Published July 02, 2013
An Illinois police chief reportedly resigned from his post after acknowledging he made false claims about his military career and service as a Navy SEAL.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Waukegan Mayor Wayne Motley announced at a City Council meeting on Monday that Robert Kerkorian resigned after a series of reports indicating he was in the Navy from August 1986 to February 1987, but was not listed in the database of SEALs or servicemen who entered a program at the core of that elite unit’s training.
Kerkorian, who will return to his former rank of commander, said nothing publicly for nearly a month amid calls for an explanation. Motley said the matter was "not relevant to his employment as chief."
Mark Pleasant, a former Lake County prosecutor’s office investigator who called for an investigation into Kerkorian's claims, said outside the council meeting on Monday that SEALs and other special operations veterans have earned their revered place in military lore and "that place is not to be trespassed upon."
Kerkorian — the second Waukegan police chief to be removed from office amid controversy in less than two months — was not at the meeting and could not be reached for comment.
In May, Motley appointed Kerkorian and demoted prior chief Daniel Greathouse following comments Greathousemade about three city officers who have committed suicide since May 2011. Earlier this year, Greathouse sent an internal email telling grieving colleagues, "These suicides were about personal choices, selfishness and weakness."
Kerkorian, meanwhile, acknowledged in a statement that he did "misrepresent" his service during "idle banter." He admitted to falsely claiming involvement in military actions and acknowledged he tried to deflect questions about the issue.
Kerkorian has insisted that calling himself a "SEAL trainee" was accurate, adding that he was "selected for SEAL training," had a "pre-indoctrination class" and was sent to a California base where SEALs train. Navy records confirm he was sent to that base. But the chief acknowledged he never entered Basic Underwater Demolition School/SEAL training, or BUD/S — the core of SEAL training, one Navy official said.
Kerkorian said he was discharged from the Navy "under honorable conditions" after his "refusal to discuss matters involving nonmilitary family members" that he felt weren't related to his service. Military records provide little explanation of his discharge.
Deputy Chief Wayne Walles will now take over as interim chief as a replacement is sought, the newspaper reports.