Corrupt Pineda Influence in the Florida Wing

CAP Maj Gen Antonio J. PinedaCAP Maj Gen Antonio J. Pineda

By AuxBeacon News Reader

[Editor’s Note: We received this from a concerned member from the Florida Wing. Thank you for your contribution.]

To give you an idea of how bad the Florida Wing is:

It is a very complex problem of long standing. It would take a full IG team to investigate the politics and back room politics. So much is rumor, that it is hard to determine facts. The problems appear to have started about 20 years ago in the early 1990’s under CAP National Commander, Brig Gen Richard Anderson. Florida had several weak Wing Commanders (compared to previous commanders and the loss of the Wing Air Force Liaison Officers as a moderating influence may be the root cause.

Without the USAF oversight and support, power blocks began in the Wing. Members came out with all kinds of ideas, often sparked by egos and the thought of gaining power/authority. Antonio Jesus Pineda is the perfect example of this. He built a power structure in the Wing that still
exists.

Matt Sharkey as Wing Commander reduced much of the power structure, but was removed as Wing Commander and made Region Commander to allow the Pineda influence to regrow. Joe Martin Senior and Junior were weak Wing Commanders. The Junior one was under the thumb of the Pineda influence and said he was only staying to get the eagles on a permanent basis. (Joe Martin, Sr reverted back to Lt Col after his term).

Dan Levitch was a fairly decent Wing Commander and at the end of his tenure as Wing Commander and SER Commander often took actions opposed to Pineda. Levitch actually distanced himself from Pineda. Pat O’Key as Wing Commander had no clue what was going on in the Wing. During this entire period, the power factors grew with it. It looks like three separate groups in power struggles. Many of the Pineda/Levitch/Martin appointments to Wing Staff still are on staff thus allowing the power base to run the Wing behind the Wing Commander’s back.

I was told that General Amy Courter was aware of the problems in the Wing. But her idea was to let the Wing fix itself. Obviously that hasn’t happened. It is true the power structure has lessened in the past year or two, but it is still strong. An example is the selection of the new Wing Commander Col Cook. He got NO votes from the selection Committee. But Wing politics had Rushing appoint Cook.

Maybe the thought was another vote for James Rushing as National Vice Commander. From all reports, Cook is excellent in ES. But very poor in AE and cadet programs.

The current Wing Director of Cadet Programs is a Pineda/Levitch appointee. Based on my years as Wing DCP or Region DCS CP she does a poor job. She runs cadet activities as a fund raiser. About $40 above the actual costs of an encampment is a profit for Wing CP. Only about six people in Florida Wing know anything about the financial status of the Wing. Finances are completely hidden from the membership. One of the questions that candidates for Wing Commander had to answer prior to the selection committee was on finances. But Wing told candidates that they would not get any information on finances to be able to answer the question.

That is an example of what’s wrong in the Florida Wing. Too much is hidden by the power structure from the membership.

5 Comments on "Corrupt Pineda Influence in the Florida Wing"

  1. Turnover is so fast, that many don’t remember the Col John Tilton affair in our post-Pineda era.

    Tilton was Southeast Region commander when Tony Pineda appointed him to the Board of Governors (BOG) just before Pineda was taken down in August through October 2007. Tilton remained on the BOG for about 2.5 yrs until someone on the staff whispered in Amy Courter’s ear that there was an outstanding IG issue against one of the BOG members. Had to do with missing funds for which Tilton did not and would not account for.

    So this went to the National Executive Committee (NEC), and they voted to terminate Tilton. As a result, Ned Lee moved up. Tilton then appealed to the MARB. The MARB honored the appeal, but this went back to the NEC, which voted to ask the BOG to make a determination. One of the first issues to go before the new BOG. And in their first meeting, they terminated Tilton.

    OK, so that was accomplished (kind of… Carr immediately reinstated him when Courter termed out), but it still left the question of how an IG issue on a BOG member was left open at NHQ for 2.5 yrs. And no one said anything about it. That question is still out there.

  2. Avatar A Little Bird | January 18, 2019 at 04:15 | Reply

    This will not increase detailed knowledge of the CAP, but may increase understanding of Pineda.

    Pineda was taken down without full investigation because he was doing so much damage and costing the CAP so much in body guards, free flights, lawsuits, etc. They had to get him out asap. Had no time to build a carefully evidenced case. Don Rowland played a key role in providing information against Pineda. He had an evil role himself, this helped obscure it and he looked like a hero.

    When Pineda was taken down, a number of charges were levied against him with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Instead of going after him, FDLE told him he could fight the charges, but, if proved wrong, would lose his pension, or he could retire and take his pension. He chose to retire.

    Pineda was also stonewalling and covering up. They had to get him out of the way to investigate. An undercover investigation had been going on. There was no suspicion of Rowland or USAF until Courter complained about the BoG and they went through two USAF investigations.

    If you REALLY want to dig around and to learn more about the kind of company Pineda kept, I recommend that you all check out the bios of the following people below, find out what they were doing around the Bay of Pigs Invasion, whether they were in Assault Brigade 2506, if not what they might have had to do with that Brigade, and where their careers took them thereafter.

    * Ted Shackley
    * Bernard Barker
    * Felix Rodriguez
    * David Morales
    * E Howard Hunt
    * G. Gordon Liddy

    • The USAF has never really cared about the CAP which it regards as its “problem child.” The take down of Pineda without addressing systemic corruption was very superficial. The same people that were influenced and advanced by Pineda are still in the CAP. Removing Pineda without his cronies was meaningless. The first stab at this investigation was very superficial. The USAF does not know how to deal with volunteers.

      Today, I am bothered that many of the good people I talk to do not want to rise or even continue in office after their terms and some are questioning whether they want to be in the CAP at all. I want to completely disassociate myself from CAP, except for a few friendships. The CAP is circling the drain.

    • Tony Pineda attended Cuba’s Havana Military Academy from 1956-1959. He was 10 years old in 1959 and 12 when he came to the United States. His father participated in the Bay of Pigs Invasion as a Cuban exile. The comment doesn’t make this distinction very clear. [Links Redacted]

      [Admin: Thank you for the clarification. Some comments we receive are naive and some are designed to undermine our effort.]

      • Avatar Confirmation | February 3, 2019 at 00:05 | Reply

        I second the details provided by Details. Antonio Pineda immigrated to the United States with his parents on December 28th 1962, at the age of 12 after an agreement between Cuba and the U.S. allowed for released prisoners and their families to come here.

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