A thorough fact check of the Human Rights Commission’s (“HRC”) Report found over 100 falsehoods, misleading statements, quotes taken out of context, intentional omission of refuting evidence, and attempts to untruthfully associate Bogert with the wrongdoings of other individuals and/or institutions. (see examples on pgs 64-69)
Significant portions of the Report are plagiarized (examples on pgs 70-71).
The Report’s most cited source is an essay written by a college graduate student. This graduate student’s essay is written in a persuasive and opinionated prose, and would not pass as a objective journalistic piece. The HRC injects subjective, sensationalized sections of the essay verbatim into its own Report, and deceptively attempts to pass these sections off as objective, irrefutable facts. (pgs 4, 70-71)
Efforts to remove the statue are politically and ideologically motivated as confirmed by Ron deHarte, the HRC’s Chairman, who said: “Some may feel that the recommendation to move the monument is a political effort made to appease one other group. Well, they are indeed correct.” (pg 5)
The Report is rampant with ideological language such as “whiteness, white privilege, and anti-racist values”. The HRC cites numerous radical and polarizing sources, including publications that promote Critical Race Theory. The Report is neither an impartial nor apolitical review of Bogert or Section 14 - instead the HRC retroactively critiques Bogert through the lens of a present day, polarizing ideology (pg 6).
The contents of the Report and the process by which the Resolution to remove the statue was conducted, were strongly criticized by HRC commissioner Terrie Andrade. In a series of emails and letters, Ms. Andrade states that the Report “gave the appearance of character assassination tactics to achieve a political goal” and asserts that the vilification of Bogert is “an embarrassing account of trial by media in spite of legal documentation to the contrary”. Additionally she criticizes the commission’s approval process to remove the statue and asserts that the entire effort to remove the statue contradicts the Commission’s own stated goals of unifying and educating the community. (pg 5)
The HRC justifies its resolution to move the statue under the premise that Bogert “demonstrated no effort to address the harms caused by (Section 14) evictions.” Not only is this premise completely false, but the HRC on numerous occasions intentionally omits evidence that would have directly refuted its very premise to remove the statue (pgs 4, 57-64)
The HRC ignored the human rights of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in its Report. Clearing and redeveloping Section 14 was critical to lifting Tribal members out of dire and impoverished conditions. The HRC disregards this crucial fact in order to vilify Bogert. (pgs 10-13)
The Report was insulting to the Tribe and the HRC took quotes out of context from Tribal Elders who were close friends of Bogert's. This prompted prominent families of the Agua Caliente Tribe to call the Report “appalling, disgusting, and slander(ous)”. The families of Richard Milanovich and Pete Siva, both former Tribal Chairs, requested that the HRC remove their family names from the Report and in efforts to defame Bogert. Thus far the HRC has ignored these requests. (pgs 9-10)
The HRC misrepresented Bogert’s conservatorship of Pete Siva. Bernadine Siva, Mr. Siva’s widow provided a lengthy statement setting the record straight and said, “I believe the statue should not be removed or destroyed. Frank Bogert was an Honorable and Honest man.” Despite Chair deHarte’s public assertions to the contrary, Bogert was never “found guilty” of any wrongdoing with regards to his Conservatorship of Mr Siva, nor was any corrective action ordered against him. (pgs 7-9)
Both investigations cited throughout the Report were thoroughly refuted and discredited by numerous individuals and by the Desert Sun. A series of articles by the Managing Editor of the Desert Sun lambasted the Deputy AG’s report (pg 14) and the Rebuttal highlights numerous other falsehoods in the AG’s “findings” (pgs 73-76). The Department of Interior’s Investigation was also discredited by numerous individuals who testified under oath at a Congressional hearing in 1968. (pgs 14-16, 76-81).
Section 14 relocations and evictions were the inevitable consequence of nearly a century of ill-conceived federal laws which prohibited the Tribe from developing its valuable land. (see timeline on pgs 71-73). Upon taking office in 1958, Bogert and the city inherited an unprecedented and complex municipal housing crisis due to these federal laws. During his tenure as Mayor, a confluence of events outside of the city’s control (and to no fault of Bogert’s) had culminated to a point where clearing and redeveloping Section 14 was unavoidable, vital, and inevitable. (pgs 16-22)
The Desert Sun at the time described Bogert as working “tirelessly” to secure low-cost housing for Section 14 residents and to ameliorate the effects of the relocations and evictions. An extensive timeline on pages 57-64 details Bogert’s and the city’s efforts to help Section 14 residents. (pgs 22-23, 57-64)
Bogert cared deeply about the welfare of Section 14 residents and made numerous public statements about the need to find housing for those who were relocated or evicted. (pgs 24-25)
Bogert directly hired the city’s first ever Black employee, Charles Jordan, who was instrumental in helping the city secure its first federally funded housing project in 1968 - this housing project was prioritized for Section 14 residents. (pgs 25-26)
In 1967, the year after leaving office, Bogert partnered with leaders of the Black community to lobby in Washington DC for low-cost housing for Section 14 residents. (pgs 24)
The Rebuttal provides numerous examples of Bogert supporting and fighting for all minority groups, both as Mayor and when he was out of office. A substantial amount of evidence is provided to refute the baseless claims of racism or discriminatory actions. (pgs 28-32)
Numerous photos and exhibits from people or events mentioned in the Rebuttal are provided in Appendix (pgs 36-56)
Numerous members of the Black community, including former Section 14 residents, supported Bogert for Mayor in 1982 (pgs 25-26)