ESCONDIDO – The American Legion J.B. Clark Post 149 in Escondido has started the process of deciding whether or not to remove Post Commander Michael “Mick” Sobczak after social media posts surfaced back in January that showed his affiliations to the Proud Boys.
Photos shared on two social media accounts showed Sobczak, 56, wearing a Proud Boys jacket and marching with other Proud Boys at a Dec. 12 pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C. which eventually turned violent.
In early January, Post Commander Michael Sobczak was removed from his position as dean of the American Legion College as well as a seat on the national board of the American Legion Riders, however, it is up to the local Escondido post to decide Sobczak’s fate as a post commander.
John Smartt, the post’s 1st vice commander, directly under Sobczak in the chain of command, told The Coast News back in January that it would be a lengthy process that will most likely go into April or maybe even May. Sobczak will be up for re-election in May.
Post 149 had its first full meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 16. The Union-Tribune reported that the executive committee charged Sobczak at the meeting with conduct unbecoming a Legionnaire.
Sobczak was issued a summons Tuesday to appear at a hearing on March 16 to enter a plea on the charge.
If found guilty by a panel of board members, Sobczak could be removed as commander and expelled from the American Legion. However, once the trial is finished, Sobczak has a right to appeal the verdict.
In the meantime, Sobczak is not under suspension as the post does not have a provision in the bylaws to suspend him unless he has done something that has brought physical harm to another member of the post.
In a newsletter shared by the American Legion just one day after the story was first reported, the organization condemned racism without explicitly mentioning Sobczak:
“We are here to assert in the strongest terms possible that The American Legion stands for equal rights for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or any other characteristic. There is no qualifier to that statement.”
No other members have been accused or charged with anything related to this incident, according to the post.
Sobczak could not be reached for comment.