‘You betrayed the trust’: Vince Fumo attacks Mayor Jim Kenney for Rizzo removal

“Jimmy I thought that I had raised you politically better than to be a liar and a thief in the night,” wrote the former state senator.

Vince Fumo (left) and Jim Kenney (right). (AP Photo and Emma Lee/WHYY)

Vince Fumo (left) and Jim Kenney (right). (AP Photo and Emma Lee/WHYY)

As many across the city rejoiced in the removal of the Frank Rizzo statue in Center City, there is at least one Philly politico who was not pleased.

Enter former South Philly state Sen. Vince Fumo to the mix. Fumo represented Kenney’s former stomping grounds until a 2009 conviction for defrauding the state and multiple charities of $3.5 million by having his employees remodel his mansion and spy on a former lover.

In a long post on his personal Facebook page, Fumo railed against Mayor Jim Kenney’s middle-of-the-night removal of the city’s notorious police commissioner turned mayor.

The post — which has a thousand-plus likes and shares, and hundreds of comments — comes as a shock to those who are in-the-know on Philly politics, as Kenney had much of his early career start as chief of staff to Fumo.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

The message reads as an open letter to his former disciple Kenney, in which Fumo said he originally posted it on the mayor’s Facebook page, thinking it would also appear on his own page. “I didn’t know how FB worked,” Fumo writes.

“You fought for this statue to be at that very location,” Fumo wrote. “How hypocritical of you now to remove it saying that it ‘represented bigotry, hatred and oppression for too many people, for too long…”

The Rizzo statue was removed early Wednesday morning from its stand outside the Municipal Services Building after being defaced and set on fire during protests over the police killing of George Floyd. Protesters once again called for its removal due to Rizzo’s tough-on-crime policies that led to the targeting and discrimination against communities of color.

Fumo wrote that he personally opposed Rizzo and some of his policies, claiming to be the only “South Philadelphia Italian elected official” to go against the former mayor, known for urging Philadelphians to “vote white,” and fighting integration as well as brutally policing Black communities.

“I find what you did, under the cover of night, I might add (because you are a p—y and could not do it during the day) to be extremely reprehensible for many reasons,” Fumo wrote.

The once-unstoppable Philly political powerhouse said that by removing the statue, Kenney violated his oath of office — both as mayor and as a former city councilmember. Fumo did not elaborate on which laws Kenney violated.

Fumo went on to say that Kenney is no longer accepted by his South Philly neighbors — because “they, unlike you, are real people who take giving their word seriously.”

“Jimmy I thought that I had raised you politically better than to be a liar and a thief in the night,” Fumo wrote. “But obviously, despite everything I did for you, you betrayed the trust that I and so many other people placed in you.”

Fumo ended the message with a sexist term used to connote weakness.

“I would not have written this response had you not so boastfully posted pride in your actions,” Fumo wrote. “You are a liar, hypocrite and p—y. You do not deserve to be in the seat of Mayor of Philadelphia.”

Fumo maintains a relatively active social media presence — mostly in the form of resharing posts criticizing President Donald Trump. The former state Senator has generally remained out of the political spotlight. Recently, he had commented on the hot-ticket race for his former South Philly seat between incumbent Larry Farnese and Bernie Sanders-backed Nikil Saval.

Get daily updates from WHYY News!

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal