.

The outrageous claims are based on worn-out internet rumors, fake news and street gossip. These bogus claims are an attempt to smear my Administration, to distract from the important matters facing our state, and to attempt to assign wrongdoing where it does not exist.

I have wholeheartedly rejected this attempt and will not allow the people of this state nor my family to be exploited.
Because I have rejected his claim, Mr. Lewis has now unfortunately chosen to publicly file his false scheme disguised as a Civil Suit, which is filled with blatant lies, fictitious accounts, salacious and slanderous accusations, all in an effort to hurt my family and our state.

I am deeply saddened and disappointed in Ray, who served the State of Alabama taxpayers as Chief of the Governor’s Security Detail and whom I trusted with protecting my life and the life of my family.
Even in times when Ray faced criticism, I always publicly defended and supported him.

As many Alabama families sit down to enjoy Thanksgiving with their loved ones, I look forward to doing the same with mine. During this season of gratitude and reconciliation, I am even more deeply disappointed in these further attacks on my family.

I will not allow a shakedown of taxpayers or my family and look forward to vigorously fighting this lawsuit. I will continue to protect my family, defend the people of our State, stand up for all the men and women in law enforcement and work hard for all of Alabama.”

The call never happened, Bentley cancelled it at 9:13 this morning…

Dear Members of the Alabama Legislature,

Good Morning. I have heard from a number of you and I appreciate your feedback and your support. Also, due to the holiday, a number of you have let me know you will not be available for a Conference Call this morning. Because of that, this morning’s scheduled conference call is not necessary.

As you all know, there are a number of important and pressing matters we must address together in the coming weeks. I will be meeting with Leadership next week to discuss the 2017 Legislative Session.

As always, I am available to you for any questions, thoughts or concerns you may have regarding your Districts or statewide issues.

Again, thank you all for your service to your Districts and to the fine people of the Great State of Alabama.

Yours Truly,

Robert

MAKE. IT. STOP.

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