Lanark — It is with great sadness we bring you this local American hero story gone horribly awry. In a case that began in 2013 alleging an old-fashioned “pay-to-play” scheme to overcharge U.S. warships hundreds of millions of dollars for essential services (providing tugboats, food, fuel and fresh water) in exchange for “tipping off” co-conspirator Leonard “Fat Leonard” Francis, a Navy investigations special agent and the CEO of a private defense company, Misiewicz is the eighth to plead guilty among 11 other defendants in the case that is brought against him.
Misiewicz, who managed operations on the Blue Ridge, flagship of the Seventh Fleet, was accused of diverting ships to numerous Southeast Asian ports owned by Francis’ company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, in exchange for luxury hotel rooms, travel expenses and prostitutes. The company provides trash removal, security and water and other services to visiting ships.
Misiewicz was initially charged in September 2013 and was indicted in January on charges of bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery. The accusations that unfolded in a federal court case in San Diego signaled serious national security breaches and corruption, setting off high-level meetings at the Pentagon, including those of higher ranks.
Misiewicz and Francis navigated Navy vessels around like a board game, diverting aircraft carriers, destroyers and other ships to ports of call in Singapore and Thailand where security measures were lax and where Francis could inflate costs. The firm overcharged the Navy millions for fuel, food and other services it provided, and invented tariffs by using phony port authorities. For example, when the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln tied up at Laem Chabang, Thailand in 2012, American taxpayers were over-charged by a cool $500,000. The company was alleged to have milked the Navy out of $10 million in just one year in Thailand alone.
According to the indictment, on Aug. 27, 2011, Misiewicz emailed Francis that the John C. Stennis was adding a day to its port in Port Klang, Malaysia, stating: “See you ask — I deliver! LoL!” In other emails, “Should I ask more guys from the office if they want to go to Lady Gaga concert? Thanks!” Misiewicz wrote.
Allegations were laid out that documents Misiewicz passed to Francis were classified or confidential, saying lists of anticipated port visits were scrubbed of secret information and given “not to an unknown entity, but to a contractor who had been entrusted with providing ship and crew security for Navy port visits in the region, ensuring the safety and quality of life for countless sailors and Marines, for more than 25 years.
Misiewicz is a Cambodian-born “Killing Fields” survivor who fled his war-torn native land for freedom when a Freeport, Illinois woman brought him to the United States. The Freeport woman was a female U.S. Embassy worker in Phnom Penh.
In 1992 Misiewicz graduated from the Naval Academy and was reunited 37 years later with his Cambodian family members. His father and a younger sister were slaughtered by the Communist Khmer Rouge in the 1970’s, but the officer’s aged mother and other siblings who survived the reign of terror were waiting at the port of Sihanoukville, when the warship he was on paid a visit. His homecoming was widely covered by international media.
Misiewicz was a star of the conference champion Lanark varsity football team that went 9-0. He came back as a celebrity to give a Memorial Day address three years ago. Misiewicz is married and has children also with a Lanark girl and he graduated in 1986 from Lanark High.
On Thursday, in one of the military’s greatest falls from grace, Misiewicz, the Cambodian-born survivor who went from the small town of Lanark, Illinois to commanding Naval ships and working at the Pentagon for the director of naval operations will plead guilty in a case that alleges he traded military secrets for prostitutes, luxury travel arrangements and tickets to a Lady Gaga concert.
Mark Adams, a lawyer for Misiewicz, said after Thursday’s hearing that his client has accepted responsibility for his actions from the beginning of the case. “He is extremely sorry for the harm he has caused to his family, the United States Navy and this great country,”
The case is U.S. v. Misiewicz, 15-cr-00033, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (San Diego).