Update: Frank Rizzo statue deal set to close

Updating a story published on Jan. 24, 2024:

Crusading lawyer George Bochetto, who brought suit against the city on behalf of the Frank L. Rizzo Monument Committee, tells me a deal to return the statue to its rightful owner will be signed “within the next few days.”

The city will pay a “substantial sum” to cover cost of repairing the statue, which is not an admission of guilt, Bochetto says, even though he says the city violated an agreement with the committee.

Down but not out. Frank L. Rizzo statue will be returned (Photo: Inquirer)

The statue will not be returned immediately, as the agreement between the city and the committee must be approved by the Philadelphia Art Commission, and that could take months. While that is continuing, Bochetto is organizing a citizens committee to raise funds and also to choose a permanent location for the statue. [Full disclosure: I have accepted Bochetto’s invitation to join the committee.]


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 city’s law department declined to comment because the law suit is still active.

The outline of the surrender 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 feared 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 own security team included two Black officers.

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 rejecting both the Mummers and South Philly.

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.

Is this a fascist salute?

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.

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.

That’s a decision the citizens committee will make.

54 thoughts on “Update: Frank Rizzo statue deal set to close”

  1. I have it on good authority that it’s going to go in Jody Della Barba’s yard.
    Love Rizzo but man, that lady has an unhealthy obsession with him.

    1. Ms DellaBarba also has an unhealthy obsession with Italy, Abruzzo, food, wine, culture, politics, art , religion and history. My God, she is so dull and uninteresting. 😀 GOD BLESS HER.

    2. Too cowardly to use your own name Milly?
      If defending a great man who isn’t here to defend himself is unhealthy then so be it. Too bad you think it’s ok to be such a jealous bigot like Kenney and be afraid of a statue that’s more popular than him! How many other mayors have statues paid for by the people of Philadelphia? Kenney never will.
      Maybe if more people were obsessed with protecting our city and history we wouldn’t be a national laughing stock.

      1. Lets remember Rizzo becaime Mayor the first time, when the Mayor left office abruptly and he stepped in. Accroding the City Charter it is the President of the City Council who replaces the Mayor, not the Police Chief. In otherwords Rizzo engaged in a coup. He used the Mayoral offce and the police to run counterintellegence operations on his political opponents. Which makes him nothing more than a micro version of J. Edgar Hoover.

      2. bigotry – noun: obstinate or intolerant devotion to one’s own opinions and prejudices :
        So that would make you a bigot when it comes to bicycles and the people who ride them.

      3. Go jump in a lake, Jody. Rizzo became Mayor illegally when he engaged in coup when the original Mayor abdicated his office. According to the City Charter it is the President of the City Council who becomes Mayor, not the Police Chief.

        Rizzo used the police to further his political goals by investigating his political opponents. His violations of Constitutional and Civil Rights are a matter of record. We should be obsessed with protecting Philadelphia’s history, we are the cradle of liberty and dictators like Rizzo should not be tolerated.

        1. Rizzo was elected twice for mayor . He was police commissioner when he was elected mayor , he wasn’t acting mayor

          1. When Mayor Tate stepped down, Rizzo became the defacto Mayor prior to the election. This is a violation of the Philadelphia City Charter that states that the President of the City Council is the next in the line of succession..

    3. She was his personal secretary after Rizzo left office. She also posts on scoial media how Trump was annoited/sent to us by God.

      1. And you were sent by Satan. Maybe you should get your facts straight before you post bad information. Tate stepped down when his term was over. Maybe you can take a course in civics and history!

    4. Not an unhealthy obsession, but a respect for a Man, and the Mayor who absolutely loved Philadelphia so much, that he came out of retirement to run again….and would have won!!! He had the backing of the entire City!!! There are thousands of Philadelphians who feel the same way!!!!! Your comment is not warranted.

  2. And speaking of base vandalism of our best sculptures, the Viking; when will the Viking bronze be reinstalled? It is one of our city’s best bronze sculptures.

    Recall it was ripped from its pedestal, tossed into the Schuylkill, landed head first on the famous rock there, “Turtle Rock” and its head broke off. It was quickly recovered, restored by excellent craftsmen and is in secret storage safely away from vandals and yahoos.

    The theories we all read of who those criminals were:
    1. Rabid and drunk Eagles fans before an Eagles/Vikings game.
    2. Rabid and drunk racist activists who were so offended, in this century, with the history that Vikings came to and went from this continent so long ago. Oh, bring me the smelling salts!

    Has anyone been arrested for that destruction of property and of our city’s art?

    The Viking, located in its commanding spot, has been a significant part of the whole gift of the Samuel’s Memorial along that stretch of the river; it must be reinstalled back to its original location.

    Rowers still use the phantom location of the Viking, which had been there for about 100 years, as a destination in practices and in races by saying, “Race you to the Viking.”

  3. How about putting Hiz Honor’s likeness atop the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice (a/k/a the Criminal Court Building) so that he can forever wave to Billy Penn – another Philly foundational racist?

  4. What is it with Philly and statues?! Kate Smith, Frank Rizzo, Christopher Columbus… who’s next?

    1. If I remember correctly, the mayor of North Wildwood said he would be glad to have Kate Smith. I don’t recall if he said on the boardwalk or at City Hall. But that would be awesome if North Wildwood could get Kate Smith statue.

  5. Perhaps the steps of the Union League would be an appropriate landing spot for HizHonnor’s statue? City Hall Courtyard, as I recall, was where the statue was initially contemplated but DPP (Public Property) was embarking on the total rehab of the couirtyard exterior of City Hall and the statue it landed on the MSB steps.

