"Slush fund" a factor in USNA supe’s exit

<p>‘Slush fund’ a factor in USNA supe’s exit</p>

<p>By Andrew Tilghman - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Jun 29, 2010 9:27:49 EDT</p>

<p>‘Slush</a> fund’ a factor in USNA supe’s exit - MarineCorpsTimes.com</p>

<p>A sprawling financial scandal at the Naval Academy — involving extravagant parties and a “slush fund” — was an embarrassment that helped lead to an early exit for the school’s superintendent, Navy Times has learned.</p>

<p>Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler faced “administrative action” in April as a result of a year-long Naval Inspector General’s investigation, said Rear Adm. Denny Moynihan, the Navy’s top spokesman.</p>

<p>Personally, I think he should be fired for depriving 2013 of their Herndon climb.</p>

<p>But that's just me.</p>

<p>He's done much of the dirty work he was called to do. Slush funding things, even those in need of doing, is out of line. Along with Al Gore's pecadillos, Barney Frank's plan to whack the military (especially the USN) by a $trillion or 3, and a bunch of other political snaffoos, you gotta wonder what the Admiral was thinking. Over-sized egoes and power trips can lead to self-delusion and eventual troubles, it seems. </p>

<p>Unlike the recently departed 'dant, won't be many tears shed for his superior's departure. Here's hoping the next one has a firm handshake.</p>

<p>
[quote]
"It started in April 2007 when $95,000 in corporate sponsorship money raised for Navy's appearance in the 2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl football game was placed into a newly created contingency fund.</p>

<p>Over the next two years, Naval Academy administrators deposited an additional $200,000 in bowl game sponsorship money into the account, tapping it to pay for "invitation-only" tailgate parties, several catered receptions and $863 in necktie gifts for football coaches.</p>

<p>But this off-the-books "slush fund" never should have been created, according to a newly released report from the Office of the Naval Inspector General. The report concluded that the expenditures, some of them "extravagant and wasteful," did nothing for the intended beneficiaries — the academy's midshipmen."

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Shameful. Fowler's departure cannot come soon enough.</p>

<p>The extravagant spending on fat-cat alumni to keep those Blue & Gold dollars flowing into the D1 football program is disgraceful. Fowler forgot the mission is not football, and proved it by retaining drug using players (as long as they gained 7.1 yards per carry) and tailgate parties on the scale of Ohio State, Florida, and Southern Cal.</p>

<p>Let's spend millions on lobster and champagne tailgates to entertain our largest donators, and let the Mids eat cod dogs and hamburger buns for breakfast. :rolleyes:</p>

<p>Fowler's disgraceful legacy grows yet again.</p>

<p>While I'm not a fan of his personna or many of his professional decisions @ USNA, "shameful" strikes me as a bit strong. </p>

<p>Frankly, USNA needs to spend way more resource on courting "fat-cat alumni" (and others who love USNA and it's legacy.) Admiral Supe's spending is a pittance compared to what is devoted (and consequently returned/invested by the courtees) to developing and funding the place. The monetary thing here is peanuts. It's the way he chose to do it, creating an account to which he did not need account. It's not what he spent it on. </p>

<p>USNA likes to beat it's institutional chest about its fund-raising. It's in the minor leagues of where it should be, AA level maybe. And the reason for that is amateurish efforts by way too many staff in the Assn. who are playing in the sandbox. They need to get big-time serious, and I suspect, to his real credit, Fowler recognized this problem along with the need to really upgrade King, the museum, the crew house and a whole bunch more. It was pretty and very austere and out of date. Take a really good look sometime @ Bancroft. That's next.</p>

<p>However, before you go shooting at USNA on this one Lou, take a look at your own favored institution, USGAA. It looks like a sorely dated, run-down boarding school with one modestly attactive ...and antiquated facade building. And maybe start at the library. Honestly, I've seen elementary school libraries with more resources and better facilities than that.</p>

<p>And why? Because of thinking like yours. No place for lobster there. And you know, they're sipping Campbell's manhattan clam chowder outta the can as a result. Your arguments on this one don't hold a drop of water. And if USNA is playing in AA fund-raising league? USCGA is in little league.</p>

<p>Back on point ...as most Mids'll tell you, I'm suspicious, none really care about his presence or his departure. But shameful? No way. Simply a significant error in judgement, like you and I've never made. Right? ;)</p>

<p>USCGA is severely underfunded (as is USMMA). You should see the "needs list" to see how many things and how much money is needed.</p>

<p>It has everything to do with the budget source - i.e - they are non DOD entities, they are much smaller, their funding is an afterthought.</p>

<p>It has nothing to do with fat-cat donators who support the football teams. (And it has clearly been proved by the IG's report that whatever donations come from their "big league" funding efforts from football tailgating - these monies do nothing to benefit the Mids or the facilities - they benefit the alumi and the football coaches.)</p>

<p>USNA is getting almost $1 million dollars this year to bring its football team to South Carolina. Is that money being used to benefit the Mids? Doubtful, as shown from Fowler's slush fund, it was and will be used for everything but.</p>

