ESCONDIDO — Former Escondido American Legion Post Commander Michael “Mick” Sobczak is still an American Legion member and has transferred to a new post after being removed as the commander of J.B. Clark Post 149 back in May 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.
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.
Sobczak was also linked to a Parler account under the name “Mickey Knuckles.”
Parler is a social networking app that hosts many political conservatives and some who have been banned from other social media platforms.
Since Feb. 16, Sobczak had been the subject of a “trial” by Post 149 leaders 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 who was 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,” Smartt said in part.
According to the Administrative Hearing Disposition obtained by The Coast News, Sobczak initiated his transfer to Hemet Post 53 just two days before the conclusion of his “trial” that would have determined if he was “guilty.”
Sobczak’s lawyer cited Post 149 by-laws that state that the post can only conduct an Administrative Hearing on their own post members, and because Sobczak was no longer a member, he believed they did not have the jurisdiction to conduct the hearing.
Additionally, the American Legion Department of California Administrative Hearing Manual does not preclude a member from transferring posts while involved in disciplinary action.
Sobczak refused to participate in the conclusion of the hearing process and left.
Post 53’s service officer, Ronnie Imel, confirmed that Sobczak joined the post and has rejoined the American Legion Riders, but seemed to know very little about Sobczak’s alleged ties to the Proud Boys.
“The fact is the man didn’t do anything wrong. He might’ve been in bed company, but in terms of doing anything wrong… the American Legion has him in good standing right now,” Imel said. “I happen to know because I went to a California meeting where he was almost selected to be the president of the [American Legion] Rider’s group.”
The American Legion Department of California meeting was held the weekend of July 18.
“He was in high regards at the meeting. The president of District 21, the president of the Rider’s group – all of these people sat with him, shook his hand and gave him hugs,” Imel said. “As far as I’m concerned, it appears that he is in good standing with the American Legion.”
A confidential source with inside information told The Coast News that Sobczak arrived at the meeting with a Proud Boys license plate frame on his motorcycle and the words “Proud Boys” on his helmet.
A separate source who also wishes to remain anonymous told The Coast News that Post 53 has allowed Sobczak to sell his “Micky Knuckles” streetwear at their events, his former Parler account name.
Back in January, Sobczak was removed from his position as dean of the American Legion College as well as from his seat on the national board of the American Legion Riders,
According to statements sent to The Coast News by The American Legion Department of California and from a national representative of the American Legion, though Sobczak still doesn’t hold any national appointments, it is up to members of the post to decide matters locally.
The Legion’s National Resolution 407 (passed in 1923 and reaffirmed in 2017) states, “The American Legion considers any individual, group of individuals, or organizations, which creates, or fosters racial, religious or class strife among our people, or which takes into their own hands the enforcement of law, determination of guilt, or infliction of punishment, to be un-American, a menace to our liberties, and destructive to our fundamental law.”