February 2007 was a banner month for
It included lavish dinners across the capitals of Asia, sex parties with prostitutes and, finally, swanky hotel rooms for officers and their wives on post-Valentine's Day vacations — all paid for by Singapore businessman Leonard Francis, the central figure in a bribery case that has ensnared more than a dozen Navy officers serving in Asia.
The alleged details of these escapades and others involving nine high-ranking Navy officers were disclosed a newly unsealed indictment from the U.S. District Court in San Diego.
Francis, who owned a ship-husbanding company used by the Navy around Asia, has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with U.S. prosecutors.
The month started with a seven-course dinner at Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel for a small group of senior officers and their wives.
The debauchery heated up less than a week later, in the sprawling MacArthur Suite at the posh Manila Hotel in the Philippines.
The then-chief of staff for the U.S. Seventh Fleet, Capt. David Newland, was among officers who allegedly participated in a lavish party that included the services of prostitutes, paid for by Francis.
During the bash, historical memorabilia related to Gen. Douglas MacArthur was used by the participants in sexual acts, the indictment says — in one of the most graphic details to come out in what's now a three-year-old continuing case.
What's in the MacArthur Suite?
According to travel bloggers, the suite is a spectacular spread in the historic Manila hotel. It was built as a private home for MacArthur when he was military adviser to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines from 1935 to 1941.
The master bedroom has a huge bed, and the dining room boasts a table for 10. In a study, there's a desk with a portrait of MacArthur above. Other period photographs hang on the walls in frames.
On the desk, a copy of MacArthur's iconic pipe rests on a stand.
One travel blogger wrote in a 2014 review: "A replica of the General's signature corn cob pipe, proudly displayed at the desk. The General's immortal words, a promise of hope and liberation, is written on the stem."
The quote is "I shall return," MacArthur's promise to the Philippines after it fell to the Japanese in March 1942.
The only authentic pieces of furniture in the room are wooden chairs spared from damage during World War II, travel bloggers report.
The federal indictment doesn't say what memorabilia was involved in the Navy sex spree back in 2007.
Despite the court filing, the hotel has issued a statement that it doesn't have any record of U.S. Seventh Fleet officers during the time in question.
These days, if you want to rent the suite it goes for around $3,500 a night.
For these Navy officers, the good times didn't stop at the MacArthur room.
A few days later, some members of the same crew stayed at the five-star Shangri-La resort in Cebu, Philippines, as their ship moved around Asia.
The indictment says that at this hotel, Francis also paid for prostitutes to be delivered to several U.S. Navy officers. On Feb. 14, Newland allegedly sent Francis an email in which he acknowledged: "Thank you for your hospitality in Cebu."
A week later, the party hit Singapore.
This time, at least one officer brought his wife along.
From Feb. 22 to 27, Newland and others stayed at the Singapore Shangri-La, for which Francis footed the $50,000 bill, according to the court filing.
In an email cited in the court filing, Newland told another officer that he and his wife planned to brunch at the historic Raffles Hotel in Singapore and then "shopping, shopping, shopping."
One night the Navy officers ate at the hotel's Blu Restaurant — which is now closed for renovations, but reviews from past years discuss menu items such as foie gras and oysters.
The next night, it was a cocktail reception on a rooftop helipad, then "an extravagant dinner and live entertainment." The indictment says this occurred at the Jaan French restaurant at the Shangri-La. But that restaurant is advertised as being located at Swissôtel The Stamford in Singapore.
Two nights later, it was another meal courtesy of Francis. This time it was at the Shangri-La's Nadaman restaurant, home to fine traditional Japanese cuisine.
In March, the group moved on to the top spots in Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo, where they enjoyed Francis' hospitality when ashore.
Newland, the 7th Fleet chief of staff, made a special request to have fine wines waiting for them, according to the indictment.
In addition to Newland, also recently indicted were Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, Capt. Donald Hornbeck, Capt. James Dolan, Capt. David Lausman, Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Shedd, Cmdr. Mario Herrera and Chief Warrant Officer Robert Gorsuch and Marine Col. Enrico DeGuzman. Some of these officers are now retired.
This group -- most of senior ranks, including captain -- referred to themselves by nicknames such as the Cool Kids, Band of Brothers, the Brotherhood, the Wolfpack, the Familia and the Lion King's Harem, according to prosecutors.
Another nickname was apparently The O6 Ensigns, which would translate to captains who act like the most junior officers.