AlaFile E-Notice

03-CV-2016-900538.00
To: KENNETH J. MENDELSOHN
kenny@jmfirm.com

NOTICE OF ELECTRONIC FILING
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, ALABAMA
JACK SPENCER COLLIER V. ROBERT BENTLEY ET AL
03-CV-2016-900538.00
The following complaint was FILED on 12/21/2016 11:21:05 AM

Notice Date:

12/21/2016 11:21:05 AM

TIFFANY B. MCCORD
CIRCUIT COURT CLERK
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, ALABAMA
251 S. LAWRENCE STREET
MONTGOMERY, AL, 36104
334-832-1260

DOCUMENT 123
ELECTRONICALLY FILED
12/21/2016 11:20 AM
03-CV-2016-900538.00
CIRCUIT COURT OF
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, ALABAMA
TIFFANY B. MCCORD, CLERK

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, ALABAMA

SPENCER COLLIER,

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Plaintiff
v.
ROBERT BENTLEY; et. al.

Defendants.

03-CV-2016-900538

AMENDED COMPLAINT
Plaintiff Spencer Collier amends his Complaint as follows:
A.

By adding Michael Robinson as a Defendant;

B.

By substituting Michael Robinson for Fictitious Defendant J;

C.

By adding April Bickhaus as a Defendant;

D.

By substituting April Bickhaus for Fictitious Defendant K; and

E.

By making the following additional allegations:
ADDITIONAL PARTIES

1.

Defendant Michael Robinson is of legal age and is a citizen and resident of the State

of Alabama. He currently serves as an attorney at ALEA, but he is not being sued in his official
capacity. He is being sued personally and in his individual capacity only.
2.

Defendant April Bickhaus is of legal age and is a citizen and resident of the State

of Alabama. She currently serves as a Special Agent at ALEA, but she is not being sued in her
official capacity. She is being sued personally and in her individual capacity only.
3.

The wrongful acts and omissions committed by all Defendants set forth in this

Amended Complaint were willful, malicious, fraudulent, in bad faith and/or beyond their authority.

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In addition, Defendant Bentley’s wrongful acts and omissions were in violation of Alabama Ethics
laws, including Ala. Code § 36-25-5(c) which prohibits him from using ALEA agents and
equipment for his personal and private benefit; were a gross abuse of his authority; and were part
of a pattern and practice by Bentley of using and attempting to use ALEA and its law enforcement
officers for his own personal and private reasons at taxpayers’ expense.

ADDITIONAL FACTS
4.

By ACT No. 2013-67, the Alabama Legislature established ALEA. In that Act,

the Legislature created the Public Safety Fund in the State Treasury which “fund consists of all
monies appropriated for support of the functions of the Secretary of the Alabama State Law
Enforcement Agency, Department of Public Safety, and the State Bureau of Investigations.” The
Legislature authorized Collier as the Secretary of the ALEA “to expend monies in the Public
Safety Fund for the support of the Secretary.”
5.

Until the time he was fired, Collier was the first and only Secretary of ALEA and

was the person responsible for establishing the general policies for ALEA which included the
expenditure of funds. None of the Defendants participated in establishing those policies.
6.

On February 17, 2016, Bentley placed Collier on medical leave to punish him for

cooperating with the Attorney General’s Office in the Mike Hubbard Ethic’s case and appointed
Stabler to be the “Acting” ALEA Secretary.
7.

Less than 2 weeks later, on February 29, 2016, Defendants Stabler and Robinson

assigned Defendant Bickhaus to investigate allegations of violations of ALEA policies and
procedures by Collier.
8.

As of February 29, 2016, Stabler did not know what authority had been given to

DOCUMENT 123

the Secretary of ALEA by the Legislature or what Policies and Procedures had been established
at ALEA.
9.

On February 29, 2016, Collier was still the Secretary of ALEA and worked for the

Governor, not ALEA, Stabler or Robinson.
10.

As “Acting” Secretary of ALEA, Defendant Stabler had no authority over Collier

and as a matter of law, could not discipline, reprimand or terminate Collier even if there were an
administrative violation.
11.

As an attorney at ALEA, Defendant Robinson had no authority over Collier and

as a matter of law, could not discipline, reprimand or terminate Collier even if there were an
administrative violation.
12.

Only Defendant Bentley could discipline Collier. Thus, this ALEA investigation

was either an unlawful investigation by Stabler and Robinson or it was sanctioned by Defendant
Bentley.
13.

Stabler and Robinson prevented Defendant Bickhaus from conducting the

investigation in accordance with standard ALEA investigations, including ordering Bickhaus not
to interview Collier, Bentley and other key witnesses.
14.

Robinson intimidated and coerced witnesses to falsely accuse Collier of wrongful

and inappropriate conduct.
15.

