Park Board candidate Israel admits criminal past

Israel says he turned life around after prison stint

Ishmael Israel Credit:

Ishmael Israel, one of 10 at-large Park Board candidates, admitted this week that he was convicted of felony assault in the mid-1990s and served 17 months in prison.

Israel, who changed his name from Sean Kory Brunswick after being released from prison, was also convicted of felony check forgery in 1992.

A judge recently expunged the felony assault conviction from his record, in part due to his long history of neighborhood involvement since his release. He has served as executive director of the Northside Residents Redevelopment Council and was recently appointed by the mayor to the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission. 

“I was convicted of something, did the penalty for doing it, and after that I put in literally decades of community service,” said Israel when asked about his criminal past by The Journal. “I think that speaks for itself, and it was enough for a judge to seal the record.”

Israel, 42, has been endorsed by U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (5th District), state Rep. Raymond Dehn (59B), and state Rep. Joe Mullery (59A).

“It’s no secret. The people that I work for, work with, been around, there’s nothing that’s not known,” said Israel. “I just thought at this point, something that happened 20 years ago would’ve been washed away.”

Another at-large Park Board candidate, Hashim Yonis, resigned this summer from his job with the Park Board after being investigated for illegally pocketing more than $3,800 in soccer field rental money.