By Rex Glasgow | Civil Air Patrol
[Editor’s Note: This is the letter that Brig Gen Rex Glasgow sent to the CAP National Board. Readers are asked to tell us who the members of the board were in May of 2006. Thank you for the contribution.]
Maj Gen Pineda wanted Col Albert Kaufman — the CAP Assistant National Legal Officer, to replace Brig Gen Glasgow.
Friends of the Civil Air Patrol National Board,
Greetings! For those of you who may not know me, my name is Rex Glasgow, and until late last year, I was your elected National Vice Commander of CAP. After I stepped down and subsequently resigned my membership, many of you attempted to contact me to find out the “rest of the story.” After months of contemplation and silence, I have decided to share the unfortunate circumstances surrounding my situation.
At the outset, I apologize for the length of this letter, but I felt that it was necessary to give you a full and complete picture of my own situation and how it fits into the bigger picture of how the National Board is being bypassed in a number of important decisions. In this way, I hope to assist you in your role as a member of the CAP National Board.
To come to the point, I have been forced into resignation and silence, a situation that has occurred to other senior leaders on the CAP National Board. Until recently, I did not understand the reasons behind these personnel changes—but I now understand that they occurred because your National Commander plans to remain in his present position for many years to come. This is all about power and greed and ego.
All of the recent changes happened because Tony Pineda intends to introduce a surprise change to the CAP Constitution and Bylaws, within days or weeks, to allow the sitting National Commander to run for consecutive terms. I have always had a problem with the NEC and senior leaders changing regulations and policies without input by the Wing Commanders. I thought that this had been corrected under previous National Commanders, giving us the opportunity to discuss policy changes before their ratification. Pineda continues to bring things to the floor without any lead time to force votes to accomplish his agenda. I was offended to learn about this most recent attempt to extend his time in office. I am outraged that the majority of the National Board, especially our Wing Commanders, is not aware of such a major change until it is presented to the NEC or BOG for a vote.
Many years ago, the National Commander was elected one year at a time for up to three consecutive years. The National Board changed our Constitution and Bylaws in 1984 so that the Vice continued to be elected yearly and the Commander to a single three-year term. This allowed elected officials to serve without fear of negative politics or having to run every year. Since 1984, the Commander did what is best for the Corporation and when finished returned to the general membership, allowing others to bring new ideas and fresh blood to the helm of CAP.
I understand that Pineda plans to secretly present this proposal for multiple terms to the NEC later this week to obtain an NEC resolution to present to the BoG next month for implementation. As an alternative, he may bypass the NEC and present his proposal directly to the BOG—or even ask a BOG member to make the presentation in order to insulate Pineda from charges of attempting to continue his time in office. As related to me by several NEC members, Pineda will do so as the last item under the “New Business” agenda item just before adjourning. If this is passed, the Commander could run a three-year campaign funded with volunteer dues money, and by eliminating all possible competition, as he has done many times over the last year, then he could remain in office for years on end. Is this what you want? Did you have any idea this was coming? Do you feel, as I do, that such a dramatic change should and must have input from the Wing Commanders as the most important segment of our National Board? Do you think that Pineda’s proposal, if made at this weekend’s NEC Meeting in Atlanta, will be broadcast openly over the live Internet web stream from 0830 until 1700 on 12-13 May 06? Or will it be masked from our Wing Commanders and our general membership?
The story goes deeper, and I would like to share some other events and stories with you that will demonstrate why so many Wing and Region Commanders, besides myself, have been removed or forced to resign.
Before I continue, I need to take you back before the last election of 2005 to give you some background. Most of you at this point believe that Dwight Wheless resigned over personal circumstances. I did not realize until the day or so before Wheless tendered his resignation that Pineda was deeply involved behind the scene. Most members thought that Rick Greenhut led the charge behind this action, but actually, I feel that this was Pineda’s plan from the beginning. This was confirmed for me one day when Pineda called me on the phone. He was chuckling because he had just gotten off the phone with Wheless. Apparently, Pineda led Wheless to believe that he was fighting for him, and Wheless commented that Pineda needed to distance himself from the situation in case it escalated—in the belief that Pineda should stay “clean” in the event that Wheless was forced from office.