  6. A win for people in Philadelphia! Statue may not seem like much, but, it is part of Philadelphia culture. Yes Kate Smith with the Flyers, Frank Rizzo for the city and Police, and Christopher Columbus for Italian Americans and South Philly. It’s also time to take any other statue out of mothballs.

  7. A win for people in Philadelphia! Statue may not seem like much, but, it is part of Philadelphia culture.

  8. First off, I could care less about ANY statues. They mean nothing to me. Secondly, Rizzo’s legacy in Philadelphia is much debated. There are many sides to this story, some of which are pointed out here. https://www.vice.com/en/article/kwxp3m/remembering-frank-rizzo-the-most-notorious-cop-in-philadelphia-history-1022 and here https://religionlab.virginia.edu/projects/the-citys-salvation-frank-rizzo-and-white-christian-nationalism-in-philadelphia/. I personally, keep an open mind to everything. Opinions vary. The important thing about history is that you learn from it so mistakes are not repeated.

    1. Nick, the first piece is written by a well-known leftist, who is entitled to his own opinion, NOT his own facts. Most of his diatribe is about police brutality, which existed before and after Rizzo. The author even says the cops beat the crap out of everyone. HOWEVER, per the infamous drop your pants Black Panther raid, RIZZO WAS NOT THERE. The famous nightstick in cummband picture was another event. The Black Panther picture was taken by a Daily News photographer who told me, as I am telling you, RIZZO WAS NOT THERE. That is a myth, or a lie. Your choice.
      The “Get their black asses: remark? Yes, he said that. And that is about the ONLY racial remark attributed to Rizzo, who, As I noted, was endorsed by the Black Clergy. You simply can’t ignore those facts.
      As to white national Christianity, well, that’s a new one and just f’n crap. Pure fantasy with no factual foundation.

      1. Correction: George Ingram, who was the Inquirer reporter on the scene and wrote the article the day of the School District protests, has repeatedly corrected that Rizzo NEVER said “Get their black asses” and it was never reported that way either. He said “get their asses” and the “black” was added in decades later by race baiters.

        You can read Ingram’s first hand correction that was published in Philadelphia Magazine in 2014 here: https://www.facebook.com/34183863533/photos/pb.100048729952545.-2207520000/10152690512473534/?type=3

        It was not his first correction, however. He corrects the record every time his original quote is misquoted to include “black”.

  9. I think you broke a record on number of negative adjectives used to describe Kenney. Well said. One of the worst mayors and human beings ever….

      1. Thanks Stu for bringing this story to our attention. I also want thank Attorney George Bochetto for suing the City for their outrageous behavior in this matter. I hope to see the Rizzo statue in the public square once again.
        And please, as requested by Mr. Gardner Cadwalader, give us updates on the Viking statue (Leif Erickson).
        Jimmy Lynn

  10. I believe the best place to put the Rizzo statue is at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 headquarters on Caroline Road. It could could be placed inside the building next to the restored old time Police Wagon. A place where it would be appreciated.

      1. That would be great. Plus I won’t get mugged there or driving there like I would taking SEPTA downtown.😁

    1. Create a statue of him, then immediately tear it down and dump it in the river. Kenney was the worst mayor this city ever had. Period.

  11. I think the Rizzo Statue should go to the FOP, in Northeast Phila, it is the best, safe place.
    Rizzo made Philadelphia Safe when he was Mayor!

  12. Would the newer constructed space between Saint Rita Di Cascia Church and the new Cascia Center be well suited to place the statue? This is not public property and the church is a national shrine and culturally meaningful to Italian-Americans (such as myself), and fairly neutral. It would be easily visible and in a well profiled place and perhaps with a few good thoughts beforehand to determine the particulars regarding security measures.

    1. The best place to put it would be in Jody Della Barba’s front yard. Where she will guard it with her life and can worship a false idol. As his former personal secretary after he left office she worships the ground he walked on, even though her entire job was making coffee.

      1. You have a very sad life Judah if all you do is obsess over bs lies. Get a hobby. Maybe planting daisies.

        1. I’ve seen your social media, all you do is obsess over lies and worship Trump as if he was the second coming and anointed by God.

          How did it go for you and your son in court after you tried to run over a protestor?

      2. give it a break judah my god your ridiculous comments over and over are boring. Rizzo was a great Mayor for Philadelphia whether you agree or not.

        1. You’re right, Rizzo was a great mayor. He saw invisible Communists behind every protest, used the police force to investigate his pollical enemies, and destroyed 30 homes when he ordered the bombing of MOVE.

          1. First of all, Wilson Goode destroyed 30 homes with bombing of MOVE.. Rizzo wasn’t the mayor in 1985. That alone shows that your a transplant.. get your facts straight. strapper!

  13. Great information for those that don’t know. Love Frank Rizzo, can’t wait for statue to be up again.

  14. I personally never much cared for Frank Rizzo. I have neither thankful memories, nor horrific one of his time as police commissioner and mayor. Never really thought he was that terrific that he deserved a statue. Some however did, and they funded it, and I’m OK with that too. I compare this particular issue to that of Confederate officers (Lee, Jackson, Longstreet, et al) who swore an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States, and then turned traitor. Those statues should never see the light of day again; Rizzo, whatever folks want is OK by me.

  15. They should have just melted it down immediately and not dealt with this horseshit. Rizzo was a terrible mayor, corrupt to the core, dumb as the wall and fascist as they come.

    There’s no wonder that there’s a direct correlation between the dopes who worship this clown and the dopes who worship Trump. They’re very similar in character.

    May what needs to be done, be done.

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