June 21, 2021

(Westminster—CA)  The Quang Tri Foundation issues the following response to comments made by Garden Grove resident Robert Harrison during the “public comments period” of the Westminster city council regular meeting on June 9, 2021.  As a matter of policy and tradition, the Board does not make it a practice to respond to individual criticisms or allegations of its activities.  However, the Board would like to take this opportunity to publicly address the misinformation campaign led by Mr. Harrison and a few other individuals, in collusion with various political opponents, whose members are abusing their organizations’ names and mission statements to carry out their own agendas. 

Their activity goes against the wishes of the vast majority of the Vietnamese-American community, the ARVN and US veterans, alike.  This destructive crusade must immediately stop and be exposed for what it really is:  An attempt to eliminate a beautiful monument in Westminster that honors the countless heroes who have fought and died for the cause of freedom during the Vietnam War.  The monument serves as a physical legacy for later generations to learn from and pay tribute.  With the current effort to take down the monument, for whom and which government regime would benefit from this monument NOT being built, and why?

In the past, Mr. Harrison appeared before the city council to oppose all ARVN monuments at Freedom Park, from the construction of the ARVN historical archive, the Hoang Sa Naval Martyrs Memorial, to the current monument project.  In its appreciation of the level of support for these worthy historical projects, the Westminster city council unanimously approved them, knowing that they bring many benefits to the city and its residents.

And now, after months of lobbying and cajoling a number of individuals in the Vietnamese community who have been political opponents of the council majority during the Westminster Recall in April 2020, he is loudly exclaiming that the community is against the monument, citing that 17 veteran organizations have come out against it in an attempt to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes.  What type of entities are these?  What status are they in, and who are managing them?  The deception falls apart with just a simple check on their legal and tax filing status with the California Secretary of State and the Franchise Tax Board.  Anyone can go on the official websites of these agencies and find out for themselves.       

A background vetting of these 17 Vietnamese groups, which also include a community group with a grand-sounding title headed by Mr. Phat Bui, another Garden Grove resident and an avowed opponent of Council members Tri Ta, Kimberly Ho and Charlie Nguyen, reveal a disturbing reality with at least two thirds of these groups.  According to public reports from the California Secretary of State and the Franchise Tax Board, seven groups out of the 17 are either listed as “dissolved” or “suspended” by the SOS or FTB, including the group Bui currently heads.  Another four could not be found anywhere with these agencies and are likely not registered with the state authorities. 

And most comical, one of the named opponents of the project and another Garden Grove resident, Mr. Richard Bui Dep, listed himself as representing not one, but three different groups of Vietnamese veterans opposing the monument project, all at the same time!  Two of these groups are not even registered and have no legal standing with the state.  With Richard Bui Dep, this is not a one-man band scenario, but a one-man, three band power-grab.  In reality, there is no power to grab here, but the illusion of grandeur held by a few of these individuals who figuratively love to pin general stars on their own shoulders, but they have no troops to command, nor any sizable following.  Please see attached list on the current legal and tax status of these 17 groups.       

The Foundation has exposed the high hypocrisy and falsehoods being peddled by the monument’s opponents, all of which have been taken apart and discredited in various public fora in the community.   Let’s address them again, point-by-point, with facts:

FACT # 1.    Real opposition/No real reason — Who would oppose the monument and why?  Opponents of the monument falsely claim that there is a lot opposition, citing a dozen or so Southern California-based ARVN groups and that “thousands had spoken out against the project” on social media and email groups(?).  Let’s also include a community organization headed by Mr. Bui, a political ally of Harrison and the various local groups mentioned above, who is working hand-in-glove with each other to sabotage this monument.   It is no secret that Bui, who claimed the helm of an organization fraught with controversy and election irregularities, is an established opponent of several members of the Foundation Board.   It is also a known fact that Bui and some key members of these local ARVN groups are sympathetic to, and may have actively participated in, an ill-fated campaign to recall Mayor Ta, councilmembers Nguyen and Ho in the 2020 Westminster Recall Election.  Funded with money from a

highly controversial and divisive Los Angeles-based businessman, some of these very same individuals may have aided and abetted him in his losing effort to unseat the three above-named councilmembers.  As a result, they were defeated in the Recall campaign and failed again in unseating these three councilmembers less than seven months later in the 2020 November election. 

The series of campaign losses, among other personal grudges, was a bitter pill for some of these individuals to swallow and their simmering animosity against some Foundation members turned to opposition of the monument, which is contrary to the ideals of their own standing as ARVN veterans.  This opposition is driven by misplaced passion, emotion, personal grudges, and jealousy.  How is it logical that some ARVN veterans, for whatever reason, can oppose a popularly-supported monument that honors their fellow veterans who have sacrificed their own lives for the cause of Vietnamese freedom?   It makes absolutely no sense for these ARVN vets to take such an untenable position, to which they are receiving the recrimination and ridicule of the community.