Knowing that I had continual communication with the other Region Commanders, Pineda and his friends fed me false information. Unfortunately, I relayed this to others as factual and probably influenced their final decision. I feel used and misguided. I owe Maj Gen Dwight Wheless an apology. During my CAP career, I have done many things that I am proud of—but in the case of Wheless’ forced resignation and the way that I feel Pineda used me and others as a pawn, I must confess embarrassment. The end result of all this was that Pineda successfully eliminated his competition, assumed office as Acting National Commander, and won election in 2005 as National Commander and without opposition—as planned.
And when the eight Region Commanders gathered in a telephone conference call to discuss the situation, Pineda, who by then was National Vice Commander and no longer a Region Commander, was secretly lurking on the phone call, listening to see who supported him and who did not support him.
Pineda and I had numerous conversations about the CAP elections and our goals if permitted to serve. Being assured that Pineda would work for the members in the field, I was satisfied. Pineda, however, had reservations about me as a candidate for National Vice Commander. He thought that I might be easily influenced by past Commanders, other region commanders, and certain friends. As a result, he secretly asked Andy Skiba to run for Vice Commander, figuring that if we came to a disagreement that he would ask you to support Skiba. After explaining that I am capable of making my own decisions and have not been influenced by others in the past, I apparently convinced him that he could trust me as Vice Commander, and he quietly shared his support with many of you the night before the election. I still feel bad for Skiba, as he never had any intention to run on his own, but was only doing a favor to Pineda. I was informed of this during a drive from Atlanta to Maxwell AFB with Skiba in December 2005.
After the election was over and hurricane Katrina hit, Pineda asked me to travel to the disaster to show the CAP command flag. I drove to Mississippi with fuel, generators, MRE’s, and water. Pineda arrived a few days later and flew all over Mississippi and Louisiana to visit our CAP troops. He continually bragged to me and others about being paid by his employer while being away from work on CAP business. One day, he scheduled a CAP airplane and aircrew to take him to work. He then had the pilot fly back alone to the mission base and return later to pick up Pineda for transport to another location.
Afterwards, others around Pineda told me that he felt that I received too much exposure, despite the fact that I worked 18-hour days, helped with obtaining more than $100,000.00 in funding, and published email reports to the membership to showcase what our members were doing.
Apparently somewhere between Hurricane Katrina and the Northeast Region Conference, Pineda decided that he wanted far more than his allotted three years. To achieve this end, I now believe that he thought that all competition had to be eliminated, and he therefore proceeded to target me.
At the Northeast Region Conference, I was approached by Pineda and told that he had received an anonymous letter complaining that I have been improperly utilizing the CAP vehicle assigned to me. Throughout a lengthy discussion, I continually stated that I had not misused this asset and that I could logically explain any situation.
As an example, one of the stories relayed was that I used my assigned CAP Expedition to haul antiques to Colorado. This statement is partially true, but it was not done in the spirit of violating any CAP regulation. The part left out was that, with only a few days’ notice, I traveled to Colorado Springs at the request of Rick Bowling to sit as a member of the Colorado Wing Commander Selection Board. By driving, I saved CAP $1000.00 on an airline ticket. And I had permission after the meeting to drive 30 miles south of Colorado Springs to visit my brother for a few days. Yes, I transported a bed frame and headboard from my grandparents for delivery to my brother. I paid for the fuel for that short trip out of my own pocket.
Further, I admit that I have detoured 10 feet and parked in a restaurant parking lot while driving home from CAP to meet my parents for dinner. I have also stopped on the way home for milk at the grocery store. I have been seen at Barnes and Noble Bookstore after purchasing office supplies for my CAP office at an Office Max—and then walking next door. If any of this is abuse, then I am guilty.
