Helicopter trip to fetch governor’s wallet during marriage spat may cost taxpayers $4,000

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley  © Marvin Gentry
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, now embroiled in a sex scandal, reportedly left his wallet at his beach home after storming out of an argument with his wife. Instead of driving back, a state helicopter took an estimated $4,000 trip to pick it up for him.

“You have to have your wallet for security reasons,” Gov. Bentley told AL.com this week, stressing that he “didn't know how they were going to do it," when he ordered his security detail to retrieve the wallet he left behind at his beach house in Gulf Shores.

“I'm the governor. And I had to have money. I had to buy something to eat. You have to have identification,” Bentley, 73, said.

The Alabama governor is being called upon to resign after audiotapes leaked that revealed his extra-marital affair with top adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason.

"There are no grounds for impeachment, and I will vigorously defend myself and my administration from this political attack," Bentley told NBC News, accusing those calling for him to step down of "political grandstanding.”

The political blog Yellowhammer News first broke the helicopter-wallet story this week, and AL.com estimated around $4,000 to be the cost if a similar round-trip four-hour helicopter ride had been ordered from a private company.

The blame game is on between former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier and Gov. Bentley's next choice to head up the ALEA, his ex-bodyguard, Stan Stabler. Collier was fired from his position, he says, for cooperating with the state attorney general’s office in a separate investigation on the state’s house speaker.

Stabler claims he had Collier’s permission to use the official helicopter, while Collier maintains the governor himself was the one who made the order to use it.