The former chief of staff for the Maine Army National Guard was investigated internally in 2014 and found to have violated several military code and federal employment regulations, including using his rank and title to accept paid speaking engagements, according to an Army report obtained by the Portland Press Herald.

Col. Jack Mosher also was paid $500 at least once to speak, ran in the Boston Marathon while on duty and directed the public affairs office to promote the event, and had 16 days of absence that went unaccounted for from 2009 to 2014, the report said.

Mosher called the report by the Army Office of the Inspector General a “malicious work of fiction” that runs counter to 22 years of exemplary evaluation reports. He said the investigation was initiated by his former commanding officer, Brig. Gen. James Campbell, not long after Campbell had come under fire for his efforts to swap the Guard’s 133rd Engineer Battalion for an infantry unit, and Mosher believes it was retribution by a “paranoid” leader.

“I was never interviewed, never allowed to speak in my own defense,” Mosher said in a lengthy interview Monday.

The investigation into Mosher, who played a key role in Campbell’s plan to swap the 133rd, illuminates the tense relationships at the highest levels of the Maine Guard and offers insight into the toxic environment that developed within the force when his intentions were made public. Campbell’s plan met with heavy criticism from guard veterans and community leaders across the state, who often relied on the engineering battalion for assistance with civic projects or responding to severe weather and other emergencies.

Campbell, whose leadership style as adjutant general polarized those who served under him, was fired by Gov. Paul LePage on March 24 for misleading the public about his intentions to remake the battalion.

Mosher retired about two months later and has not been disciplined as a result of the investigation, although the report indicates that the Army’s vice chief of staff “will take action he deems appropriate.” A cut to Mosher’s military retirement benefits is among the possible punishments.

Maj. Norman Stickney, public affairs officer for the Maine Army National Guard, said that because Mosher was considered a senior official, any discipline would be handled at the national level.

“The fact that the vice chief of staff of the Army has inserted himself and communicated that they will take action signals the seriousness that the U.S. Army and the Maine National Guard take instances of misconduct,” Stickney said.

Mosher said he didn’t even learn the details of his investigation until last week, one day before the report was released to the Press Herald under the Freedom of Information Act, and he is now in the process of responding to the report.

He’s confident that he’ll be vindicated.

“Most of the things that are in that (investigative) report are things that were never mentioned as a problem and I was never trying to hide any of it,” Mosher said, adding that it was riddled with “failures of due process and bias.”

Stephen Smith, an Augusta attorney, former judge advocate general prosecutor in the Maine National Guard and a veteran of service in Afghanistan, called the allegations against Mosher “serious,” especially for an officer at the colonel level.

But Smith also said it was difficult to evaluate the report without access to other investigative materials, which are not a part of the public record released to the newspaper under its FOIA request.

“I do think (Mosher) should have been offered the opportunity to respond and, based on what I’ve seen, it doesn’t appear he was given that,” Smith said.

FINDINGS OF THE INVESTIGATION

Campbell ordered the investigation into his chief of staff on Aug. 18, 2014. That was less than four months after news leaked that the general had begun to put into motion his plan to send the storied 133rd Engineer Battalion out of state in exchange for an infantry unit. The Press Herald submitted a FOIA request in February for the investigative report on Mosher, but didn’t receive it until last week, more than nine months later.

Mosher knew that Campbell had called for the investigation, but he didn’t know why.

“He only told me that it was in response to rumors,” Mosher said.

Campbell, through a spokesman, declined to comment Monday.

About a week after Campbell approved the investigation, Mosher suffered a severe stroke and spent the next 90 days either in the hospital or in bed. The investigative report indicates that Mosher “was initially not asked to provide testimony due to a medical issue and later declined to provide testimony.” Mosher says the first part of that statement is true. He couldn’t testify because he was “relearning how to walk and talk.”

But Mosher said when he returned to light duty after his stroke, he asked Campbell if he could defend himself. Campbell told him no.

By then, the investigation had been completed. Because Mosher was a senior officer, it was conducted by someone outside the Maine National Guard and was overseen by the Department of Army Inspector General.

The investigator, Brig. Gen. Brian Balfe of the New York National Guard, spent about one month and interviewed 17 people, finding seven separate violations of military policies or federal employment regulations for, among other things, misusing government resources and using his rank and title for personal gain.

Specifically, Balfe found that Mosher:

Used his military position to “create the implication” that the Maine National Guard endorsed his private businesses, including Maine Lobster S.A., which exports fresh lobster to Central America; and SteamVita, a line of food preparation devices Mosher says he invented.

Improperly accepted payment for a speaking engagement while on duty and improperly used government employees to manage his personal speaking schedule.

Misused government resources to cover his personal activities at the Boston Marathon, violated travel regulations by traveling to and running the Boston Marathon with no legitimate government purpose, indicated he was meeting with Guard counterparts in Massachusetts even though no evidence supports that he did, in fact, meet.

Missed a week of duty while serving as a chaperone for his son’s school field trip and claimed he didn’t need approved leave because it counted as professional development. He later submitted a leave request after he was questioned.

Was absent without leave for 38 days from August 2009 to August 2014 and could not account for 16 of those days. Records from the Beach to Beacon 10K road race and the Guard’s drill schedule reflected that Mosher was absent for a day of drills to run the race in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014.

A DECORATED OFFICER

Mosher doesn’t deny that he regularly accepted speaking engagements, but said he was encouraged to do so. He shared an officer evaluation report in which Campbell highlighted Mosher’s acumen as a public speaker.

As for the Boston Marathon allegations, Mosher, an avid distance runner before his stroke, said he ran in the event to bring awareness to suicide among veterans and said the public affairs officer came along to highlight that, not him. He said several other Maine guardsmen traveled to Boston as well and he never told anyone he was meeting with Massachusetts counterparts.

In June and July of 2014, Mosher was featured prominently in a Guard publication for his marathon appearance. Later, that appearance was featured prominently in the investigation of his activities.

Mosher disputed the claims that he was AWOL for several days. He said it’s possible that he missed filing paperwork, but never with malicious intent. He was working 80-100 hours a week, he said, and caring for his two sons by himself. His wife took her life in 2013 after a long battle with mental illness.

Mosher is a highly decorated military officer with more than two decades of service in the Maine National Guard. His commendations include: three meritorious service medals, two Bronze Stars and the Legion of Merit, one of the top awards an Army officer can receive.

In 2013, he was elevated to the position of chief of staff by Campbell, who had been appointed by LePage as adjutant general a year earlier.

Mosher said, in hindsight, he wishes he never took the job as Campbell’s top colonel. He said the now-dismissed general was unpleasant to work for and created a caustic environment throughout Camp Keyes, the Guard’s headquarters in Augusta.

“He questioned people’s loyalty and complained if we weren’t doing enough to ‘carry his water,’ ” Mosher said.

Mosher also questioned the way his investigation was handled. He said Campbell, in violation of military policy, selected his own investigator rather than allowing the Army’s inspector general to appoint someone. He also said Campbell had tried to get him to retire before the investigation and he feared that Campbell would try to use him as a “fall guy” for the 133rd mess.

In practical terms, Mosher cannot be sanctioned since he already has retired.

But Stickney, the Maine National Guard spokesman, said retirement does not always preclude any discipline.

“There are courses of action available post-retirement, such as a grade determination board, which may effectively decrease the money earned during a retirement,” he said, adding that the Maine Guard would not be privy to any of those actions.

Mosher, though, said he’s less concerned about that and more concerned with saving his reputation and his name.

“The Maine National Guard has given me everything,” he said.