My intention was to fight these charges, but Pineda then informed me, and I suspect falsely, that the Air Force would investigate my situation to ensure that Pineda was not covering anything up. He then extended his story to say that this “investigation” was not only going to be about me, but the Air Force would look at everyone in the organization—and if anyone had improperly used any vehicle anywhere in the country, I was going to be the scapegoat. He even mentioned involvement of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and how he feared an Air Force confrontation with CAP. Pineda then acted as if he supported me and asked that I write a resignation letter to show the Air Force that I would fight these charges and was even prepared to resign. Trying to depart the Northeast Region Conference on Sunday for my parents’ anniversary party in Iowa, I agreed to trust him, leaving him with a few sentences on a paper to use as leverage.
Within two days, my resignation letter was inappropriately shared with others. By Wednesday, Pineda inappropriately attached an acceptance letter to my letter of resignation. I was outraged. In a conversation, Pineda then told me that it did not matter because, if I challenged him, he would suspend me during the investigation and destroy my chances of election to a second term as National Vice Commander.
Pineda then offered me a token prize in the form of a dual appointment as Director of the National Blue Beret Program and Chair of the National Cadet Program Committee again. Both of these are true and dear to my heart. Most of you know of the inordinate amount of time and energy I have put into these areas—and so I was silenced by the blackmail option of either holding these positions or being forced out of CAP.
Because of these circumstances, I do not make the first BOG meeting after my election as National Vice Commander. I have been told that Pineda expressed the view that he could operate without a Vice Commander during his three years as National Commander. His statement indicates to me the true nature of his intensions.
I attended the Hurricane Hot Wash at Maxwell AFB in mid-December 2005. Please keep in mind that I came home from Blue Beret, campaigned for election to National Vice Commander, attended the National Board Meeting in St. Louis, was elected as your National Vice Commander, and departed soon afterwards for Hurricane Katrina relief duty for 15 days and Hurricane Rita Relief Duty for seven days. I then went home for a short while, attended several region conferences, and visited CAP National Headquarters. Between Blue Beret and the Hot Wash, I had been home for less than 10 days total, all for CAP. I had not had ample time to complete the Blue Beret financial report and assured all that I would do so immediately upon returning home. To be more precise, I spent only 10 days at home in three months, using those 10 days at my business and with my elderly parents as their primary care-giver.
On Monday, 19 Dec 05, I stayed up extremely late to complete the Blue Beret Financial Report, as promised. Several Blue Beret members were still owed reimbursements and had only recently provided me with receipts. I consulted with the CAP National Headquarters Cadet Program staff on how to transmit to them cash receipts that I was holding. They suggested that I deposit it in a bank and transmit the funds to National Headquarters via check. On Tuesday morning, 20 Dec 05, I mailed the report by overnight delivery service. That evening, Pineda called; however, I was teaching a Red Cross class and was not able to answer his call. During a break, I sent him a text message that the report was in the mail.
The next day, I received an irate call from Pineda that I had not followed his “orders” and must immediately submit the Blue Beret Financial Report. I explained again that I had mailed all receipts, remaining funds, and documentation the day before. I further commented that I sent him a text message and sent Susan Easter, Don Rowland, and Larry Kauffman an email with the tracking number. I remember thinking that Pineda was inattentive to my words because he had been told multiple times that this project was completed and mailed with verification. On Friday, 23 Dec 05, four days after mailing this package and our conversation, I received a Fed Ex delivery from Pineda, informing me that I was suspended for not following his “orders twice” in the past week and failing to forward the documentation. The suspension letter went on to say that the Blue Beret finances would be investigated and that I would remain in suspended status until he was assured that all was in proper order. I called him by phone; however, he would not take my phone call, so I faxed him an explanation that he was in error.
