Ex-Navy Lube Buyer in Hot Water

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Leslie Doggett Jr., a former civilian manager in charge of purchasing various supplies — including industrial lubricants, degreasers and other chemicals — for the Naval Air Station in Norfolk, Va., pleaded guilty recently to accepting bribes worth more than $34,000 from an unnamed vendor.

According to court documents filed May 29 in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, in November 2006 the undisclosed vendor (a local salesman who is now a cooperating witness in the investigation) began providing Doggett with gifts including college basketball tickets valued at about $3,400 and a Sony Playstation gaming system worth $650, after the two became friends during the course of their employment.

As part of his job, Doggett was responsible for placing orders when a specific product was desired by Navy commands. He was also in charge of stocking a warehouse of commonly used products at the naval station.

By February 2007, Doggett requested that the vendor make a cash contribution to his sons baseball team. The vendor agreed to Doggetts request on condition that Doggett increase his pending order of chemical supplies by approximately $33,000 to $40,000. On Feb. 12 of that year, the report states, Doggett inflated an order of Riptide emulsion degreaser by approximately 275 gallons at a cost of $17,844.75. On the same order, Doggett inflated an order of Real Seal electronic gray sealant by a quantity of 96 units at a cost of $12,808.32.

The salesman made the promised donation to Doggetts sons baseball team, and more kickbacks soon followed. In April, the vendor agreed to pay Doggett a cash payment in the amount of 2.25 percent of the total value of all future orders.

The court report goes on to list 19 incidents – from late 2006 to October 2007 – where Doggett received kickbacks from the vendor totaling $34,192.38 in all, in exchange for placing and inflating orders.

Doggett, however, repeatedly complained that his payments should have been much more, the court documents state.

The Federal Acquisition Regulations, which are guidelines the federal government uses to purchase goods and services, strictly forbid purchasing agents from accepting gifts or bribes, and spell out serious penalties including prison.

Hes absolutely remorseful, Robert Rigney, Doggetts attorney, told Lube Report. He has no criminal record, is a family man and a good citizen. Although he faces the possibility of jail time, all of this will be taken into consideration for leniency.

At this point, Rigney said, Doggett is out on bond and cooperating fully with investigators. He is expected to pay back the $34,000 to the government. Doggetts sentencing will be on Aug. 29.

According to the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, the FBI, Naval and Defense Department criminal investigators indicated the case is part of a larger inquiry into kickbacks among Navy contractors.

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