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Under investigation by the Army, Florida National Guard's No. 2 leader steps down

Brig. Gen. Mike Canzoneri, No. 2 in command at the Florida National Guard, stepped down following accusations of sexual misconduct and a coverup among leaders of the command. Canzoneri had been eligible to assume command of the guard when its leader retired April 6. [Florida National Guard]
Brig. Gen. Mike Canzoneri, No. 2 in command at the Florida National Guard, stepped down following accusations of sexual misconduct and a coverup among leaders of the command. Canzoneri had been eligible to assume command of the guard when its leader retired April 6. [Florida National Guard]
Published May 7, 2019

A top-ranking Florida National Guard leader resigned Tuesday morning amid a sexual misconduct investigation, according to a spokeswoman for the force.

Brig. Gen. Mike Canzoneri, the Guard's No. 2 commander, decided the issue was "a distraction" for the soldiers under him, said the spokeswoman, Maj. Caitlin Brown. An investigation by the Army Inspector General is still underway.

READ: Investigations underway into sexual misconduct allegations at Florida National Guard

READ: Gov. DeSantis names Air Force Maj. Gen. James Eifert as new leader of troubled Florida National Guard

The Tampa Bay Times reported in March that a civilian contractor had previously accused Canzoneri of rubbing her bare shoulder during a conference, making sexual gestures toward a bartender and having an affair with a soldier whom he transferred when she declined to have sex with his friends. She also said he helped cover up allegations against another officer.

The Florida National Guard consists of more than 10,000 soldiers. Canzoneri, according to an online biography, served in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom and later deployed to Pakistan. He was promoted to his latest role, assistant adjutant general of the Florida National Guard, in December 2016.

In a statement to the Military Times on Tuesday, Canzoneri said he denies the allegations against him.

Contact Zachary T. Sampson at zsampson@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8804. Follow @ZackSampson.