“Fat Leonard” is the most shocking unknown tale of our era: Leonard Francis, a 350-pound defense contractor, bribed U.S. Navy officers with cash, prostitutes and luxury items in return for fraudulent multi-million-dollar deals. Eventually the NCIS set up an off-the-books operation to entrap Leonard. As details of his fraud became clear, the Navy moved to protect its senior ranks. In “Fat Leonard,” the debut podcast from Project Brazen (the content studio created by “Billion Dollar Whale” co-authors and former Wall Street Journal reporters Bradley Hope and Tom Wright), Leonard himself, detained since 2013, is talking for the first time -- and he’s angry. Host Tom Wright has spent hours with Leonard, but also recording scores of other voices, including the brave women who exposed the fraud. The alarming and sordid details in “Fat Leonard” lay bare the misogyny and sexual abuse that persist in the U.S. military and could destabilize the biggest trials yet of Navy officers in this case, set to begin in 2022. “Fat Leonard” will change the way you look at the Navy forever.
With Leonard in jail, the Navy investigates hundreds of officers. But they spare top admirals. Tom’s relationship with Leonard reaches breaking point. A major trial of U.S. Navy officers is set to start in February. Watch out for bonus episodes.
Beaten and angry, Marcy Misiewicz makes a decision that will bring down Leonard, and her husband along with him.
A cocksure Navy officer called David Schaus takes on Leonard. He’s joined by a principled Navy supply official called Teresa Kelly. Finally, they force Navy admirals, who for years have given him cover, to take Leonard’s fraud seriously.
Leonard’s cruel treatment of his Filipina girlfriend, Morena De Jesus, and their children together, exposes his dark side. A fraught relationship with his own father could hold the key to understanding Leonard.
Michael Misiewicz was a rising star in the Navy before Leonard corrupts him with prostitutes, cash and free travel. We see the descent of one officer into graft and violence through the voice of his wife, Marcy Misiewicz.
How Leonard buys his own warship, the Braveheart, complete with a mercenary army, and deploys it to help fight Al Qaeda. He secretly records orgies with Navy officers, causing one of the U.S.’s worst ever national security breaches.
I remember reading in LATimes as this was first coming to light so long ago. It’s astonishing that it’s stiil not resolved, esp with all the doctored paperwork, the texts and emails plus, now, Fat Leonard’s own voice for us to hear.
The lower ranks get punished but not admirals who ok’d it all then allowed to retire with full pension. Like politics, rewarding wrong ppl.
So all Fat Leonard’s compromat on navy bigwigs
Axe to Grind
I really wanted to like the podcast because Fat Leonard is a story that deserves solid reporting. But by the second episode the narrator is drawing a line between the 30 year old Tailhook scandal and Fat Leonard. By the fifth episode, he drops this doozy of a line:
“For years she endured the indignities of a Navy wife. A cheating husband who was never around, domestic abuse, and an institution who cared more for operational tempo than the security of her family.”
To broad stroke the actions of an abusive spouse with the entire culture of the United States Navy was my breaking point. Throughout the first four episodes he tries to create a narrative that the Navy is a corrupt institution, rotten to the core.
It’s very clear to me that the narrator has an axe to grind with the Navy, and he’s letting his agenda color his reporting.
Kudos to all involved in making this pod. I throughly enjoyed it.