Several days later, Pineda suggested that I resign my CAP membership. I assured him that Blue Beret finances were in perfect order and to proceed with the investigation, confident that all funds would be accounted for to the cent. I further commented that National Headquarters was in receipt of a preliminary report that documented expenditures, to include all checks submitted for activity fees at Oshkosh. I had mailed this preliminary report the day after returning home, before the election. The report was received because all checks were deposited. In my view, this latest development was the next step in the plan to remove me. I freely admit that I was late in finishing these actions, but I was traveling for CAP and believed that hurricane relief activities and the preservation of human life had a higher priority.
Confident that he could take no further action because I knew that all funds were accounted for perfectly and included every receipt. To this day, I remain convinced that Pineda could not manipulate my records because Susan Easter and her team are in possession of all bills, checks, and receipts.
I and numerous other activity directors issued checks under $500.00 with only one signature. I was not aware that this was incorrect, but now that I am aware of this requirement, I acknowledge my guilt, however unintentional it was. It is interesting that so many CAP activity directors operated under the perception that this was permitted. A petty cash fund has been used ever since I have been involved with the Blue Beret activity at Oshkosh WI, where we spent more than $5000.00 in petty cash because many vendors will not take credit cards or out-of-town checks. One member used his card for over two thousand dollars and was later reimbursed. As the activity continued, we exhausted our petty cash reserves and cashed another check to replenish our petty cash account. In the final days, we cashed another $1000.00 check for petty cash, but because one of our members generously used her personal credit card for trophies and awards, we completed the activity with a little over $800 remaining.
Two points about this investigation. First, these same financial procedures have been used for at least the past five years. Nothing has ever been a concern previously, so I simply continued the procedures in place when I learned the system. Second, during this “investigation” that ensued, I was never contacted or allowed to make a statement, despite my requests to be interviewed and the fact that I provided the names of Blue Beret staff members who had eyewitness testimony. None of these members were contacted, meaning that neither I nor any witnesses were allowed to speak.
Pineda then informed me that, even if the Blue Beret financial report was returned without findings, he would maintain me in suspended status and investigate all transactions during my service as Iowa Wing Commander and North Central Region Commander. In my view, this was simply an attempt to exert undue command influence to force me from CAP without due process.
He stated that this would take months and that he was personally appointing an investigator of his own choosing, not the IG. He further insisted that he would find something through all those years of financial transactions. He concluded by suggesting that I resign my CAP membership in exchange for halting all investigations.
I refused. I told him that I was comfortable with any investigation because I was confident that all Iowa Wing and North Central Region finances were in proper order, just as were the Blue Beret finances. Why wouldn’t he finish the first investigation before deciding prematurely that more needed to be looked at? And why would he stop an investigation if he truly thought something was wrong?
Recently, I was informed that Pineda commented to commanders at the last National Board meeting that I had to send a check to National Headquarters for over $800 to clear the Blue Beret investigation, insinuating that I had to reimburse CAP for $800.00 of improper spending. In actuality, the money I submitted to National Headquarters with the final finance report package, which was before any investigation began, was merely $800.00 in leftover funding. For your knowledge, I have never sent or been asked or required to submit any additional monies to “clear up” this matter.
Later, Pineda informed me that his appointed investigator would be Mike Brown. I later learned that Brown was in law enforcement as a white collar financial detective who has “done a few jobs” for Pineda. The comment was made that Brown knows not to come home without finding something on the individual who was the subject of an investigation.
I believe that Brown was biased against me because his wife, Valerie Brown, also a CAP member, had approached me in anger after a National Board meeting at which I had made a motion that had passed to her dissatisfaction. Because Pineda had on several occasions appointed favored members as Region Vice Commander for a short period in order to promote them to the permanent grade of Colonel, Rick Bowling, then the National Commander, asked me to make a motion that all permanent colonel promotions for Region Vice Commanders be approved by the NEC. This passed unanimously. After we adjourned, Valerie Brown approached me in anger and exclaimed that her goal was to become a CAP full colonel, and that she planned to return home from the National Board to move to a new position, having been promoted to full colonel as promised by Pineda. Apparently, Bowling was right and Pineda had been rewarding members with a promotion to full colonel after only a short time in position. I was particularly offended because most National Board members serve for a number of years before the rank of permanent colonel.
