The head of the Navy’s college for future leaders is under investigation—and the charges include keeping a margarita machine in his office, according to a report Friday.
The Navy confirmed to The Associated Press this week that it has received multiple complaints about Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley’s behavior as president of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island’s summer playground for the rich.
Harley reportedly sent a series of eyebrow-raising emails to students, faculty and staff offering “free hugs” and games of Twister in his office.
The Navy’s Inspector General is investigating allegations that Harley spent excessively, abused his hiring authority and otherwise behaved inappropriately.
“We do not comment on ongoing investigations,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Christina Sears said.
The staffers who complained about the margarita machine alleged that Harley keeps it in his office, and that “he moves the machine to suit his mood,” sometimes to a dining area for school leaders.
“He has invited members of the staff to his office for afternoon drinks, setting his employees up to either comply because he’s the boss or uncomfortably decline his offer because they do not want to drink during the workday,” the staffers said in their complaint, according to The AP.
In an email sent May 12, Harley boasted about a new portrait of himself, painted on velvet. He attached photos showing the picture hanging in a campus building among those of other college presidents, The AP reported.
“He preferred cats, Star Trek, red wine, baseball and was positively obsessed with achieving the perfect hair day,” according to a label Harley said he mounted with the picture.
Harley, who is bald, said the portrait was made by a professor who paid for it himself and gave it to Harley as a joke. He called it a way to poke fun of himself.
Harley defended the emails said in a statement to Fox News Friday.
“My approach is to develop an inclusive, light-hearted environment," he said. "I have a quirky sense of humor. Making references to pop-culture and saying light-hearted remarks pulls people in to read my emails. My point is to make an impact on a student body that is under intense pressure of paper deadlines and the weight of heavy reading loads.”
Cmdr. Gary Ross, public affairs officer said Friday that "it would be inappropriate for us to comment on an ongoing investigation" being conducted by the IG.
Previously, Harley declined Wednesday to answer questions about his use of a margarita machine — and sent a campus-wide email downplaying the complaints, saying they were from “a few individuals.”
“All the decisions questioned in the allegations were subject to legal review either before or after the fact, and I believe that all of my decisions are within my authorities,” Harley wrote.
Last month in an interview with The AP he blamed the college's fiscal strain on the Navy not fully funding new missions the college takes on and said the emails merely reflected his light-hearted leadership style.
He said he does not own the contortion-inducing Twister game, according to The AP.