Naval Academy superintendent's tenure cut short after investigation into wasteful spending

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — An investigation that found wide-ranging misuse of money at the U.S. Naval Academy was a factor in curtailing the tenure of its outgoing superintendent, the Navy's chief spokesman said Monday.

The investigative report released Monday found that an improper, off-the-books slush fund was used to pay for tailgate parties, luncheons and other events for senior academy personnel.

Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler is leaving the academy this summer after serving as superintendent for 3 years, the minimum term required by statute for the post.

"The outcome of this investigation was a factor in him not serving longer," said Navy Rear Adm. Denny Moynihan, the Navy's top spokesman.

Moynihan said Fowler didn't benefit financially from any of the spending.

The Office of the Naval Inspector General's 110-page report concluded that the slush fund used by the Naval Academy Business Services Division was "a sham" with little accountability.

"In this case, there was no accountability, because the fund was unknown to the assigned government auditor and it was held outside of any authorized system of government accounting," the report said.

The report noted that expenditures made from the fund were "extravagant and wasteful." The investigation also concluded that the spending benefited senior academy personnel and family of football coaches, instead of going toward students and the active duty population at the academy.

Moynihan said the review provided a detailed assessment on how the academy could better adhere to regulations.

Fowler issued a statement saying that steps have been taken to fix the problems identified in the investigation.

"It has and remains the Naval Academy's goal to remain responsible stewards of private and public funding," Fowler said.

The report also criticizes the use of $3.7 million to produce recruiting videos with a Los Angeles company. The report said the contracting officer made no effort to determine if the contract was reasonable.

Robert Parsons, the academy's deputy for finance who worked on the deal with the company, was suspended for five days without pay, Moynihan said. Corrective action was taken against another Naval Academy employee, who was not identified, Moynihan said, declining to elaborate because of the person's grade and position at the academy.

The academy had announced this spring that Fowler was being replaced as superintendent after about three years. His replacement takes over this summer.