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Sheriff’s official suspended 10 days over Cubs World Series sneak-in

Cook County Deputy Chief Michael Anton. | Sun-Times files

A high-ranking official in Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s office had to pay a price for allowing others to avoid having to pay the price of admission last year to a Cubs World Series game at Wrigley Field, newly obtained records show.

Mike Anton, a deputy chief with the sheriff’s police who makes about $120,000 a year, was suspended for 10 days for giving security IDs to two people so they could get in to a 2016 Cubs World Series game, the records show.

Sheriff’s officers were issued Major League Baseball credentials as part of a detail targeting people selling unlicensed merchandise outside Wrigley Field during the Cubs’ historic championship run.

Anton was stopped by ballpark security on Oct. 30, 2016, while wearing a colleague’s credential and trying to get in to the game against the Cleveland Indians, according to documents released by the sheriff’s office.

A teenager also was stopped at the gate with an official MLB pass issued to a sheriff’s officer, records show.

“Pictures on the credentials did not match either of the individuals who were trying to enter the ballpark,” the records show.

According to the sheriff’s office, the teenager was a friend of Anton’s son.

Anton also acknowledged to sheriff’s investigators “there was a second individual,” another teenager, for whom “he provided a credential to enter the ballpark,” according to records and interviews.

After an internal investigation that wrapped up earlier this year, the sheriff’s office found “sufficient evidence to support the allegation Anton provided access for two unauthorized individuals to enter the ballpark with credentials earmarked” for police, the records show.

“This case is closed and classified as sustained for Anton: Conduct Unbecoming,” the files say.

Mike Anton. | Cook County sheriff’s department

Anton wouldn’t comment.

Records show higher-ups in the sheriff’s office were unaware their staff was involved in the detail targeting so-called “counterfeit” merchandise.

The officers were supposed to be working outside the ballpark, though they were allowed inside to use the bathroom or get something to eat, and Anton had his own credential, according to records and interviews.

MLB officials initially reported to Dart that unnamed plainclothes sheriff’s officers in the ballpark were drinking alcohol at the same game, writing: “We understand some of these officers were holding beers and watching batting practice while they were supposed to have been working.”

But Dart spokeswoman Cara Smith said the league couldn’t back up that “incendiary” claim and “backed off.”

Asked about that, an MLB spokesman said, “The incident in question was addressed with the appropriate party, and we have no further comment.”

Smith said Anton was allowed to use accrued time off to serve his suspension, so “he lost two weeks of vacation.”

Smith said Anton “admitted to his misconduct and his lapse in judgment . . . and regretted what occurred” and  “does excellent work.”

Anton’s special investigations unit handles “specialized, targeted programs and enforcement.”