This story has been updated.
ESCONDIDO — Escondido American Legion Post Commander Michael “Mick” Sobczak, who recently faced a trial to decide his future at the post after social media posts surfaced showing his affiliations to the Proud Boys, spoke out in the post’s May newsletter.
In January, the Union-Tribune first reported that the J.B. Clark Post 149 Commander was removed from two national leadership roles by the American Legion after photos shared on two social media accounts showed Sobczak 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.
The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the Proud Boys as a hate group, and the Anti-Defamation League describes the organization as a gang.
John Smartt, the post’s 1st vice commander, directly under Sobczak in the chain of command, told The Coast News in January that Sobczak would face a trial to determine whether he would be removed from his post.
The trial officially began on Feb. 16. Smartt said it would be a lengthy process that would most likely go into April or maybe even May. According to Jeffrey Dodds, adjutant at the post, the trial is still ongoing.
The post’s May 2021 newsletter, released April 28, features a message from “Commander Mick Sobczak.”
“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.
“Newspaper reporters were invited to a Post meeting to cover an internal Post 149 issue. Post officers gave interviews to 3 newspaper reporters who wrote a total of five articles about issues that were required to remain within the walls of our building. This did not hurt me, it hurt the Post and its membership,” Sobczak said.
“Some of you may be wondering why I am writing about this now and the reason is, as the Commander of Post 149, it is my duty to tell you about both the good and the bad about what is happening with your Post,” Sobzcak continued.
He concludes his message by urging members of the post to run for elections, which will be taking place this month. Sobczak will also be up for re-election.
Dodds told The Coast News that the trial is still proceeding and should be concluded by the end of this month. An exact date for the last hearing is still being discussed.
The post’s next general meeting is May 18.