Waukegan chief: I 'misrepresented' Navy service

Waukegan Police Chief Robert Kerkorian acknowledged late Friday that he “misrepresented” his Navy service in conversations with a colleague in 1999 and “indicated that I was involved in military actions which I was not.”

The admission came after the Tribune revealed this month that, while Kerkorian had described himself as a “Navy SEAL trainee” in his 1987 application with the Waukegan Police Department, he did not receive formal SEAL training during his six-month stint in the Navy, according to military records.

In a prepared statement released Friday evening, Kerkorian called his 1999 comments “nothing more than idol [sic] banter with another officer and not a part of my officials duties.” But he said he was “wrong” to have made the false statements.

“I accept full responsibility for statements that I made to my fellow officer which were not true and indicated that I was involved in military actions which I was not,” Kerkorian said.

Newly elected Mayor Wayne Motley, a former Waukegan police officer, tapped Kerkorian to lead the department in May. Motley has called Kerkorian “a very great friend.”

Kerkorian said Friday he had not informed Motley about the embellished statements he made to another colleague in 1999 “and I apologize to the mayor for my failure to share this information.”

The chief went on to say: “I want to stress that at no time did I ever represent on an application or official document that I was a Navy SEAL or was involved in combat.”

Kerkorian said in his statement that he was selected for SEAL training during his stint in the Navy, which records show lasted for six months, from summer 1986 to early 1987. But he acknowledges that he never entered Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, called BUD/S, which military officials said is the core of SEAL training.

Motley said earlier this week, prior to the release of Kerkorian’s statement, that he was looking into what Kerkorian has said about his military service. Motley has previously said that he supports Kerkorian and “there’s absolutely no question in my mind as to whether he’s qualified” to be chief.

dhinkel@tribune.com

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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