Racist Facebook post on Cicero school board member’s page
BY STEVE WARMBIR Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org April 17, 2012 11:44PM
Updated: May 19, 2012 8:15AM
It was the end of the work week when an outrageous variation on the typical TGIF expression appeared on the Facebook page of a Cicero school board member.
Outrageous and racist.
“IT’S FRIDAY, N---A’S,” was the phrase on the wall of the Facebook page of Michael Iniquez. But there were no dashes. Instead, it was a fully spelled out variation of the n-word next to a photo of a nearly naked, dancing black child, according to the public portion of his Facebook page.
“Is that Brookfield Zoo?” asked one of Iniquez’s Facebook friends in a comment next to the photo.
On the same Facebook page, the White Sox ballpark gets called “the world’s largest ghetto ... where there are more drive bys than line drives.”
Iniquez, who is Hispanic and a board member on Morton High School District Board 201, also shared how he met the actor who played the character Ogre in the movie “Revenge of the Nerds” outside a Cubs game — and there was a photo posted on Facebook to prove it.
“I was tanked before the game even started,” Iniquez wrote on his Facebook page.
In an interview Tuesday, Iniquez blamed his 15-year-old son for the racist post, saying his kids have access to his Facebook page. He acknowledged writing about drinking at the Cubs game and said he shouldn’t have. And he dismissed the White Sox comment as baseball humor.
His teenage son, who has his own Facebook page, is “going to get grounded over this. I’m not taking this lightly,” Iniquez said.
Iniquez has listed among his friends a stripper, according to Facebook, and Iniquez blamed his teenage son for that as well.
Despite extensive postings on his page, Iniquez said he wasn’t that familiar with Facebook and relies on his children to help him. But he said he accepted responsibility for what was on his page.
He said he recently removed another offensive post by his son but could not provide an explanation for why the racist comment had been posted since December, other than he must have missed it. The post generated several comments of approval by Iniquez’s Facebook friends.
The Facebook comments may bring yet more controversy to the Morton school board, where Iniquez was re-elected last year to a four-year term.
The school board president, Jeff Pesek, who has generated his own controversy, was listed in a recently unsealed federal court document as “having been part of criminal activities” with Mark Polchan, a high-ranking Outlaw motorcycle gang member who was sentenced to 60 years in prison for pipe-bombing a business for the Chicago mob.
Pesek testified under a grant of immunity from prosecution at Polchan’s trial but has denied doing anything illegal. The court document doesn’t specify the criminal activities, and Pesek said in an interview Tuesday that he has done nothing illegal, with Polchan or without him.
The Sun-Times has previously reported that Pesek was caught on a wiretap with Polchan in 2007 discussing Polchan’s pending arrest for the bombing. Pesek has said previously he has no recollection of the conversation and described Polchan as a childhood friend.
Hundreds of parents and students protested Pesek’s continued service on the school board last year after the Sun-Times’ story on the secretly recorded conversation between the two men, but board members re-elected him board president.
District 201 serves more than 8,000 high school students, mostly from Cicero and Berwyn. The student population is mainly Hispanic, with less than 4 percent African-American, according to school report card data.
Both Pesek and Iniquez work for the Town of Cicero. Both men have been part of Cicero Town President Larry Dominick’s political operation.
In a statement, Town Spokesman Ray Hanania said Dominick believed the use of a racial epithet was “both offensive and highly inappropriate” and was referring the matter to the town’s inspector general. The statement praised Pesek for his work ethic and said town officials were unaware of the court filing. Iniquez, the son of Cicero’s former police chief, runs the town’s rodent control department. Pesek works as town consultant. He and his brother, Craig, another town consultant, were key financial backers for Dominick in his election campaigns for town president.
The recently unsealed court document — a Polchan defense filing that summarizes sealed prosecution evidence — describes Pesek as among at least nine people intercepted by the FBI bug in Polchan’s pawnshop in Cicero and as “having been part of criminal activities” with Polchan. Along with Pesek, the men listed include a crooked Cicero cop who admitted to working for the mob, the son of a well known mobster in Cicero, and a high-ranking member of the Outlaw motorcycle gang.