ESCONDIDO – Former Escondido American Legion Post Commander Michael “Mick” Sobczak was removed as the commander of J.B. Clark Post 149 and has been transferred out of the post after facing a “trial” by his fellow post members due to social media posts that surfaced showing his affiliations to the Proud Boys.
In January, the Union-Tribune first reported that Sobczak was removed from two national leadership roles by the American Legion after photos shared on two social media accounts showed him wearing a Proud Boys jacket and marching with other Proud Boys at a Dec. 12 pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C.. The rally eventually turned violent.
In a separate video shared on a Facebook account under the name “Mick Florio,” Sobczak bragged about a physical altercation with an anti-Trump activist during a protest in Yorba Linda in Orange County.
Since Feb. 16, Sobczak had been the subject of a trial that would determine whether he would be removed from his position or from the post altogether.
John Smartt, the post’s former 1st vice commander, directly under Sobczak in the chain of command, told The Coast News via email that the trial concluded on Saturday, May 22:
“Michael Sobczak is no longer Commander of American Legion Post 149. Additionally, he appeared at the Evidentiary Hearing that was scheduled on May 22nd at the Post and through his attorney, provided a copy of his transfer out of Post 149 effective May 20, 2021.
“His transfer has been verified by our staff at the Post. Additionally, our Post has completed our elections and the new Commander will be installed on June 5th, 2021. In the interim, I will serve as acting Commander until then.
“American Legion Post 149 is grateful for the support of our members and the community and look forward to putting this difficult time behind us.”
The post’s board, which consists of three officers – Smartt, a judge advocate and a disinterested party – conducted the trial.
According to the post’s election announcement via Facebook, the post’s new commander will be Mike Frank.
Sobczak was also up for re-election.
In the post’s May 2021 newsletter, released April 28, a message from “Commander Mick Sobczak” urges members to vote.
“Over the past few months, you have been sent numerous emails discussing me due to a newspaper article written and published on January 3, 2021,” Sobczak wrote. “During this time, an effort was made to embarrass me publicly and usurp the power of the Post Commander.”
He goes on to condemn the post for violating bylaws and talking to the media.
Sobczak has a right to appeal the verdict, according to the post’s bylaws, but it is unclear if he will do so.
Sobczak did not respond to requests for comment and has previously declined multiple requests from The Coast News.