Tuesday, August 17, 2021

In Court, Christopher Columbus Triumphs Over 'Tyrant' Kenney

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Paula Patrick has just reversed a city order to evict the 20-foot-high marble statue of Christopher Columbus from South Philadelphia's Marconi Plaza.

In the process, the judge blasted the Kenney administration for lawless behavior. In a seven-page order, the judge pointed out seven errors of law committed by city officials. At the time, the servants of the woke Mayor Kenney were trying to give the more than 100 year-old statue the bum's rush for the sole benefit of political expediency, without engaging in any due process for removing a historical monument, as mandated under the City Charter.

But yesterday afternoon, Judge Patrick called Kenney and crew on it. 

"It is baffling to this court how the city of Philadelphia wants to remove the statue without any legal basis," Judge Patrick wrote in an order issued this afternoon. "The city's entire argument and case is devoid of any legal foundation."

Under the leadership of Mayor Kenney, who was pandering to social justice protesters, the city tried to justify its unlawful eviction of Columbus by saying the statue posed an imminent threat to public health and safety. The imminent threat?  Alleged "civil unrest" associated with last year's George Floyd protests.

But Judge Patrick found that the city was basing its witch hunt against Columbus on a few "transient and isolated incidents." In the city's legal arguments, the judge found that "no evidence of a history of civil unrest surrounding, and with respect to the statute existed, nor has any been present since June 23, 2020." 

George Bochetto, the lawyer who won the appeal of the city's decision to evict Columbus, had a message for Mayor Kenney last night. 

"I think the mayor needs to take a deep breath and start realizing he was elected mayor of an elaborate city government structured through the city charter, and he was not elected tyrant," Bochetto said.

As far as Bochetto was concerned, by trying to evict Columbus from Marconi Plaza in the middle of the night without any due process, the Kenney administration was engaging in "lawless activity by pandering to a mob of people who wanted to just lash out at something or somebody."

"That's not the way city government's supposed to work," Bochetto said. 

A spokesman for the tyrant, er mayor, Deanna Gamble, responded, "While we are very disappointed with the ruling, we're reviewing it now and exploring all potential options -- including a possible appeal."

Bochetto's appeal was filed on behalf of the Friends of Marconi Plaza v. the City of Philadelphia's Board of License and Inspection Review.

That review board upheld the city of Philadelphia's Historical Commission's decision on July 24, 2020, to call for the removal of the statue. In her order, Judge Patrick reversed the decision of the review board, saying there was no basis in law to justify the board's actions of the actions of the Historical Commission.

The first error the Board of License and Inspection Review made, Judge Patrick said, was ruling that the Friends of Marconi Plaza did not have legal standing to appeal the board's decision to remove the statute of Columbus.

According to the judge, the Friends of Marconi Plaza "have been active caretakers of Marconi Plaza for the past 10 years, and regularly use it for numerous social and fundraising events," she wrote. That's why the friends group has been formally recognized by the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation.

The friends of Marconi Plaza "have a substantial, direct and immediate interest in the outcome of the litigation because removal of the Christopher Columbus statue will impact the nature of the park," the judge wrote. 

The Board of License and Inspection Review committed another error of law by approving the Historical Commission's decision to remove the statue without a "detailed expert report on the process and effect of removal on the statue and Marconi Plaza," as called for by the City Charter, the judge wrote.

The only report the Historical Commission considered, the judge wrote, was "an unauthenticated, unattributed and cursory two-page document entitled 'guidance for marble sculpture removal.' " 

In that two-page report, written by the Historical Commission's staff, the city addressed the fragility of the statue by admitting, "There is a very good chance that parts of the sculpture may crack when it is removed," the judge wrote. 

That's just what happened with the bronze Frank Rizzo statue that was removed in the middle of the night by Kenney, after he allowed the statue to be desecrated by vandals. 

But the Historical Commission staff members who wrote the two-page report were "not qualified to offer their opinions on the condition of the [Columbus] statue," the judge wrote. "To the contrary, those staff members were not independent experts with experience in analyzing historic marble sculpture and transportation."

No, they were just political hacks doing the mayor's bidding.

