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General Found to Break Rules on Wife’s Spa Trip, Free Meals

General William E. “Kip” Ward

In July 2010, Ward met in New York City with an unnamed “prohibited source” who runs an unnamed “construction management, engineering, technology and energy services company” with over $4 million in military contracts. Ward emailed him about “the show” that the two men and their families planned to see on Broadway. “All is set in New York” the contractor emailed Ward. “At 1900 the play starts we should be there by 1830 [sic]. HOOAH.” (The show appears to be Fences, as the Wards met backstage with the show’s star, Denzel Washington.) ~Spencer Ackerman – Wired – Top General Undone by Spa Treatments, Snickers, Broadway Show

(Updates with responses from Ward starting in fourth paragraph.)
David Lerman – (Bloomberg News) – August 17, 2012 -U.S. Army General William Ward used taxpayer money for personal trips, let his staff rent cars at public expense to take his wife to a spa, and accepted meals and Broadway theater tickets from a Defense Department contractor, according to the department’s inspector general.

Ward, who served as the first commander of Africa Command until last year, “engaged in multiple forms of misconduct related to official and unofficial travel,” wasted government money, and “misused his position,” according to a redacted version of an inspector general’s report obtained today through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Ward’s fate awaits a decision by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Since leaving Africa Command last year, Ward has served as a special assistant to the Army’s vice chief of staff, according to Army spokesman George Wright. Wright didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Ward.

In an April 23 letter to the inspector general that was cited in the report, Ward denied wrongdoing, saying the disputed trips involved official business for Africa Command.

The inspector general’s investigation found Ward spent public money on trips to New York City in 2010 and Atlanta in 2011 “when the primary purpose was personal,” in violation of federal guidance and military policy, according to the report, which was dated June 26.

Wife’s Travels
The inspector general found Ward allowed his wife to accompany him on military aircraft 15 times “for purposes that were not unquestionably official” and without reimbursing the U.S. Treasury.

“The statement that my wife sat someone down and said to make provisions to take her on every trip is an obvious misrepresentation and character assassination,” Ward wrote. “The portrayal in the allegations that we were ‘hunting’ for reasons for my wife to travel is so misleading as to be false.”

The inspector general found Ward permitted his staff to rent cars at government expense “to run personal errands and to drive Mrs. Ward for unofficial purposes, such as to a spa and a department store,” in violation of federal travel regulations, according to the report.

Ward described the spa trip as “likely a case of stopping off to purchase hair or other grooming products for a family member in Stuttgart or on the continent,” according to his letter.

“It was certainly not as characterized, a day trip to the spa for personal reasons,” the general said.

The inspector general stood by the conclusion, saying Ward’s wife “went to an ‘appointment’ at a spa.”

Broadway Tickets
The inspector general found the 2011 trip to Atlanta and the use of a $700 hotel suite in Bermuda during a refueling stop in May 2010 showed Ward failed to comply with requirements to “protect and conserve resources” and to “exercise prudence in travel.”

Ward accepted “complimentary meals and Broadway show tickets in excess of $20 in value for himself and his wife from a prohibited source with multiple DoD contracts,” in violation of ethics rules, the report found. The name of the “prohibited source” was blacked out.

Ward said in his letter that he didn’t know the source “had business dealings in the defense contract environment and was therefore a ‘prohibited source.’”

Annual Party
The report also found Ward spent more than $34,000 a year on a one-day holiday party held at his residence in 2009 and again in 2010. Ward brought a “protocol specialist” from the U.S. to Stuttgart, Germany, where Africa Command is based, for a month to help organize the party, according to the report.

Ward said use of the specialist “supported a training program and execution requirement for a very important official function.”

The general served as head of Africa Command, the newest of six regional geographic commands, from Oct. 1, 2007, to March 9, 2011.

Panetta is reviewing a variety of disciplinary measures for Ward, with nothing ruled out, according to an Army official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the confidential investigation.

The inspector general called in the report for Army Secretary John McHugh to take “appropriate action” on Ward and conduct additional analysis to determine whether he should reimburse the government for unofficial travel on military aircraft. McHugh also should determine whether Ward should reimburse the government for travel expenses that exceeded government limits, according to the report.

As head of Africa Command, Ward was a four-star general, the highest rank in the Army. He is considered a two-star general in his current position, though no decision has been made on the rank at which he will retire, the official said. (Click HERE for original article)

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8 Comments

  1. Comment by ACC WATCH:

    This sounds like a witch hunt. The General is on of America’s top Generals and it probably did get that contractor to arrange a meeting with Denzel Washington.

    Meanwhile, the Army Contracting Command GPC card holders are spliting requirements to single sole source and are continually circumventing the Competition in Contracting Act, and not having their contracting officers enforce Small Business Plans in Kuwait and Afghanistan so that 23% of the Federally spent money is spent on U.S. Registered Small Business rather than Lebanese owned businesses who the DOJ and Army CID never prosecute for giving kickbacks and bribes.

    Congress. ACC has failed to meet any of the goals and is still using subcontractor CACI as a means to assist their contracting shop because ACC is still not up to speed 5 years AC ( After Cockerham ).

    I hope the General enjoyed the show and meeting Mr. Washington.

  2. Comment by ACC WATCH:

    Hmmm – after reading the report – it would appear that he owes the U.S. Treasury about $ 1.5 million for restitution.

    I have no doubt that had this General been in Africa Mr. Clinton and he was given these latitudes – there would have been no Rawanda.

    These Generals need wider latitudes to carry out their social roles they hold. Yes, a little over the top General, but it sounds like you were enjoying yourself in your final years.

    Does anyone remember Chuck Yeager’s biography ? He took an Army helicopter cutthroat fishing and it crashed into the lake. Did he get in trouble for that ? Doubt it.

  3. Comment by Intrepid:

    Witch hunt, plain and simple.

  4. Comment by ACC WATCH:

    90 pages – if they devoted that much time to investigating ITT’s overcharging the United States Government in Kuwait and the 2 judges in ITT’s home state of Colorado Springs, Colorado didn’t cover-up, then the United States Taxpayers would have recovered about $ 500 Mil – $ 750 Mil.

    This is a witch hunt and the General should retire as a 4-star and be done with it. It should be a lesson to other Generals now that America has a busines industry call WAR and they are the representatives of our main EXPORT BUSINESS – WAR.

    The Generals should be allowed to act like other CEOs of big companies and they should be given more latitude to conduct the business of War and Killing Insurgents and sometimes, killing those Muslim Extremists requires some entertainment expenditures. Give them a corporate card and let them do loose.

  5. Comment by Brian:

    Just another corrupt scumbag, stars or no stars. Fraud, Waste and Abuse, nothing more, nothing less.

  6. Comment by Truth hurts:

    Just typical behavior for him. He thought he could do whatever he wants and no one would bother him because of his color. They all want to get theirs. Why is it even with a position they just have to take more than they deserve.What he has done is nothing more than theft. They should do more than just demote him, he should be stripped of all rank and kick him out of the military.Maybe even an undesireable discharge.

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