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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Gov. Bentley used state plane 40 times last quarter, half for trips home or to beach 60 Updated on April 6, 2017 at 9:32 AM Posted on April 6, 2017 at 6:12 AM

Gov. Robert Bentley used the state aircraft 40 times during the final three months of 2016, with more than half of the trips involving flights between Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Gulf Shores.
Flight records for October, November and December 2016 were posted last week on the state website. The records show 26 of the flights in the last quarter of the year were trips between Montgomery and the governor's home in Tuscaloosa or Montgomery and Gulf Shores, where Bentley once owned a house and recently paid $137,500 for a vacant lot.
State law requires the governor's office to provide flight logs records "for public inspection" with entries to include the dates of departure and return, the destination and purpose of the trip and a manifest of all passengers. The reports must be posted quarterly "on the first working day of the second quarter following the quarter that is the subject of the report," according to Alabama law.
Earlier this year, the Governor's Office declined to release a complete passenger list for those who traveled to Washington, D.C. with Bentley to attend President Donald Trump's inauguration. The manifest covering the Jan. 20 inauguration trip - which included an unnamed guest of the governor's and Gov. Bentley's alleged mistress Rebekah Caldwell Mason and her husband Jon- won't be posted until June.
Bentley at ethics commission

In 2015, flight record showed the last quarter of the year included 33 flights with Mason, then an adviser to the governor, on 12 of the trips.
Bentley is currently under investigation and faces possible impeachment in connection with the Mason relationship. Yesterday, the Ethics Commission said it found probable cause that Bentley violated state ethics and campaign finance laws, sending its investigation to state prosecutors. The governor has denied all charges.

Use of the state plane by the governor - even on personal matters - isn't against the law. Alabama's Constitution stipulates that all property belonging to the state, "unless otherwise provided by law," is under control of the governor.
Use of the state plane doesn't come cheap, however.
A Cessna Citation CJ4, the type of plane leased by the state in 2015, can cost as much as $1,900 an hour to operate.
October, November, December 2016 flight records
Oct. 1 - Flight to Auburn, Tuscaloosa to attend Auburn University and University of Alabama football games. Passengers were Bentley, Executive Protection Officer; photographer Sydney Foster; and Communications Director and NGA Coordinator Yasamie August. Bentley was not on the Oct. 1 return flight.
Oct. 2 - Return flight from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery with Bentley, protection officer on board.
Oct. 4 - Flight to LaGrange, Georgia to meet with Gov. Nathan Deal. Bentley, protection officer, Chief of Staff Jon Barganier and John Neiman on board. Returned same day.
Oct. 5 - Flight to Anniston attend memorial service for Officer Kenneth Bettis, a corrections officer killed in the line of duty. Onboard were Bentley, protection officer, Deputy Press Secretary and Director of Digital Media Daniel Sparkman, Digital Content Producer Lori Davis and Director of Photography Jamie Martin. Returned same day.
Oct. 7 - Flight from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa with Bentley, protection officer on board.
Oct. 10 - Flight from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery, Bentley, protection officer on board.
Oct. 11 - Travel from Montgomery to Muscle Shoals for Lauderdale County GOP dinner. Gov. Bentley, protection officer, finance director Clinton Carter on board. Returned same day.
Oct. 12 - Flight from Montgomery to Huntsville to attend Madison County Leadership class luncheon. Gov. Bentley, protection officer, Communications Director Yasamie August, Director of Photography Jamie Martin and Digital Content Director Lori Davis on board. Returned same day.
Oct. 14 - Flight from Montgomery to Gulf Shores. Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Oct. 16 - Flight from Gulf Shores to Montgomery, Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Oct. 19 - Travel to Brent for CDBG grant announcement. Gov. Bentley, protection officer, Deputy Press Secretary Daniel Sparkman, Digital Content Producer Lori Davis and photographer Sydney Foster on board. Returned same day.
Oct. 20 - Travel to Tuscaloosa from Montgomery to attend Civil Hall of Fame induction ceremony, remarks at BF Goodrich Day. Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board; Gov. Bentley not on return flight.
Oct. 23 - Flight from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery with Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Oct. 25 - Flight to Birmingham for remarks at Governor's Disability Summit. Gov. Bentley, protection officer, August, Martin and Davis on board. Returned same day.
Oct. 26 - Flight to Fort Payne for CDBG announcement. Gov. Bentley, protection officer, photographer Sydney Foster, Assistant Director of Appointments and Scheduling Patrick Bond, House Liaison Amanda Robinson, Davis and Sparkman on board. Returned same day.
Oct. 28 - Flight to Birmingham for remarks at Classic in Pink Affair luncheon with Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board. Plane then went to Tuscaloosa. Plane returned to Montgomery, Gov. Bentley not on board.
Oct. 30 - Flight from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery with Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Nov. 1 - Flight to Huntsville for remarks at Polaris Industries ribbon cutting. Gov. Bentley, protection officer, August, Martin and Digital Content Producer Gina Maiola on board. Returned same day.
Nov. 2 - Flight to Muscle Shoals for groundbreaking of North Alabama Medical Center. Gov. Bentley, protection officer, August, Carter, Davis and Appointment Director Will Edwards on board. Returned same day.
Nov. 4 - Flight from Montgomery to Gulf Shores with Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Nov. 6 - Flight from Gulf Shores to Montgomery with Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Nov. 10 - Flight from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa with Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Nov. 13 - Flight from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery with Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Nov. 15 - Flight from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa for meeting. Gov. Bentley, protection officer, Chief Legal Adviser David Byrne, Deputy Legal Adviser Jason Paulk, Daryl Masters, Legal Counsel for the Alabama Department of Risk Management.
Nov. 16 - Flight to from Montgomery to Orlando for Republican Governors Association Conference. Gov. Bentley, protection officer, Chief of Staff Jon Barganier and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Zach Lee on board. Returned same day.
Nov. 17 - Flight from Montgomery to Red Level for CDBG announcement. Gov. Bentley, protection officer, Sparkman, Maiola, Martin and Senate Liaison Jared White on board.
Nov. 18 - Flight from Montgomery to Washington, D.C. for meetings and the onto Tuscaloosa. Gov. Bentley flew to Washington and Tuscaloosa but was not on flight back to Montgomery; Barganier, August and Lee on board.
Nov. 19 - Flight from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery with Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Nov. 23 - Flight from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa with Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Nov. 27 - Flight from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery with Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Dec. 8 - Flight from Montgomery to Birmingham for meeting with Pastor Chris Hodges of Church of the Highlands. Gov. Bentley, protection officer, Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn, Associate Commissioner Steve Watson, Barganier and Martin on board.
Dec. 8 - Flight to from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa with Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Dec. 11 - Flight from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery with Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Dec. 13 - Flight to Huntsville for Hudson Alpha groundbreaking with Gov. Bentley, protection officer, August, Davis and Martin on board. Returned the same day.
Dec. 16 - Flight from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa with Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Dec. 17 - Flight to Mobile with Gov. Bentley, Lee on board to meet President-elect Trump at airport, attend rally. Retuned same day.
Dec. 22 - Flight from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa with Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Dec. 26 - Flight from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery with Gov. Bentley, protetion officer on board.
Dec. 29 - Flight to Tuscaloosa, Gov. Bentley, protection officer on board.
Dec. 31 - Flight to Atlanta to attend University of Alabama football game then to Gulf Shores. Gov. Bentley, protection officer and John Mark Bentley, Gov. Bentley's son. Gov. Bentley not on return flight.
Updated April 6 at 9:25 a.m. to reflect Alabama code related to using state plane and estimated cost.

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