A former U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman who moonlighted as a PR guru for “Fat Leonard” Glenn Francis was sentenced to six months in prison Friday.
Now-retired Navy Capt. Jeffrey Breslau also must pay a $20,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service as part of the sentence handed down in a San Diego courtroom by U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino.
Breslau also must reimburse the Navy the $65,000 that Fat Leonard paid the captain “for insider advice that helped the contractor build a business empire that cost the Navy tens of millions of dollars,” according to a U.S. Justice Department release announcing the punishment.
He pleaded guilty in November to a criminal conflict of interest charge.
Breslau’s attorneys did not return a call seeking comment.
The 52-year-old wrote emails and provided talking points to Francis to help the portly Malaysian magnate build networks with five Navy admirals in order to secure rich Navy contracts for his in-port ship servicing company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, or GDMA, according to a copy of Breslau’s sentencing memo obtained by Navy Times.
Justice Department officials declined comment Friday when asked to identify those five admirals.
The memo states Breslau used “his specialized skills and privileged position, bestowed upon him by the U.S. Navy, for GDMA’s benefit.”
“Simply put, defendant sold his fiduciary alliance for $65,000,” the memo states.
The sentencing memo not only shows how the public affairs officer aided Francis until the corrupt contractor’s 2013 arrest in San Diego, but it also connects the dots to Navy officers toiling on behalf of Leonard, and how they interacted with each other.
Breslau helped manage negative Fat Leonard news about a ship dumping waste in Philippine waters and a GDMA truck that killed a moped driver, according to the memo.
The captain gave Francis advice on dining with admirals at their homes, and Francis told of how he hooked up 7th Fleet staffers with tickets to a Lady Gaga concert in Thailand.
Breslau’s Fat Leonard-related work began in 2012 when he was head of public affairs for Pacific Fleet and continued into 2013 when he led a crisis-communications command in Norfolk.
Along the way, he helped massage bad news Francis brought to him about the increasing scrutiny Navy officials were bringing to bear on GDMA, among other headaches, according to the memo.
Breslau met Francis in early 2012, a meetup “facilitated by another U.S. Navy officer, whom Francis had lavished gifts upon for years,” the sentencing memo states.
The two conversed about the “perceived unfairness and retaliation” hitting GDMA — issues ranging from competitors landing a contract for the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group’s April 2012 India port visit to complaints about a former GDMA employee who was later hired as the Pacific Fleet’s director of logistics, according to the sentencing memo.
Francis told Breslau that GDMA was being “unfairly targeted” by that former employee, identified in the memo as “Employee 1.”
“Staggeringly, at this time, (Breslau) worked with Employee 1, as both were senior staff at Pacific Fleet,” the memo states.
“In this exchange, Francis forwarded Breslau a number of U.S. Navy internal emails with competitor information and documents related to the relationship between GDMA and Employee 1,” the memo states. “Francis asked Breslau to review the documents and provide him with advice.”
Breslau suggested that Francis leverage his “key influencers” in the ranks, “which he identified as [Admiral 1]” and Capt. David Haas, a former 7th Fleet director of operations who was indicted for his role in the scandal last summer, the memo states.
Haas’ attorney told Navy Times last summer that his client is innocent.
Francis sent a message to Haas and his deputy, Cmdr. Michael Misiewicz, and “blind copied” Breslau, meaning the others couldn’t see his name.
That message contained an internal Fleet Logistic Center email about challenges to the India port visit.
Misiewicz is incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary Lompoc until March 23, 2022 for his role in the Fat Leonard public corruption scandal.
Breslau promised “talking points” about how to use damaging information about a competitor, but also urged Francis to be careful, according to the memo.
“[H]ope I was blind copied on the note below,” Breslau wrote, according to the memo. “Important to not compromise me even to your closest Navy brothers.”
He added that an unidentified Navy captain was “the only one who knows I am providing advice and it is best to keep it that way,” according to the memo.
“Rest assured, your identity is protected,” Francis replied.
A few days later, Breslau advised Francis to meet with several unidentified admirals in order to share his concerns about the former GDMA employee now heading up logistics for Pacific Fleet, the memo states.
Breslau and his side boss emailed in May 2012 about communicating with a flag officer identified in the memo as “Admiral 4.”
