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Lawsuit Claim Huntington Park Chamber Restricted Iconic Greek American Businessman From Holiday Parade

By Pete Parker

An iconic political and community leader from Huntington Park is taking on members of its local chamber of commerce in a lawsuit that claims his civil rights were violated because he is not of Hispanic origin and that he was unfairly banned from participating in a holiday parade.

Businessman Nick Ioannidis, also known as “Nick The Greek” will be appearing in Downey Superior Court on February 19th, and is seeking $10,000 in damages  from the Huntington Park Chamber of Commerce claiming “discrimination, humiliation, and harassment” after he said he was barred from participating in the famous Huntington Park Christmas Parade back on November 19th, 2012.

In a letter to the Board of Directors of the Huntington Park Chamber dated April 8th 2013, Ioannidis claims that on or about three days prior to the November 2012 Annual Huntington Park Christmas Parade he was informed by the CEO of the Huntington Park Chamber of Commerce, Leticia Martinez, that he was not allowed to freely participate and was never provided with a legitimate reason.

The Greek immigrant who owns a local custom made suit business said he was barred from the event in 2011 and 2012 and was not allowed to “display the American Flag freely” in the parade.

Ioannidis told Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper his past week that he feels that as a business owner in the community for over twenty-five years and Founder of National Immigrants Day he was “dumbfounded” by the actions of Martinez.

Ioannidis said it is his belief that he was “spearheaded by politics, discriminated against, and a victim to an abuse of power.”

In the lawsuit, he is demanding that the Chamber pay all costs for the preparation incurred for the participation of the parade.

Martinez responded with a letter to Ioannidis that stated, “We apologize for any confusion, but acknowledge your interest in participating in the Huntington Park Christmas Lane Parade. Please feel free to send us a letter explaining your interest in participating in this special holiday tradition. In regards to your costs of preparation for the Parade, the Chamber of Commerce was not aware nor did it authorize any of your specialized procurements and therefore cannot compensate you from its limited resources.”

Ioannidis provided HMG-CN with documentation that he was invited to participate in the annual parade as a “Celebrity Participant.”  The letter goes on to state that he “arrive promptly at 4:30 pm on the day of the parade” in order to participate.

Ioannidis took his concerns directly to the Chamber of Commerce that claims he has been a member of for the past 25 years.

His lawsuit claims that on or about three days prior to the November 2012 Annual Christmas Parade, he was informed by CEO Martinez, that he was not allowed to participate and was never given an explanation to the decision.  “I felt publicly humiliated by Martinez’s actions” and is claiming that he lost an estimated $1500 for food, decorations, invitations and other costs associated around the event.

Ioannidis say that he “loves his adopted country of the United States” and has even imprinted the American flag and the words “Nick the Greek in America” on his company letterhead and stationary.

“I am a strong supporter of Americanism,” Ioannidis said.

“I am not advertising my business, I am advertising America,” he said.

The Chamber of Commerce requested he pay $500 as an entry fee to take part in the parade.

Chamber officials said that “given the serious assertions of the lawsuit and upon advice of the chamber’s attorney, we will have no comment on this issue at this time. However, the chamber strongly believes that Mr. Ioannidis’s claim will be found to be baseless and the chamber will be exonerated by the court.”

Ioannidis response to that comment was, “They are trying to destroy patriotism, my honesty, my pride and my dignity.”

This is not the first time that the City of Huntington Park has come under scrutiny in regards to immigration comments.

Former Controversy

In 2012 a public comment from Mexico-born Huntington Park City Councilwoman Rosa Perez sparked a media frenzy after she blamed “the Americans” who served as past elected officials for problems with residential and business water meters.

Perez, who was elected in 2011, stunned the mostly Spanish speaking audience in attendance at Huntington Park City Hall when the comment was made. At the time, Perez said “I wanted to come into (elected) office, and to see what the problems are in the city and try to bring solutions to them. A big problem is that people think that when the Americans were in office everything was all great and when the Latinos came in, then all the problems came in.”

During her past rant, Perez continued in Spanish by claiming, “but the Americans did a lot of these contracts that are costing us (Latinos) much money.”  Several residents immediately reacted with loud yells in protest to the comments.


  • Victor says:

    Mr. “Nick the Greek ” loves our great country and has been fighting injustice in Huntington Park for over 25 years. It is sad to see how they treatred him in HP just because he didn’t want to sell his property to Rosa Perez’s master former mayor Bill Cunningham . Fight On Sir Godspeed .