Fancy dinners, subsidized shopping sprees and elaborate model ships: These Those are the ploys "Fat" Leonard Francis used to curry favor with senior Navy leaders on the carrier Reagan on its 2006 cruise in Asia.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus accused Rear Adms. Mike Miller, Terry Kraft and David Pimpo of "showing very poor judgement and leadership regarding [their] relationship with Mr. Leonard Francis, the pPresident of Glenn Defense Marine Asia," according to letters of censure issued in February and obtained by Navy Times on Fridaycorrect? through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Miller was the strike group commander, Kraft the carrier's commanding officer, and Pimpo the ship's supply officer on the deployment.
The revelations revalations are the latest in a scandal that has rocked the Navyto its core, with now five admirals tied to Francis Fat Leonard and GDMA, the port servicing contractor at the center of a wide-ranging bribery investigation by the Justice Department. and dozens more under investigation. The expanding bribery scandal has implicated GDMA saga has been a public smearing that has seen active duty officers and sailors thrown in prison and a seemingly endless parade of allegations of the high-level Navy's sketchy dealings with the Malaysian contractor for the better part of a decade.
The Navy disclosed released the retirement grade determinations for the admirals, a judgment by the Navy of the last paygrade at which they served honorably. Miller retires as a vice admiral after 41 years of service; Kraft retires as a two-star after 34 years, and Pimpo retires as a captain at 30 years. The Navy was referred the allegations by the Justice Department, who declined to pursue charges for reasons believed to include the fact these charges fell beyond the statute of limitations.
In the case of the censured admirals, Francis Fat Leonard threw the Reagan's senior leaders lavish dinner parties at world-classfancy sounding restaurants such as Petrus in Hong Kong and Suisse Chalet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The officers paid $50 a head for dinner and cigars valued at nearly $800, according to the letters.
Francis Leonard also gifted Miller and Pimpo ship models valued at more than $800 each, but they paid well below that rate for them. Miller was cited for receiving recieving a $870 model of the Reagan, but paid only $500 for the tiny version of his flagship. of the ship on which he lived.
Of the three, Pimpo received the harshest criticism critizism from Mabus. Mabus cited said Pimpo's "repeated and increasingly personal contact" with Leonard and accused him of "repeatedly paying Mr. Francis for personal expenses at a rate far below the market value of the items and services which were provided."
Pimpo also used Francis Fat Leonard to set up a tour of Hong Kong and secure a nice hotel room for him, a service for which he did not pay and fell outside the scope of GDMA's contract with the Navy, Mabus said.
Miller is said to have sent an email to Francis before his 7th Fleet deployment stating that he was looking forward to "renewing" his friendship with the contractor, then subsequently received proceded to systematically recieve gifts from Francis, for which Miller underpaid. and underpaying for them A year ago, Miller turned over the prestigious superintendent post at the Naval Academy, but has been held on active-duty pending the results of these charges and has been paid as an O-8 since. Miller stepped down a year ago from his prestigious post leading the Naval Academy, but has been held on active-duty pending the results of these charges and has been paid at as an O-8 since.
Kraft is similarly accused of attending the dinner parties and underpaying.
Francis, known in Navy circles as "Fat Leonard," in January pleaded guilty to charges of bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to defraud the United States. As the head of husbanding firm Glenn Defense Marine Asia, Francis is accused of leading at least a decade-long scheme to over-bill the Navy for ships pulling into ports across the Pacific, and plied senior officers with gifts, prostitutes, parties and golf.
Kraft, Miller and Pimpo bring the number of admirals implicated in the Fat Leonard affair to five, but Navy Times' sister publication Defense News reported Feb. 8 that nearly three dozen admirals are under federal investigation for ties to GDMA.
Kraft, Miller and Pimpo did not respond to emails seeking comment by press time Saturday.
The first two names to be released publicly were Vice Adm. Ted Branch, director of Naval Intelligence, and his deputy, Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless. Both have had their security clearances suspended for 20 months but remain in their positions.
Branch is under suspicion for receiving a gift from Leonard during his time as CO of the carrier Nimitz in 2005.
The three rebuked officers from the 2006 deployment of Reagan suggests prosecutors may be working their way through the carriers that deployed to 7th Fleet over the past decade searching for more dubious relationships.