Another error, the judge wrote, was that the Board of License and Inspection did "not present adequate information or evidence to conclude that safety was or is an ongoing concern at the statue," the judge wrote. "In fact, only isolated incidents in the wake of the George Floyd protests were presented."

Another error -- the Board of License and Inspection Review was required by city law to allow 90 days for public input on the decision to evict Columbus. Instead, the board only allowed 28 days.

The removal of the statue, the judge wrote, constituted a demolition. According to the City Charter, to pull that off, the Historical Commission had to find that removal of the statue was "necessary in the public interest," the judge wrote. But in court the city presented "insufficient evidence to make that determination," the judge wrote.

Instead, the judge wrote, the Historic Commission seemed to forget that their original duty, under the City Charter, is to "preserve and protect historical objects, such as the [Columbus] statue." 

"Approving removal [of the statue] without a detailed, expert report containing any quantitative data with respect to the state of the statue and removal thereupon, was clearly erroneous, arbitrary, and inconsistent with the guiding purpose of the Historical Preservation Ordinance," the judge wrote.

"The city has an obligation to comply with the law and and regulations . . . enacted to govern or guide the orderly process of justice," the judge wrote. "This did not happen here. This is clearly an abuse of discretion as well as arbitrary action."

Take that, Mayor Kenney.

Reacting to the judge's ruling, Bochetto called the Board of License and Inspection Review a "kangaroo court." 

Bochetto said his next move would be to go back to court and seek an order to remove the plywood box that's covered up the statue since last year and kept it from public view.

But last night, the Kenney administration appeared to be digging in.

Kenney is known for repeatedly pandering and surrendering to an invading army of homeless protesters on the Parkway. He also notoriously caved to the demands of Jay-Z and his annual rap-a-thon that to the chagrin of locals, is staged on the Art Museum steps.

But apparently the mayor feels he can continue to thumb his nose at his former constituents and neighbors in South Philadelphia.

"The statue remains in Marconi Plaza and will continue to be secured in its existing box," declared Gamble, Kenney's spokesperson.

Free Columbus! Fire Kenney! 


  1. Liberals are drunk on the power they handed themselves to "control COVID" (even if it means mass-killing the elderly like the Wolf administration did last year) and are pulling stunts like this all over the country. Racism is a disease. Columbus statue is a public health whoopdedoo. Funny how only the liberal-run areas are the ones with all the problems. Liberals are the disease!

    1. Never thought our country would be dealing with all this. We are no longer free to decide what is best for us. What will it take for Democrats to open their eyes and vote Republican!

  2. When is the Rizzo statue being returned?

    1. Ralph - What's new with the lawsuit filed against Kenney for his ethnic assaults on Italians?
      I have not read anything current on that.

    2. Good question about Rizzo statue. It's still being stored in a Northeast warehouse while Bochetto is in court trying to find a private location for the Big Bambino. Kenney tried to have the statue banned from being placed anywhere in the city, public or private, but the judge wouldn't go along with that.

  3. Sometimes the good guys win.

  4. Ralph, Good piece. I grew up and still live near the park and statue in South Philadelphia. Jim Keeney, a former South Philly guy, is not popular in that neighborhood. Free Columbus, Fire Keeney, as you say. And like the other comment, where is the Rizzo statue?

  5. It's being stored in a Northeast Philly warehouse. Bochetto is trying to find a private site for the Big Bambino.

  6. Nothing new yet on the Italian-American lawsuit against Kenney although I just heard that Italy, as in the nation, is supporting the lawsuit.

  7. Okay, based on the elements of the Judge's smackdown to the city's unprofessional and juvenile lawsuit presentation and, of course, my own experience with the crew at 1515 Arch St., 7th Floor (OCS), we should begin presenting the ABC's of the conduct and understanding of those who are assigned to that city function (solicitor) of representing the Mayor, City Council and city departments:




    Only 23 more to go, stay tuned.........

  8. Continuing with the ABC's of the professional conduct and decision-making of the staff of the OCS at 1515 Arch St..........




  9. Continuing with the ABC's of the professional conduct and decision-making by the staff of the OCS at 1515 Arch St..........




  10. Continuing with the ABC's of the professional conduct and decision-making by the staff of the OCS at 1515 Arch St.........





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