General William “Kip” Ward (pictured), who was once the head of the U.S. Africa Command, has been demoted for spending lavishly on travel and other unauthorized purchases that amount to $82,000 the Pentagon said Tuesday, reports the New York Daily News.
Ward was stripped by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta of one of his four stars, which means that he will be relegated to the status of a three-star lieutenant-general when he retires. As far as his retirement salary is concerned, Ward, who would have made $236,650 as a four-star general, will receive a cut in pay of $30,000 for his demotion. He is also ordered to repay the feds the monies that he reportedly squandered.
Watch news coverage of Ward’s demotion here:
The case involving Ward comes on the heels of the recent scandals that have rocked the military with regards to their higher-up officers. Retired Army General David Petraeus resigned as CIA director because of an extramarital affair and Marine General John Allen was being investigated for potentially improper communications with a woman.
A Defense Department report detailed Ward’s spending habits at length, such as using military vehicles to take his wife, Joyce, on shopping jaunts and spa appointments and taking trips to Bermuda, with ritzy hotel stays in suites for not only he and his spouse but for staff members as well that cost $750 a night. When Ward, who started in the Army’s Infantry 41 years ago, would travel to the nation’s capitol, he would utilize a motorcade of at least five vehicles.
The report also stated that Ward accepted dinner and tickets to a Broadway performance from a government contractor where he got to hobnob backstage with actor Denzel Washington.
Ward’s overseas trips were usually extended and oftentimes personal. On his trips here and abroad, he was usually accompanied by Joyce and her expenses were billed to the government even though they were unauthorized and she rarely conducted official business.
Reportedly, Ward defended many of the allegations but after further investigation, records and statements were unearthed that contradicted his defense.
In a statement issued by Ward via a spokesperson, the 63-year-old says he was “not perfect … [but] has never been motivated by personal gain.”