We previously reported the detailed accusations against four-star Gen. William “Kip Ward, who was the subject of a 17-month investigation that found Ward to have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to support a lavish lifestyle while he served as head of U.S. Africa Command.Now The Associated Press reports that four-star Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, America’s top military officer, is opposing Ward’s potential demotion to three-star lieutenant general.
The defence Department inspector general’s report has been sitting on defence Secretary Leon Panetta’s desk since mid-August, and U.S. officials told the AP that he has not made a final decision.
Retiring as a three-star would cost Ward nearly $30,000 a year in retirement pay — giving him about $208,802 a year rather than the $236,650 he would get as a four-star. He also could be required to reimburse the defence Department for tens of thousands of dollars in flight costs and other expenses that he incurred while at Africa Command.
Here is a recap of the alleged misconduct, courtesy of The Daily Mail:
- $129,000 on an 11-day trip to Washington with his wife and 13 staff where he only had short engagements on the first three days of the trip. The cost covers the hotel and ‘other’ costs such as transportation.
- $10,000 on hotels rooms for himself and staff during a ‘refueling stop’ in Bermuda on the way to an engagement in Germany. He and his wife stayed in a $750 suite. The bill does not include transport or other costs.
- $18,500 on producing and publishing 2,000 books about the Command’s plush residence in Germany and its first three years of work.
- One staffer stayed in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in McLean, Virginia for 49 consecutive nights in early 2010—even though Ward was in the area for just 18 of the nights.
- Use of government-rented vehicles to run errands including collecting flowers, books, football game tickets and snacks.
- Dinner and a Broadway show—paid for by a government contractor—before meeting Denzel Washington and staying in the five-star Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
- Wife joined him on 52 of his 79 trips even though she had no official capacity.
- Ward also set officials meetings after being refused the use of military aircraft for personal travel.
Some officials have argued that the allegations made against Ward are “very serious and that senior officers need to be held accountable” given that “similar misconduct by a lower ranking officer or enlisted military member would garner severe punishment or dismissal.”
Gen. Dempsey seems to disagree.
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