On March 22, 2016, Bentley terminated Collier and told the press for publication

that an internal investigation at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency uncovered possible
wrong doing during Collier's time Secretary and that the findings of the investigation centered
around possible misuse of state dollars.
16.

As of the March 22, 2016, termination of Collier, there was no additional

DOCUMENT 123

administrative punishment that Bentley could impose on Collier. Despite this fact, Bentley,
Stabler, Robinson and Bickhaus continued for over 5 months to use state resources to conduct an
investigation into Collier for Bentley’s personal reasons and desires to hurt Collier.
17.

On March 22, 2016, there was no probable cause for Defendants Bentley, Stabler,

Robinson or Bickhaus to initiate a criminal investigation or Collier or to request an investigation
by the Attorney General of the State of Alabama. Nevertheless, the Defendants did report the
unsupported allegations that Collier committed crimes.
18.

The Special Prosecutions Division of the Attorney General’s Office conducted a

complete investigation of the ALEA allegations against Collier. All of the information from
ALEA was presented to the Montgomery County Special Grand Jury. Numerous witnesses,
including senior ALEA leadership, were called to testify before the Special Grand Jury.
19.

On October 20, 2016, the Attorney General issued a public statement in which he

confirmed that the Montgomery County Special Grand Jury declined to act on the allegations
against Collier. He also stated that “No witness provided credible evidence of criminal misuse of
state funds. No witness provided credible evidence of any other criminal violation on the part of
former Secretary Collier. Finally, no witness established a credible basis for the initiation of a
criminal inquiry in the first place.”
20.

On numerous occasions between March 22, 2016, and October 20, 2016, Bentley

and his staff members at his directions, publically accused Collier of committing crimes knowing
these accusations were false.
21.

There was no legitimate reason for ALEA to be conducting an Administrative

Investigation of Collier after he was terminated. Once Collier was fired, there was no other
administrative punishment that Bentley could have imposed on Collier. Nevertheless, at

DOCUMENT 123

taxpayers’ expense, Stabler, Robinson and Bickhaus continued to investigate Collier, trying to
find anything they could to discredit and hurt Collier until August 31, 2016, when Robinson
instructed Bickhaus to refrain from further administrative investigation on Collier and to close
the case.
22.

At least 2 versions of a Case Report were prepared; however, neither were

consistent with the standards or forms used by ALEA.
23.

Upon information and belief, Defendants Mason and Robinson participated in

editing the ALEA Reports.
24.

Ala. Code § 36-25-5(c) provides that “no public official shall use or cause to be

used equipment, facilities, time, materials, human labor, or other public property under his or her
discretion or control for the private benefit or business benefit of the public official.”
25.

Bentley had and continues to have a pattern and practice of using ALEA

equipment, facilities and labor for his own personal reasons including using and attempting to
use ALEA Law Enforcement Officers to try to dig up dirt on people that Bentley disliked or
became upset with.
COUNT X
CONSPIRACY
(BENTLEY, MASON, STABLER AND ROBINSON)

26.

Collier re-alleges all paragraphs of the Complaint and Amended Complaint as if

set out here in full.
27.

Defendants Bentley, Mason, Stabler and Robinson intentionally and maliciously

conspired to defame Collier, to place him in a false light and to falsely accuse him of crimes and
other misconduct.

DOCUMENT 123

28.

Defendants Bentley, Mason, Stabler and Robinson set out to damage Collier’s

reputation both professionally and personally and to discredit Collier as a witness against Bentley
and Mason in possible criminal cases, ethics violations and impeachment proceedings.
29.

There was no legitimate or bona fide law enforcement or State purpose in

investigating Collier, most certainly not after he was terminated, and then falsely accusing him of
crimes or other misconduct.
30.

The investigation and publishing of the ALEA report was done for Bentley’s own

personal reasons and arose out of Bentley becoming angry with Collier’s refusal to obey Bentley’s
unlawful orders related to the Mike Hubbard Ethic’s case.
31.

Bentley’s use of ALEA agents to dig up dirt on Collier and report inaccurate, false

and unsubstantiated accusations against him was in direct violation of Ala. Code § 36-25-5(c)
which provides that “no public official shall use or cause to be used equipment, facilities, time,
materials, human labor, or other public property under his or her discretion or control for the
private benefit or business benefit of the public official.”
32.

As a result, Collier was damaged as set out in the Complaint.

WHEREFORE, Collier demands judgment against all Defendants in a fair and reasonable
amount of compensatory and punitive damages plus interest and costs.

COUNT XI
INVASION OF PRIVACY
(BENTLEY, MASON, STABLER AND ROBINSON)
33.

Collier re-alleges all paragraphs of the Complaint and Amended Complaint as if

set out here in full.

DOCUMENT 123

34.

Defendants invaded Collier’s privacy by putting him in a false light and position

in the eyes of the public by placing false and disparaging information in the ALEA Reports
knowing that the information would be published to the public without a subpoena or Court
Order, in violation of ALEA’s strict policy against publishing its Case Reports.
35.

