Navy Scandal: Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis Sell-Out for Trinkets

His name is Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis. He sounds like a cartoon character but right about now, no one is laughing. Francis is a high-flying defense contractor, and from 2006 to 2014, he bribed high-ranking Naval officers in order to get in their good graces and to perpetrate a grand fraud scheme.

It takes tremendous work and effort to become an Admiral or any officer of high rank. One of the officers that “Fat Leonard” bribed was Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, an intelligence officer who should have known better, and should have known what bad ethics “looked like.” Loveless had company, including four, now retired Navy captains and a retired Marine colonel.

“Fat Leonard” bought the officers with trinkets. They were expensive trinkets, to be sure and included $25,000 watches, expensive cigars, bottles of cognac, hotel rooms and prostitutes. Francis also sponsored sex parties on board fleet warships and in lavish hotels with thousands of dollars of Dom Pérignon champagne.

“Fat Leonard” – Cheap Thrills

In exchange for trinkets, the officers gave up their careers and reputations to allow Francis’ firm, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, to cheat the U.S. government tens of millions of dollars. The officers have just been arrested and are facing federal charges. As the scandal investigations broaden, the Navy announced that up to 30 admirals may be involved but before it is all over, as many as 200 officers may be involved.

The officers are all held or are being questioned in regard to major ethics violations as they were steering business to Francis’ company. The United States Navy is calling this a fraud of epic proportions, but why should anyone in the Department of the Navy be surprised?

Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis had virtually unrestricted access to the senior ranks of the 7th Fleet, and once he gained that access, he could recruit others to do his bidding. He manipulated all of them with gifts and sex orgies. He was able to circumvent all of his competitors. In addition, Francis was able to buy off officers in the personnel department so that he could get past any potential criminal investigations.

At almost every turn, “Fat Leonard” gained access to decision makers and it begs a major ethical question: who was doing the ethical training? Furthermore, what does the word “ethics” mean to people in the massive federal bureaucracy?

One of the major reasons the taxpaying citizens of our nation have such contempt for many of our elected officials and people who spend their careers in quasi-governmental positions, is the concept of “them and us.” Those in government, the vast bureaucracies and the upper echelons of the military are often seen as living in highly insular worlds. They are seen as being responsible to no one, with virtually no consequences to their actions.

What the government views as “ethical behavior,” are the manuals and the rules and regulations. What we as citizens view as ethical comes down to a matter of choices and consequences. The fact that in the case of Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis, that up to 200 officers could be bought and sold by this 350-pound, larger than life character tells me that no one read the book of ethical rules and regulations. They kept to their insular little world. No one held them accountable and for several years there were no consequences.

Clearly, the officers saw an opportunity to take advantage of a lax system. To understand just how stupid they were, is to see how little it cost Francis to buy them all off. He cared about none of them. A box of cigars, fancy hotel rooms, champagne and prostitutes in trade for a career.

The model they have used for ethics training apparently does no good. As an expert in the area of ethics training and speaking I am alarmed at how low our expectations have become and how far we have to go.







Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Navy and tagged , .

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