WASHINGTON (AP) — A report from Pentagon investigators spells out what they say were unauthorized spending and travel costs racked up by a four-star general who headed U.S. Africa Command.
Investigators found that Gen. Kip Ward used military vehicles to shuttle his wife shopping and to spas. And he billed the government for a refueling stop overnight in Bermuda, where the couple stayed in a $750 suite.
Ward is facing possible demotion for his activities.
He defends the Bermuda layover as a "crew stop," and blames his staff for making the decision to stay there instead of flying on to Germany. His comments were included in the report.
In one case, the report says, Ward's request to use military aircraft for a personal trip was denied -- so he added a quick meeting to the schedule, changed the trip to an official one, and went anyway.
The report cites one 11-day trip to Washington in which Ward spent a day visiting wounded soldiers, had a 90-minute meeting on another day and a State Department meeting on a third day -- but billed the Pentagon $129,000 to cover the daily hotel and other costs for him, his wife and 13 staff members.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to make a decision on Ward's fate by the end of the month.
202-c-19-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent)-"facing possible demotion"-AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports a Pentagon investigation has found General William 'Kip' Ward engaged in unauthorized lavish spending and travel. (17 Aug 2012)
<<CUT *202 (08/17/12)>> 00:19 "facing possible demotion"
201-v-31-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent)--A Pentagon watchdog report is detailing lavish unauthorized spending and travel by a four-star general. AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports from the Pentagon. (17 Aug 2012)
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GRAPHICSBANK: William E. Ward headshot, as US Army General and first commander of US Africa Command, undated US Army photo on black (17 Aug 2012)