“Francis opined that Admiral 4 may have been ‘spooked’ by a recent ethics message sent through the Pacific Fleet (to be ‘wary about GDMA ethical business practices’) coupled with the general perception that GDMA ‘is under (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) investigation,’” the memo states.
Breslau agreed with Fat Leonard’s plan to contact Capt. David Lausman, then-commanding officer of the aircraft carrier George Washington and Admiral 4’s subordinate.
Lausman’s case is ongoing, according to court records.
“Breslau agreed that Lausman was in a ‘very good position to help’ and ‘(he) can whisper to [Admiral 4] for you,’” the memo states. “Although context is muddled, Breslau added, if this happens, it keeps [Admiral 4] safe during any investigation.”
Admiral 4 replied to Francis and invited him to dinner at his home in Japan, and Breslau helped craft talking points, according to the memo.
“Breslau responded that the dinner event would be a great opportunity to strengthen Francis’s relationship with Admiral 4 and impress another U.S. Navy Admiral, Admiral 5, who would also be in attendance,” the memo states.
Breslau said Francis should bring his wife so that “she can help distract the other spouses and give you a better opportunity to talk with your friends,” the memo states.
“Plus, she can also help carry flowers,” Breslau suggested. “You only have two hands and four couples to meet with.”
Also in May 2012, Francis told Breslau that the 7th Fleet’s Chief of Staff wanted to go see Lady Gaga in Thailand — and Francis was going to make it happen, according to the memo.
Breslau urged Francis to “be careful with this email” and that the chief of staff’s email was being monitored, the memo states.
That chief of staff is not identified in Breslau’s sentencing documents.
Francis later called Breslau a “brilliant strategist” in an email and told his consultant he had booked 12 Lady Gaga tickets “and provided eight of the tickets to Seventh Fleet Staff,” the memo states.
Later that month in an email exchange, “Breslau recommended Francis take his wife to Tokyo so she can shop with Admiral 1’s wife and then the four of them could go out to dinner and late night drinks,” the memo states.
At one point that year, the two conferred about getting a Supply Corps member to file an anonymous Inspector General complaint about the former GDMA employee who had joined the Pacific Fleet staff and was impugning Francis’s company, according to the memo.
Breslau helped Francis manage other issues in late 2012, including Navy ship sewage being dumped into Philippine waters.
Francis forwarded “internal U.S. Navy messages from Seventh Fleet Logistics” discussing that allegation “as well as the sinking of a picket boat, and the killing of a moped rider by a GDMA bus,” the memo states.
“Francis asked Breslau for his expertise in extinguishing the ‘wild malicious allegations,’” prosecutors wrote. “Breslau agreed to assist in minimizing GDMA’s exposure to these allegations and draft a response for Francis to provide to the N4 and anyone else who asked.”
Investigators believe Breslau eventually grew overwhelmed with all the tasks he was juggling.
“I am averaging three hours a sleep over the past four nights between the [U.S. Navy] exercise in South Carolina, travel to Bogota, trip prep, day job, and [consulting for] Leonard so I am not as sharp at the moment and hope I am not confusing things too much,” he wrote in June 2013.
A few months later, in September, Francis was arrested in San Diego.
He had been meeting with Navy officers and presented them materials about new Asian opportunities, the memo states, “all of which had been edited by Breslau.”
Over time, Breslau wrote, reviewed or edited at least 33 documents and crafted at least 135 emails advising Francis.
And on at least 14 occasions, Breslau provided Francis with talking points before the magnate’s meetings with high-ranking Navy personnel, prosecutors wrote.
Breslau called himself Fat Leonard’s “priest” because of their relationship’s confidential nature, and Francis praised the captain as a ghost writer.
“Thanks for the compliment with regard to the ghost emails,” Breslau replied. “Glad to help.”
Breslau is the latest high-ranking officer to get snagged in the west Pacific web of bribes, booze, prostitutes and classified info leaking that is the Fat Leonard scandal.
Francis pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges for overseeing a sprawling 10-year conspiracy that saw him plying Navy officials with luxury travel, five-star hotels, top-shelf boozes, prostitutes and even plump Spanish suckling pigs in exchange for information on lucrative contracts.
Breslau faced a max sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
He becomes the 18th former or current Navy official to plead guilty in federal court as part of the scandal.
Thirty-three defendants overall have been charged so far, and 22 have pleaded guilty.
The Justice Department has forwarded hundreds of lower-level cases to the Navy for adjudication.
That review continues.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.