These statements were highly offensive and the Defendants knew they were false

and knew the false light in which Collier was placed.
36.

The statements were made and published with malice and with knowledge and

intent to hurt and discredit Collier.
37.

Bentley grossly abused his position and committed Ethics Violations by using

State equipment, facilities, time, materials, human labor, and other public property for his private
benefit and personal desires to hurt Collier and damage his reputation.
38.

As a result, Collier was damaged as set out in the Complaint.

WHEREFORE, Collier demands judgment against all Defendants in a fair and reasonable
amount of compensatory and punitive damages plus interest and costs.

COUNT XII
INTENTIONAL INTERFERENCE WITH BUSINESS RELATION
(ROBINSON)
39.

Collier re-alleges all paragraphs of the Complaint and Amended Complaint as if

set out here in full.
40.

At all material times, Collier had a business relationship and a property interest in

his job with the State.
41.

Robinson had knowledge of the business relation.

42.

Robinson intentionally interfered with Collier’s business relation with the State by

DOCUMENT 123

among other things, using his position to intimidate and coerce ALEA employees to make false
and derogatory statements against Collier; directing Bickhaus on how to conduct the investigation;
instructing Bickhaus to not interview key witnesses who would have proven that Collier had not
done anything wrong; using his position and state resources to administratively investigate Collier
after he had been terminated; and by including false information and charges, all to help give
Bentley a justification for firing Collier and to further hurt and defame Collier.
43.

There was no justification for the Robinson’s interference with Collier’s job.

44.

As a result, Collier was injured and damaged as set out above.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands judgment against Robinson. in a fair and just amount of
compensatory and punitive damages to be determined by a jury, plus interest and costs.
COUNT XIII
INVASION OF PRIVACY
(BICKHAUS)
45.

Collier re-alleges all paragraphs of the Complaint and Amended Complaint as if

set out here in full.
46.

Bickhaus invaded Collier’s privacy by putting him in a false light and position in

the eyes of the public by among other things, placing false and disparaging information in the
ALEA Reports;

by not conducting the investigation in accordance with standard ALEA

procedures; by using her position, State resources and tying up other State Employees’ time to
administratively investigate Collier after he had been terminated; by failing to interview key
witnesses who would have proven that Collier had not done anything wrong; and by including
false and unsubstantiated rumors in her Case Report, that even if true, would not serve as a basis
for administrative discipline.

DOCUMENT 123

47.

These statements in Bickhaus’ Case Report were highly offensive and she knew

they were false and knew the false light in which Collier was placed.
48.

Bickhaus knew that there was no bona fide law enforcement or legitimate State

administrative purpose for investigating Collier, especially after Collier was terminated and that
her investigation was for the purpose of helping Bentley in his desire to further hurt and defame
Collier.
49.

The false and derogatory statements in the ALEA Report were made and

published with malice and with knowledge and intent to hurt and discredit Collier.
50.

As a result, Collier was injured and damaged as set out above.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands judgment against Bickhaus. in a fair and just amount of
compensatory and punitive damages to be determined by a jury, plus interest and costs.
COUNT XIV
DEFAMATION
(BENTLEY)
51.

Collier re-alleges all paragraphs of the Complaint and Amended Complaint as if

set out here in full.
52.

On numerous occasions between March 22, 2016, and October 20, 2016, Bentley

and his staff members at his directions, publically accused Collier of committing crimes knowing
these accusations were false.
53.

The statements were made and published with malice and with knowledge of their

54.

As a result, Collier was injured and damaged as set out above.

falsity.

DOCUMENT 123

WHEREFORE, Collier demands judgment against Bentley in a fair and reasonable
amount of compensatory and punitive damages plus interest and costs.

/s/ Kenneth J. Mendelsohn
Kenneth J. Mendelsohn (MEN 001)
Attorney for Defendant

OF COUNSEL:
JEMISON & MENDELSOHN, P.C.
1772 Platt Place
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
(334) 213-2323 (Telephone)
(334) 213-5663 (Facsimile)
Email: kenny@jmfirm.com

PLAINTIFF DEMANDS A TRIAL BY STRUCK JURY ON
ALL ISSUES IN THE COMPLAINT AND AMENDED COMPLAINT

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I hereby certify that on this, the 21st day of December, 2016, a true and correct copy of
the foregoing pleading has been served via electronic filing and/or email on all parties of record
and that a true and accurate copy of the foregoing pleading has been served upon the Attorney
General of the State of Alabama by United States Mail.
/s/ Kenneth J. Mendelsohn
OF COUNSEL
Defendant should be served by certified mail as follows:
Michael Robinson
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency
201 S. Union St., Suite 300
Montgomery, AL 36104

DOCUMENT 123

April Bickhaus
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency
201 S. Union St., Suite 300
Montgomery, AL 36104

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