Earlier this month, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer sent a scathing letter of censure to retired Capt. Timothy Conroy, calling him to task for sleeping with prostitutes and accepting improper gifts as part of the sprawling “Fat Leonard” scandal, a bacchanal of West Pacific bribery, kickbacks and corruption that has ensnared scores of Navy officials.
“You failed these officers, you failed your command, and you failed the Department of the Navy,” Spencer wrote in the June 14 letter.
Service officials said Conroy’s transgressions occurred in 2008, and he retired in 2010.
But the career aviator was not finished with Navy life.
As investigators scrutinized Conroy’s role in the “Fat Leonard” scandal back in 2016, another sector of the service was offering him a new civilian job, according to Navy records and officials.
Investigators interviewed Conroy for at least the second time in January 2016, according to the letter of censure.
A few months after that, the Navy hired him in April 2016 as a technical specialist doing Joint Strike Fighter-related work, according to Navy spokesman Cmdr. William Speaks.
Conroy now spends his days pulling in a six-figure salary working in the PMW 750 Carrier and Air Integration Program Office, coordinating costs, scheduling and performance for the Joint Strike Fighter, according to Navy officials.
Investigators also interviewed Conroy in March 2015, according to the censure letter.
It remains unclear whether the Navy had substantiated the allegations against Conroy when he was offered the new job, or whether the service factored in the “Fat Leonard” allegations against Conroy before hiring him for the civilian job.
Speaks did not respond to questions by Navy Times’ deadline regarding Conroy’s hiring and where it fell in connection to the investigation.
Conroy did not return a call this week seeking comment.
Conroy’s transgressions occurred while he was Carrier Strike Group 7’s chief of staff in 2008, and set “a wholly unethical tone,” according to Spencer’s letter.
“It is clear that you did not care about the reputation of the Navy or the example you were setting for subordinate officers,” the letter states.
During an October 2008 port call in Singapore, Spencer’s letter said, Conroy and a subordinate junior officer “liberty buddy” took two prostitutes back to Conroy’s suite, where he “engaged in sexual activity” with one of the women.
Spencer’s letter states that the women were paid for by “Fat Leonard” Glenn Francis, the scandal’s ringleader and corpulent head of the in-port servicing company Glenn Defense Marine Asia, or GDMA.
Francis pleaded guilty in federal court in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges in connection to a conspiracy that spanned more than a decade and involved scores of Navy officials, and millions of dollars in fraud, bribes and gifts, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Francis plied Navy officials with gifts and perks and received classified and confidential information regarding ship schedules. At the same time, Francis’s company was also overbilling the Navy for goods and services and receiving preferential treatment in the contracting process, according to the department.
The Justice Department is prosecuting the highest-level cases and has referred hundreds of other cases back to the Navy for adjudication.
During an August 2008 stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Conroy attended an “opulent dinner” hosted by Francis and his company, the letter states.
Conroy was the senior officer there and was representing the strike group, according to the letter.
“The Strike Group Ethics Counselor later notified you of the potential issue that your attendance raised, but you took no action to address the impropriety of the dinner,” the letter states.
After the dinner, Conroy rode in a “private Hummer” to a night club party with other officers that featured food, booze and “the services of women identified as prostitutes,” all paid for by Francis and his company, the letter states.
Conroy was interviewed by Naval Criminal Investigative Service officials in March 2015, and by Defense Criminal Investigative Service officials in January 2016, according to the letter.
He told investigators he had consulted with judge advocates assigned to the strike group and the carrier Ronald Reagan, according to the letter.
During the interview, Conroy said the legal officals told him to avoid insulting foreign hosts, “and that as long as Mr. Francis was not giving you a physical gift, you could accept consumables such as food, alcohol and cigars, regardless of the amount,” the letter states.
But the strike group judge advocate “specifically denied providing any such advice and stated he notified you after the dinner in Kuala Lumpur of his concerns with the event but you took no remedial action to address the matter,” according to the letter.
“There is no evidence to corroborate your assertion that you sought legal advice or disclosed all relevant circumstances in the conversations with either of these judge advocates in regards to any of the foregoing gifts,” the letter states.
Conroy’s senior position was the reason Francis plied him with the gifts, according to the letter.
“Your willingness to accept those gifts provided the worst type of example for subordinate officers within your chain of command and other officers who observed your interaction with Mr. Francis,” the letter states.
“You abused your position by accepting gifts from Mr. Francis/GDMA, participating in inappropriate activities, and worse yet, leading officers under your charge to imitate your poor behavior.”
Along the way, Conroy’s behavior left subordinates vulnerable, according to the letter.
“By encouraging subordinate officers to attend these events, you enabled Mr. Francis to identify and target other officers, and potentially recruit them for participation in his criminal scheme to defraud the United States,” the letter states. “Your improper personal behavior…set a wholly unacceptable ethical tone.”
Retired Rear Adm. Rick Wren and active-duty Capt. Charles Johnson also received letters of censure from Spencer this month.
At least four other active-duty and retired officers have received such censure letters for their roles in the scandal.
Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.