The Navy commander accused of trading information on ship movements to a foreign defense contractor for perks including Lady Gaga tickets and hookers was once touted in Navy reports as an immigrant rags-to-riches success story.
Commander and Captain-Select Michael Misiewicz, formerly commander of the destroyer class USS Mustin, was arrested early this week in connection to a bribery scheme in which he allegedly gave confidential ship schedules and itineraries to the president of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) – a company that provides in-port services like tugboats, provisions and fuel among other things to large ships in foreign ports. Misiewicz is also accused of using his position both as commander of the Mustin and then as deputy operations officer for the Navy's Seventh Fleet to manipulate or influence port-call decisions to drive business to GDMA. In exchange, prosecutors said the president of GDMA, who was also arrested, "provided Misiewicz with paid travel, luxury hotel stays and prostitution services."
Misiewicz, 46, has not been indicted and has not yet entered a plea in his case, according to an attorney assigned to him. He is currently in custody in Colorado – certainly having come a long way from the rice fields of his native Cambodia, but probably not ending up exactly where he meant when he said three years ago that in America, "Anything is possible."
"You can start anywhere, any place, if you've got freedom and you have opportunity like we have in the U.S., the sky is the limit," Misiewicz said in a Navy profile written in December 2010.
|"When you think about all the things that could've gone wrong..."|
That article was one in a series produced by the Navy to celebrate the Mustin's 2010 visit to Cambodia, marking the first time Misiewicz had been to his homeland in 37 years.
"I've been thinking about this visit a lot and thinking about all the emotions I will have to cope with about returning to the country I was born in and seeing relatives that have wanted to see me for so long," he said then, according to the Navy. "Both Cambodians and Americans in my young life sacrificed life and happiness so I could have a better life. So now I am very happy and proud to lead a mission that serves to develop a positive and persistent relationship between the U.S. and Cambodia…"
Misiewicz made the comments just weeks after he first came in contact with an unidentified associate of GDMA's President, Malaysian citizen Leonard Francis, and the same month Misiewicz attended The Lion King with four members of his family and the associate in Tokyo, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday. The complaint alleges Misiewicz would grow so close to Francis over the next couple years that he began to refer to Francis as "Big Brother" in emails.