<p>USCGA run down? I would disagree with that, I was just there and saw no evidence of a "run down boarding school" or "antiquated facades" although there are certainly areas that need funding to be improved. </p>

<p>However, I've been inside Bancroft (this year) and saw more roaches and evidence of rodent infestation than I cared to count. I've heard the horror stories about the food and the food prep areas - I wonder how much those millions spent from a tailgating slush fund could have improved daily life for the Mids.</p>

<p>Funding an essential part of an academy such as a library shouldn't have to come from donations, it should come right from the US Government. </p>

<p>Leave big-time football tailgating to the schools that use football as their primary goal - Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Miami, etc - let's see USNA remember that the mission is not to produce a winning D1 football team but to produce officers with honor and character.</p>

<p>


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<p>The "shameful" comes from his decision to retain a D1 football player (with numerous conduct violations and over 300+ demerits) who tests positive for drug use, because of his value (7.1 yards per carry) to the D1 football team.</p>

<p>WP: You know by now that Lou seeks to publicize every negaytive aspect of NA that he can find, for reasons known only to him, while conveniently ignoring CGA shortcomings. Your comments above are probably accurate. The problem is that these Admirals/Generals are thrust into situations for which they are poorly trained. </p>

<p>Consider the number of commanding generals that have cycled through Afghanistan in the past decade; in part, it is because they are being asked to perform functions--non-military, nation-building, diplomatic functions--for which they do not have sufficient training. The same could be said of Academy Supts. Administering a modern educaitonal institution is not the same as commanding a sub fleet.<br>
Fowler--terrible though he was at interacting with mids (and their families)--has done a good job of upgrading facilities and keeping NA "relevant" to today. [Hard to say the same, for example, of the Merchant Marine Academy and, it sounds, to some the degree the CGA.] </p>

<p>I just had a kid come back from a NA camp; she will likely be able to attend any school she wants. She had many good things to say about the Academy, BUT she noted: the poor food. Now, is that any reason to choose a school? No; but kids today want a moderan facility w/ excellent instructors. They want to feel the "college" expereince, even at an Academy. They want wireless. They are willing to give up much of what their peers are experiencing, but girls just want to have fun. Even at an academy. If that means ECAs, traveling opportunities, sports, etc., etc., etc.. Then that is what it will take to attract [and keep] intelligent, diverse, committed students.</p>

<p>Am in favor of the "favored" class being feted w/ lobster and champagne while I struggle to find a parking place? No. But, its the American way. Just follow the law, account properly for the funds, and let's keep on, keeping on.</p>

<p>


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<p>Hey Bill, here's a news flash for ya - I don't make 'em up. </p>

<p>They are stories already in the news media. If you have something negative from some news article about USCGA or USMMA, post it. If they happen, I post them, in no way do I ignore ANY of the academies when their leadership fails to remember the mission. </p>

<p>Last year, there was a drug scandal at USCGA, 9 cadets were expelled. Their athletics department financial manager was stealing money from the cadet athletic fund and gambling it at Mohegan SUn, then he shot himself int he head in the parking lot of Leamy Hall. I posted about both issues. </p>

<p>So you're argument about "ignoring" CGA shortcomings is just another red herring to deflect the attention from where it should be (on Fowler's mismanagement and secret slush funds) to me. Nice try.</p>

<p>


You don't? You seem to be blaming Admiral Fowler solely for a slush fund that was created prior to his arrival at USNA.</p>

<p>As someone associated with a major University, I personally do not see much wrong with the expenditures that Admiral Fowler approved. What does seem to be the problem here is the fact that in April of 2007 - before ADM Fowler's tenure - a fund was established outside of the normal government accounting proceedures.</p>

<p>
[quote]
The fund was created in April 2007, using about $95,000 of corporate sponsorship money that the academy received for participation in the 2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl football game, the IG report said.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>What is never stated publicly was how much money was from public sources. Again not knowing the terms of the corporate sponsorship donation none of us have the ability to know if it was wrong as the donor may have stipulated that the money could be used for entertainment, or purchasing a trailer for the Football team or renovating the O club.</p>

<p>
[quote]
“I don’t know the technicalities, but the concept of us doing special things for the people who work here in my mind is not a bad thing,” Fowler told the IG investigators.

[/quote]
Agree but he should have "spread the wealth" and included students, active duty personnel assigned to the academy and "other" civilian employees. Is that really that significant to relieve his command? </p>

<p>
[quote]
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.</p>

<p>Washington Examiner: Probe</a> helped curtail Naval Academy head's tenure | Washington Examiner

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Most, if not all University presidents have monies budgeted for the types of expenditures. Typically the money does come from corporate or private donation through a foundation. Why is this case the improper fund was run through the Naval Academy Business Services Division is a mystery but again none of us will every know why ADM Rempt set it up that way. Bottom line - ADM Fowler was responsible for it's existence and should have rectified the accounting improprieties. </p>

<p>3.7 million for the recruiting videos - that we got taken on! If those "Destiny" spots cost 3.7 to create we are all in the wrong business!</p>

<p>


</p>

<p>No, not solely. The conclusion of the IG is that Fowler's slush fund played a part in his termination as Supe. </p>

<p>What I blame Fowler for is the lack of accountability that he allowed and perpetuated, choosing football wins (and drug-using 7.1 yards per carry) over honor and character.</p>

<p>^^^we get it.</p>

<p>What is sad is that the good work that WAS done will be marred by the comic strips, videos, color guard, curry, tailgates, etc. As Bill pointed out, poor communication skills have not endeared him to brigade and parents, but I suppose that is not high on his list of priorities. Once again the pendulum swings.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Funding an essential part of an academy such as a library shouldn't have to come from donations, it should come right from the US Government.