To put this situation in perspective, I am about to be investigated and have been threatened by the National Commander that he will document pre-determined findings before the investigation begins. Pineda also explained that this investigation would likely take over a year and that I would remain in suspended status and gagged by the IG—unable to discuss this with anyone, defend myself, or participate in any CAP activity—all on the heels of a process during which I did not get to provide comments or be interviewed.
At this point, I had no reason to continue my resistance and no one to help me. Under these circumstances, I tendered my resignation of membership. The Wing and Region financial investigations were stopped. Pineda wins. I am out of the way. His plan can now proceed toward extending his time in office from three years to six years or more, while removing all competition.
A few weeks after my resignation, Pineda called and asked me in a voicemail to call him back because he had “good news” for me. Before I returned the call, he left a second voicemail, stating that the Blue Beret investigation was complete. The result: Not a penny was missing, but several minor procedural errors were noted, to include the use of several checks with one signature, the establishment of a petty cash account, and acceptance of activity fees at the activity site. I later asked for a copy of the investigation, and Pineda agreed to provide a copy, which he never sent.
In this second message, Pineda also stated that he concluded that, because only minor procedural errors occurred, I would retain my CAP membership. He stated that he would instruct Susie Parker at National Headquarters to return my CAP membership card to me and that no break in service would be documented. Pineda’s voicemails were digitally recorded on my cell phone and were later downloaded to my computer. Soon, I will make Pineda’s personal exoneration of me, in his own voice, available on a website for all of you to hear—so that you can hear him provide assurances that no money is missing and that my CAP membership will be reinstated.
During the next several months, I waited patiently, not receiving or hearing anything. I made a telephone call to National Headquarters and learned that my membership card and reinstatement were on Susie Parker’s desk, ready to be mailed to me. Pineda, however, called National Headquarters during this period and directed that my membership credentials were to be held and not mailed to me. I telephoned Pineda and asked for an explanation for the delay. He told me that he had not yet received the official report and needed to add his comments and authorization to conclude this matter.
After a protracted period, I called Pineda on several occasions until I heard last week from one of his entourage that he never intended to reinstate my CAP membership. I then sent an email inquiry to Pineda and received a reply from him that he “does not think it is in my or the Corporation’s best interest for me to return.” I will soon post that message to a website for you to see.
And so, this is the true explanation of the circumstances surrounding my decision to resign my position as National Vice Commander and my CAP membership. As I stated in my letter of resignation, I was spending far too much time on CAP matters, neglecting my business, and devoting insufficient time to the care of my elderly parents.
Unfortunately, I am not the only member who has faced threats, retribution, and unconscionable actions. I believe that Col Charlie Glass and Col Matt Sharkey suffered similar fates and have their own stories to tell about how they too were forced to resign or be investigated in a way that would lead to sure termination of CAP membership. I am concerned that, if Pineda continues to eliminate talented, experienced, and knowledgeable leaders, CAP will be left with an undesirable element in command of our organization.
I have been informed by multiple sources that both Rick Greenhut and Drew Alexa were threatened with removal from their chairmanships of the Homeland Security and Advanced Technology Groups, respectively, if they continued their campaigns for National Vice Commander. I presume that my sources were accurate because Greenhut removed has now himself as a candidate.
Further, I have been informed by sources close to Pineda that Pineda will support Tom Todd in the forthcoming election for National Vice Commander. Pineda apparently knows that Todd will be unable to travel extensively because of his wife’s health and that “he can be controlled.” In the view of many insiders, Pineda will remove Todd after the August 2007 CAP national elections to eliminate him as a potential next National Commander. Pineda will likely center his investigation around an unfavorable financial situation in Texas, which reportedly includes the largest embezzlement case CAP has witnessed. Pineda will then have no competition during his sequential run for National Commander—should the BOG approve Pineda’s suggested amendment to the CAP Constitution and Bylaws.
