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Community News: Southeast

HUNTINGTON PARK : 'Nick the Greek' Threatens to Leave

June 27, 1993

"Nick the Greek," long known in Huntington Park for his displays of patriotism and elaborate celebrations marking the day he became an American citizen, says he is packing up and leaving after a decade-long battle with the city culminated last week with Mayor Rick Loya ejecting him from a City Council meeting.

"We're just going to get more information on what in the world is going on with him," Loya said, after he requested a full report on Nick the Greek's problems. The mayor's request for a full report was made on behalf of the council.

Nick the Greek, whose name is Nick Ioannidis, was removed from the city council meeting after yelling repeatedly at council members about his arrest earlier this month.

On June 14, Ioannidis was arrested, along with Boanerge Portillo, an employee of Klinker, Cunningham and Guerra Mortuary for fighting. Councilman William Cunningham is a co-owner of the mortuary next to Ioannidis' tailor shop.

The dispute broke out after months of arguing over parking spaces shared by Cunningham and Ioannidis. Ioannidis said visitors to the mortuary would park in his spaces. But Cunningham said mourners attending rosaries only parked in designated spaces and added that Ioannidis routinely had cars towed from the lot.

"I'm tired of all this," Cunningham said. "This has a long history. . . . The problem the man has is with the building department and he just picks on me because I'm on the City Council."

Ioannidis said his problems began nearly 10 years ago when he decided to improve his tailor shop, which he calls Nick the Greek In America, at 2669 E. Gage Ave. "I try to improve my property to make the upstairs a beautiful place, to make it a beautiful museum of America," Ioannidis said. He annually prepares elaborate celebrations marking the day he became an American citizen.

Meanwhile, Loya and other city officials concede that the inquiry may shed little light on the acrimony.

"I'm not sure the report will help the city council understand what (Ioannidis) is so mad about," said City Atty. Steve Skolnik.

In the meantime, Ioannidis, 58, has put his Gage Street property up for sale. He said he will move out of the city. "I'm looking every place, I'm looking for America."

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