A top aide to Defense Secretary Ash Carter used his government-issued charge card to pay for personal expenses at a strip club and engaged in "unbecoming" behavior like drinking too much in public.
According to a report released by the Pentagon inspector general on Thursday, Maj. Gen. Ron Lewis, Carter’s former senior military assistant, used his government charge card to pay for hundreds of dollars in personal expenses at clubs in Seoul and Rome last year and also had "improper interactions with females."
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The report provides detailed insight into allegations that got Lewis fired from his high-ranking position last year.
For instance, Lewis went to a club called "Cica Cica Boom" in Rome on an official trip last October and used his government-issued card to pay for nearly $1,800 in expenses at the club, which has signs advertising "sexy show" and "lap dance."
Lewis told investigators that he drank to "more than moderation" at the club and unsuccessfully tried to pay the large bill with his personal credit card. He was then forced to return to his hotel early in the morning with a female club escort and retrieve his government card from a subordinate to pay the expenses.
Records reviewed by investigators also showed that, on official travel last April, Lewis went to the "Candy Bar" club in an area of Seoul commonly referred to as "Hooker Hill" that was largely off-limits to U.S. military personnel. Government charge card receipts showed that Lewis charged more than $1,120 in personal expenses at the club during the trip. He later disputed the charges and got the bank to remove them from his card.
The report also spotlights official trips to Hawaii, Malaysia, and California during which Lewis exhibited poor conduct.
News broke last November that Carter had fired Lewis over allegations of misconduct. The inspector general investigation, first reported by the Associated Press on Thursday , substantiated allegations that Lewis misused his government-issued charge card for personal expenses and made false officials statements about it.
Lewis also "engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman on multiple occasions, which included patronizing an establishment off-limits to U.S. military personnel, drinking to excess in public, and improper interactions with females," investigators found.
Lewis disagreed with the conclusions of the report and criticized the investigation, though the inspector general stood by the findings.
The department’s watchdog has previously investigated the use of government-issued credit cards for personal expenses, including bills racked up at casinos and strip clubs. A report issued in August concluded that the Pentagon reimbursed employees for personal charges on their government cards.