Several NEC members have informed me that Pineda will entice the Region Commanders to support his proposed Constitution and Bylaws amendment by suggesting that the change include the ability of the National Commander to extend the terms of sitting Region Commanders. In my opinion, this is Pineda’s attempt to test the loyalty of his Region Commanders, just as he has tested several Region Commanders on previous occasions. He has done so by directing selected Region Commanders to remove or terminate Wing Commanders who have disagreed with proposals put in front of the National Board by Pineda. For instance, Pineda forced the new North Central Region Commander to remove the South Dakota Wing Commander because he expressed his views to Pineda and myself in a private letter after Pineda silenced him at the microphone at the National Board Meeting in August 2005 in St Louis. Reliable sources have informed me that this removal was a test of the Region Commander’s loyalty.
I am certain that many of you know what is going on, but that you have no alternative course of action. It appears that Region and Wing Commanders will be removed for failing to vote in accordance with the National Commander’s wishes. Many of you have shared your fears with me. Many of you have articulated your concerns over the atmosphere of fear that permeates the National Board. Many of you have commented that you will be gone if you say what you truly feel during discussions at the microphone at National Board Meetings. How did we get to this point in such a short period of time? In my view, this National Commander seized “command” through unconstitutional means, entered office illegitimately, and has chilled free thinking and open discussion. In short, I feel Pineda has regressed our NEC and National Board back to the dark period of power politics, smoke-filled back rooms, retribution, and intimidation.
Pineda will surely rebut my observations in this letter. What is not clear is how he will proceed with his term extension amendment to our Constitution and Bylaws. I suspect that he may abandon presentation of his secret proposal at the NEC Meeting this weekend now that his plan has been exposed. Why do I say this? Simply because, after receiving the anonymous letter before the August 2005 National Board Meeting and his election as National Commander, Pineda retreated from appointing Eileen Parker to the position of National Controller after promising her the position—simply because his plan was exposed before he was able to execute it. He truly dislikes having his plans and activities exposed to public examination.
I write to you today not only to inform you about this situation, but to also enlist your help. First, please contact your Region Commander and insist that Pineda’s secret Constitution and Bylaws amendment not be favorably forwarded to the BOG for consideration. If necessary, write or email all BOG members to let them know how you feel so that you as Wing Commanders are not bypassed on this vital decision. Second, please make it known to the CAP volunteer leadership, in your own way, that you demand to be part of the discussion and decision process as CAP makes policy—and that you will not tolerate being bypassed in the governing process.
One need only look at recent CAP uniform changes to see how new proposals are thrust on Wing Commanders without the benefit of thought or detailed discussion. When the AETC Commander disapproved the return of blue epaulets and metal rank to the uniform in a meeting with Pineda, he presented a proposal at the Winter 2006 National Board Meeting for a new uniform that closely approximates the USAF uniform. Pineda’s alternative plan includes a double-breasted jacket to wear with this new uniform—to include metal rank insignia—so that he can proclaim success. His present course jeopardizes our continued wear of the USAF uniform because we have now adopted a uniform very close in appearance to the USAF uniform. This was, in reality, an end-run around our Air Force partners.
I also hope that this will prompt others that have experienced similar circumstances to come forward and explain their situation. We can not operate in this arena of fear and expect success. If you do not take action to oppose this unfair play, then we condone this process.
In closing, serious actions are underway that erode your authority and responsibility as Wing and Region Commanders and your role in the decision process as members of the NEC and/or National Board. Your role is quickly devolving to one of simply passing along, and enforcing, the solo decisions of one member. When do you get to act on your roles as CAP Corporate Officers?
I thank you for reading this letter, and I thank you for the opportunity to have served as a Wing and Region Commander and as your National Vice Commander. As you continue the great work of this organization, please stand up and be heard. Hold the National Commander accountable, keep your eyes on the important public service role to be fulfilled by CAP, and do not permit the current situation to go unchecked. Care enough for Civil Air Patrol to fight for the finest volunteer organization in America—YOUR CAP!
Former National Vice Commander Civil Air Patrol