Audit calls into question Robert Bentley’s stated reason for firing head ALEA officer

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Robert Bentley and Spencer Collier

An audit by the Alabama Examiners of Public Accounts released last month, which found no “significant instances of noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations” within the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), calls into question Gov. Robert Bentley‘s stated reason for firing the agency’s former director Spencer Collier.

The audit, first reported by WBRC, covered six years from Oct. 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2015, which includes all but four months of Collier’s leadership of the agency.

The audit is a notable discrepancy to the governor’s stated reason for booting Collier earlier this week.

“(Collier’s replacement, Stan Stabler) identified several areas of concern in the operations, policies and procedures at ALEA,” Bentley said in a news release Tuesday announcing Collier’s dismissal. “After an internal review, the ALEA Integrity Unit found a number of issues, including possible misuse of state funds. I am disappointed to learn these facts, and today, I relieved Spencer Collier of his duties as ALEA Secretary.”

Collier, during his news conference Wednesday, which set off the firestorm of allegations about the governor’s personal life, claims he only learned about his dismissal and the governor’s stated reason through social media.

Stabler has acted in the capacity of ALEA director since Collier was placed on medical leave in February. In addition to having made the claims about misuse of money in the agency under Collier’s watch, Stabler also maintains he was not a witness to any evidence of the governor’s alleged affair, as was stated by Collier.

“The allegation and implication from Mr. Collier is completely false and without merit,” Stabler wrote in a statement.

Attempts to contact a spokesman from the Examiners of Public Accounts’ office to ascertain whether the department has plans to conduct more audits of ALEA were unsuccessful. Another audit could determine whether there was any misuse of funds between the end of the agency’s scheduled audit on Sept. 30, 2015, and Collier being placed on medical leave in February.

Attorney General Luther Strange said Thursday afternoon his office “takes very seriously any allegations involving potential criminal misconduct,” and, “has a strong record of probing illegal activity in this state and we will continue to do our job,” but his office will not release any further information about “pending criminal investigations.”

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