Navy cen­sures ad­mi­ral in ‘Fat Leonard’ case

The Washington Post - - NEWS - — Craig Whit­lock

The Navy an­nounced Wed­nes­day that it has cen­sured a re­tired ad­mi­ral for per­sonal mis­be­hav­ior and ac­cept­ing il­licit gifts in the “Fat Leonard” corruption case.

Ken­neth Nor­ton, who re­tired in De­cem­ber 2014, is the fourth ad­mi­ral in the case to re­ceive a let­ter of cen­sure, or a for­mal re­buke. In a state­ment, the Navy said a re­view de­ter­mined that Nor­ton had “demon­strated ex­ceed­ingly poor judg­ment and lead­er­ship” and had “brought ill­re­pute and dis­grace upon the U.S. Navy.”

The Navy said Nor­ton im­prop­erly ac­cepted gifts from Glenn De­fense Marine Asia, a Sin­ga­pore-based con­tract­ing firm headed by Leonard Glenn Fran­cis, known within mar­itime cir­cles as “Fat Leonard” be­cause of his 6-foot 3-inch, 350-pound frame. Fran­cis has pleaded guilty in a long-run­ning corruption in­ves­ti­ga­tion to brib­ing Navy per­son­nel and over­charg­ing the Navy by more than $35 mil­lion to re­sup­ply U.S. ves­sels in Asia.

Two ad­mi­rals in the case have been charged with fed­eral crimes by the Jus­tice Depart­ment. In ad­di­tion, about 60 ad­mi­rals have come un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for pos­si­ble vi­o­la­tions of mil­i­tary law or fed­eral ethics rules in their deal­ings with Fran­cis, who was leg­endary within the Navy for en­ter­tain­ing of­fi­cers with wildly ex­pen­sive din­ners and all­night par­ties fea­tur­ing pros­ti­tutes.

Navy of­fi­cials dis­closed few de­tails about Nor­ton’s mis­con­duct but said it dated to his ser­vice as the com­mand­ing of­fi­cer of the USS Ron­ald Rea­gan, an air­craft car­rier, be­tween 2008 and 2010.

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