[/quote]

one would think so but it doesn't work that way. The US Government did not build Jefferson Hall, that beautiful new library at West Point. That was funded by donations.
Tax dollars pay for the tuition. Most facilities, even significant academic upgrades are funded by donations.</p>

<p>It's not the expenses that are the problems here. It is the fact that there was an account 'off the books' and not available to a government auditor. It could be that Adm Fowler was unaware it was off the books but he <em>should</em> have known.
Clearly his people did know and they were reprimanded.</p>

<p>Your view of his tenure would seem to be much more rosie-colored than most and mine. He did what he was told, but his leadership skills which go way beyond mere communication were never much apparent. An aloof cold fish, maybe too much time in the deep, dark depths of a submarine. The obvious is that he sought to make his mark absent of investing in his Brigade charges. Let's hope his next stop is neither a college presidency, selling soap, nor Walmart greeter.</p>

<p>The good news in all of this is that as perspective reveals, beyond minor reparable glitches and momentary events, these are quickly forgotten and more quickly replaced. For the boots on the Yard, it's mostly hygenic.</p>

<p>Whether it was his vision or orders from the top, he did substantially enhance the Yard facilities and aesthetics and established and implemented an enhanced dual admissions track. And he hired an obviously, darn good football coach whose impact will long outlast his. And in one respect, that is the definition of a leader. </p>

<p>Ironically, the thing that got the Supe fired, and the notion that Lou astutely avoids and bemoans and blames USCGA's austerity plan on too few public bucks ...raising private $$ ...is in sore need of investment and improvement. With the alumni, friends, corporations, and national base available to them, their efforts are relatively unimpressive. Fowler got that, and simply sought to resolve it in a way his culture had little understanding or appreciation of its value.</p>

<p>btw, at neither USNA nor USMA ...there is no tuition. Nor do private donations pay for "most facilities." Make that "some" or "occasional." Not a chance. And even at USMA, the library only partially funded by taxable donations.</p>

<p>


</p>

<p>Most? Perhaps, but its not a rule or law.</p>

<p><a href="https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=051d0c1538358498858c54b7e1b8f97b&tab=core&_cview=1%5B/url%5D"&gt;https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=051d0c1538358498858c54b7e1b8f97b&tab=core&_cview=1&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>^
Barracks, sure. That is probably particall coming from the cadets BAH accounts. The military provides housing for their servicemen and women. Some is good, some bad and occassionally they upgrade.</p>

<p>You probably are not going to get the DOT to fund a new archtecturally beautiful classroom building regardless of the need. Some, if not all is going to have to come from donations.
Donations at the service academies are a fact of life. The Superintendent's need to spend a significant amount of time courting those donations, much like the President of any college.
Yes, you have to spend money to make money.</p>

<p>The first thought that crossed my mind when I saw this in the news was - I wonder how long it will take "bash USNA at every opportunity Luigi" to post this. Has anyone been able to figure out what his beef with USNA is?</p>

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<p>How ignorant you are. News about poor leadership, poor cadets/mids, crimes occuring at an academy - no matter WHICH academy, are fair game and should be discussed.</p>

<p>The fact that USNA seems to be in the news for a lot for "bad" things isn't my doing. They must be doing more "bad" things. I have no "beef" with the USNA, it is one of the finest institutions in the world. My "beef" is with the poor quality of leadership that has been there for about 3 years.</p>

<p>If you've got some "stuff" to post about another academy that you seem to think I'm ignoring, post it.</p>

<p>Otherwise, your comment has no basis in fact, and is irrelevant.</p>

<p>The poor leadership of Jeff Fowler at USNA cannot and should not be forgotten.</p>

<p>The "off the books" slush fund is just the latest example,</p>

<p>
[quote]
How ignorant you are

[/quote]

tsk tsk Luigi. Name calling is not appropriate here. </p>

<p>This is his opinion and it's pretty common around here. You can spin it anyway you want but you go out of your way to post EVERYTHING negative about the Naval Academy, passing judgement along the way.</p>

<p>When one's first thought -based on past practice is:
[quote]
I wonder how long it will take "bash USNA at every opportunity Luigi" to post this

[/quote]

It is not far to question:

[quote]
Has anyone been able to figure out what his beef with USNA is?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>People do not normally go out of their way to look for the negatives when they don't have a personal interest. You rarely post anything negative about some other SA's.</p>