Frank Rizzo is returning to the light of day.
No, not the in-the-flesh Bambino, the Cisco Kid, the police commissioner and mayor in the flesh — but his 9-foot bronze likeness.
Crusading lawyer George Bochetto filed suit against the city in July 2020 alleging improper treatment of the statue, which had been erected in 1998. You may recall the Frank Rizzo statue was unlawfully removed in the middle of the night by gutless Mayor Jim Kenney.
The statue, I have learned, is planned to be returned to its legal owner, the Frank L. Rizzo Monument Committee, which had commissioned it.
The city’s law department is very close to finalizing a deal with Bochetto, who represents the Monument Committee. The city declined comment because the law suit is still active.
The outline of the surprising change was agreed to in the dying days of Kenney’s administration.
Could this be a sudden awakening that unrestrained Political Correctness and cancel culture is wrong?
Nah. More likely the city fears another legal ass-kicking in court. Bochetto previously had beaten the city’s unlawful attempt to take down the statue of Christopher Columbus in South Philly’s Marconi Park.
In the wake of the George Floyd riots, which hapless Kenney allowed to happen here through inaction, the mayor acted on the progressive belief that Rizzo was a bigot and a brute, and that Columbus was guilty of genocide. This is part of the progressive internal belief system, based on feelings rather than facts. Progressives believe shouting “racist” settles every argument. It does not.
Funds for the statue were raised privately, led by prominent Democrats such as Mayor Ed Rendell and D.A. Lynne Abraham. All of whom were prominent racists, of course. Maybe they were aware that Rizzo had found funds to build the African-American History Museum, had integrated two-man police cars, and his main security officer was a Black man.
He had been endorsed for mayor by the Black Clergy of Philadelphia & Vicinity, those vicious racists.
After Rizzo’s death, Kenney actually wanted to rename the Municipal Services Building after the late mayor and police commissioner who had devoted his entire life to public service.
Sometime later, Kenney attended progressive reeducation camp and emerged from his cocoon of South Philly Mummer and rowhouse kid as a rainbow butterfly.
While Columbus has become a controversial historical figure, he is being judged by today’s sensibilities, rather than by the norms of his time. That is called presentism.
For Rizzo, the fig leaf that weasel Kenney used to cover his blatant virtue signaling was the laughable claim that the statue’s removal was due to concerns about “public safety.” As if the Rizzo statue was going to climb down off the steps of the Municipal Services Building and beat up passersby.
Or maybe Kenney meant the statue might fall on and injure one of the self-appointed vigilantes who vandalized the likeness of the city’s first Italian-American mayor.
The progressive hatred of the mayor was so deep on the left that the Inquirer’s Chicken Little columnist Will Bunch described the Rizzo statue’s friendly wave as a fascist salute. Which must have come as a big surprise to sculptor Zeno Frudakis.
Almost every time I have written about the Rizzo statue — about a half a dozen times — I’ve made the point that Kenney is a chicken-legged Woke coward who acted unlawfully.
The proof was included in Bochetto’s lawsuit.
When the Frank L. Rizzo Monument Committee gifted the statue to the city in 1998, both parties signed an agreement, and that 7-page agreement was broken, according to Bochetto’s lawsuit.
Bochetto did not respond to invitations to comment.
His complaint charges that the committee’s due process rights were violated.
The statue was “removed under the cover of night,” the suit alleges, with no process or public input “or approval from the Philadelphia Art Commission, as required by the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter.”
The suit calls for an injunction against the city to prevent destroying the statue, to return it to its owners, and monetary damages.
The agreement stated that “if the city shall at any time decide… to dispose of the work, it shall give notice to the provider and offer the provider a reasonable opportunity to recover the work.”
That did not happen.
The complaint alleges the agreement required the city make the statue available for recovery, which it did not do.
All unlawfully, Bochetto said in the complaint.
And, basically, the city now reportedly agrees.
There remain questions, such as when the transfer will take place. The statue reportedly is in a city warehouse in the Northeast.
Where will it go? Probably not on city land because it’s a magnet for midnight Social Justice Vandals who demonstrate heroism by attacking a statue.
Some secure place in South Philly, I am told, but Frank Rizzo Jr., who heads the Monument Committee, did not respond to a request for comment.