Home » Military Personnel » SECNAV Spencer Censures Retired Admiral, 2 Other Officers in Ongoing ‘Fat Leonard’ Case

SECNAV Spencer Censures Retired Admiral, 2 Other Officers in Ongoing ‘Fat Leonard’ Case

Undated photo of Leonard Francis

This post has been updated to include the letters of censure for Wren, Conroy and Johnson.

Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer has issued letters of censure to a retired admiral and two other senior officers who the service says accepted gifts and had an inappropriate relationship with Leonard ‘Fat Leonard’ Francis and the Glenn Defense Marine Asia company, USNI News has learned.

The letters, dated June 14, were issued to retired Rear Adm. Richard Wren, retired Capt. Timothy Conroy and Capt. Charles Johnson. The censure was “based on findings regarding each of those officers’ improper interactions with and acceptance of gifts from Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a defense contractor and prohibited source,” according to a Navy statement provided to USNI News.

Wren served in Japan from 2007 to 2010 in positions including commander of the forward-deployed Carrier Strike Group 5. Conroy served as the chief of staff to the commander of Carrier Strike Group 7 in 2008 when he encountered Francis. Johnson, who is still in the Navy, served in several positions in the Western Pacific from 2004 to 2010, including the command of the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG-85).

Each letter outlines specific gifts, meals and incidents involving the officers that Spencer wrote violated the Navy’s code of ethics.

“It is incumbent that naval officers, particularly those placed in positions of great trust and responsibility, be held to the highest standards of both personal and professional behavior. Rear Adm. Wren, Capt. Conroy and Capt. Johnson, while serving in such positions, each disregarded those standards and engaged in conduct that reflected unethical and improper personal behavior and set poor standards of leadership,” Spencer wrote in a statement.
“Each officer’s conduct is an embarrassment to the thousands of officers, sailors and civilians who do the right thing every day.”

The letters of censure are the latest in a series of punishments that have spiraled out of the ongoing Department of Justice case in which Francis has pleaded guilty to charges of bribing Navy officials for classified information to help win husbanding contracts. Leonard was arrested in 2013.

  • All men attracted by prostitutes and luxury

  • Jon

    Does a “Letter of Censure” take any money out of their pockets? Cost them rank? Impair their post-retirement earning potential? Does it have any meaningful impact whatsoever? Answer to all of those questions is “no”.

    So once again, we let senior officers skate, for behavior we’d hold junior enlisted accountable for.

  • TransformerSWO

    As senior officers, they violated the law and the trust of the country. And they each got an unpleasant letter. Ooooo. I just don’t think sailors on the deckplates will think they were held accountable, or that the sailors themselves would be treated in the same way as these senior officers. Looks a lot more like a pass than a punishment.

  • James Bowen

    Instead of trying to prosecute 7th Fleet SWOs who were involved in collisions last year while trying to keep up with a nearly impossible pace of operations, the Navy should be directing its legal fury against utterly corrupt officers who stole from the citizens they were supposed to be serving. We need to nail the true scumbags, not the ones who try and come up short while following orders to carry out an unaccomplishable mission.

  • SN

    A grade determination board should be convened. Then a grade reduction for the guilty (retired) officers.
    Courts Martial for those still on active duty.

  • CaptainParker

    Ineffectual eyewash. But, then, the Admiral is no doubt a protected “good boy.”

  • b2

    Ok are we done yet? Fat Leonard is a bad dude foreigner who used bribes to help his business model thrive. No different than any pirate or corsair that ever controlled a territory at sea…. Again- a bad dude not playing by the USG rules, laws or the UCMJ.

    How did he do it? Hookers? Booze? Gifts? MGod..lions, tigers and bears! Man- what a unique criminal enterprise, eh? NOT. This is what the “waterfront” has given us since Man (Woman, too!) went to sea thouands of years ago…

    To send our send our fleets/CSGs/ESGs to foreign ports, particularly the Far East where graft and this fashion of business takes place routinely, the result will always be the same… Comphrendo?

    Is anybody keeping count? like I said 3 years ago every CSG/DESRON, ESG, or ABC staff, every 7th fleet supply/logistician and any individual command that needed to go into port when this “Fat Leonard” was operating is guilty of something.. That means hundreds if not thousands of officers must be “tainted”, right?…When is it gonna stop.

    I am sure the press likes a story with all the salacious details but this particular “hunt” has to wind down. Bad enough with the ship mishaps and other buffoonery going on. Mr. Secretary?

    • Jon

      Balls. There’s millions of us who retired from the military without ever taking bribes or kickbacks in spite of numerous opportunities. If hundreds/thousands did, and are “tainted” then prosecute them, because they not only cost the taxpayers umpteen millions, they provided Leonard with classified material that placed national security and lives at risk. Your defense boils down to “some of the other kids did, so it must be OK”.

      The problem, is exactly that over time this became “business as usual”, and ensnared ever increasing numbers of officers. If it’d been stopped dead early on, and examples made, it wouldn’t have eventually “tainted” hundreds or thousands. By soft-peddling it now, we’re just ensuring that it’ll happen again.

      The problem wasn’t Fat Leonard doing what just about any businessman in Asia does or would do, it is/was bad leadership within the USN. Leadership that not only turned a blind eye and let this grow to become an all-enveloping issue, but tacitly encouraged it. It’s a cancer that metastasized, because no one was willing to get their hands bloody and cut it out early.

      Whatever happened, to expecting and demanding personal integrity, morals, and honor from our military leadership? Now it’s “hey, he only grifted a little bit”. Many of the officers implicated, started accepting bribes as relatively junior officers…but grew up to be Admirals. Admirals who’d set the example by taking bribes and kickbacks for years. I not only expect better of our senior officers, I demand it. If an officer is implicated/guilty…cut them out now. Make the example, a good one.

  • proudrino

    Not. Good. Enough.

    There is no “gray area” in these ethical lapses. In other words, there is no situation where it is ethical to accept scotch, Cuban cigars, and meals that cost in double digits from a contractor.

  • Pete Novick

    Lieutenant Dave Schaus, USN, Assistant Officer in Charge of the Ship Support Office, Hong Kong, was responsible for ship husbanding contract execution and oversight for US Navy ships making port visits to Hong Kong. Prior to reporting to the Ship Support Office, LT Schaus had served in USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) as navigator.

    Schaus first noticed discrepancies in ship CHT (sewage) collection charges in 2004 and 2005, based on his knowledge of ship CHT systems from his service aboard a destroyer, and in the summer 2006, he confronted Leonard Francis, (Glenn Defense Marine Asia), in the Navy’s Hong Kong office about inflated invoices for CHT removal for Navy ships visiting Hong Kong. Francis lost his temper and tried to intimidate him.

    After hearing about the confrontation from Francis, Paul Simpkins, a senior US Navy civilian contracting officer in Singapore, whose office awarded the Navy ship husbanding contracts for the Western Pacific area, and who Francis had previously bribed, sent an email to Schaus stating, “Do not request any invoices from the ship.” He also ordered the Navy Fleet and Industrial Supply Center (FISC) Yokosuka, to remove the CHT flow meters from the collection barges.

    Schaus filed a formal complaint about Glenn Defense Marine overcharges with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in 2006, but the investigation went nowhere, quite possibly because John Beliveau, Jr., an NCIS supervisory special agent, also on Francis’ payroll, had Francis’ back. Beliveau pleaded guilty in 2016 and was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.

    Simpkins was convicted in federal court in 2016 and is now serving a six year sentence in prison.

    LT Schaus retired from the Navy in 2007.