To add insult to injury, it is some of these very same ARVN opponents, who are now so vocal with their opposition statements and declarations, but yet, were completely silent when the above-referenced LA businessman repeatedly and publicly humiliated the honor of all ARVN personnel, demeaning them as cowards who ran away like “a bunch of ducks” in the face of the invading communists.  One has to ask where were these ARVN groups when the honor of the ARVN was viciously maligned right under their noses.  What credibility do they have now when they failed to speak up to protect the honor of the ARVN and that of their fellow veterans? 

FACT # 2.    Complete Transparency — The idea of the Quang Tri Victory Monument originated from Mayor Tri Ta, who wanted to honor the historic victory of the ARVN against the invading North Vietnamese Communists in the massive Second Easter Offensive of 1972, which culminated in their final defeat in Quang Tri Province and the recapture of the historic Quang Tri Citadel by ARVN forces, with US air and naval support, on September 16, 1972.  ARVN veterans of the Offensive and community leaders from throughout California and the US were individually consulted and briefed of this project before, during, and after it was unanimously passed by the city council on December 9, 2020.  Similar to the council vote, everyone consulted fully appreciate the significance of this project and the educational value it will bring to the community, especially with later generations.

Please visit the Foundation’s website,, to view a partial list of literally hundreds of individuals, veterans (flag officers to enlisted), civic groups, donors, and media organizations that have given their wealth, time, and resource to the building of the Quang Tri Victory Monument.   Major monument-related activities are timely published on the Foundation’s official website as well as community announcements and updates being disseminated on Vietnamese-language radio and TV programs on a regular basis.  There is no merit to the claim that the activities of the Foundation or that of its board members lacks transparency.     

FACT # 3.    Full Opportunity to be Heard — It should be noted that the staff report to the city council on this item provided ample details, including renderings and site plans.  All of this information was published prior to the council hearing according to state legal publication requirements, and opponents as well as supporters alike have the same opportunity to attend to provide their comments if they chose.  The fact that Harrison, a non-resident of Westminster, knew about this council item and timely showed up to oppose this monument project fatally undercut his own contention that this was a “rush process” or that “the monument project  “did not sufficiently hold community meetings to get public input”.   He made his complaints for complaining sake, but failed to articulate how this project is being rushed and, from which selected groups to obtain input, other than “the community at large” should be involved.   

Despite complaints from opponents, whose issues have been meticulously addressed and answered repeatedly by Foundation representatives, the Foundation continues to reach out to these individuals to impress upon them that this monument project is much more important than any one group or individual, and that they should shed their personal or factional biases and disgruntlements, to join hands in the common effort to build this monument.  The Foundation has its doors open to supporters and opponents alike, and constructive ideas to improve this project are always welcomed.             

FACT #  4.   Real support for Foundation and monument — The Foundation is well aware that there is opposition to the monument, but the reasons for opposing the monument are not credible and make little sense.  Harrison and his anti-monument allies, including some of these ARVN groups, have recycled old allegations that the Foundation had repeatedly addressed, in detailed writing, on the air waves, and also in direct conversations with these individuals.  Their protestations are nothing new and yet they refuse to listen, or are unwilling to accept the Foundation’s explanations.  The Foundation has more than once reached out to key members of these groups, but for whatever personally held grudges and biases, they decline to meet the Foundation half-way.   Incredulously, six months after the monument is approved and three months before its completion, they now come out to oppose its construction!  This action is irresponsible at best and, at worse, reckless. 

Hundreds of ARVN vets, from generals and admirals to enlisted men and women, wholeheartedly support this monument project.  They have volunteered to serve on the Foundation’s advisory and sponsorship boards.  They and their family members have also donated time and thousands of dollars to the monument’s construction, which is scheduled to be completed by mid-September.  The unequivocal support for the Foundation’s work from so many individuals and organizations from around the country is a true source of inspiration, motivating its members to successfully complete this

project with deliberate speed.  The true heroism of ARVN soldiers must be told.  The community expects no less.  And the next generation deserves better.

FACT # 5.    Beware of false claims — The Foundation is a non-profit organization duly created for educational and charitable purposes under the laws of the State of California.  As such, it has the right to fundraise for these intended purposes while having already applied for federal tax–exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service under Section 501(c)3.  The Foundation is currently active and in good legal standing with state and federal authorities.  It is irresponsible and malicious for opponents to falsely claim otherwise.  The attempt to discredit the Foundation and its work, however, petty and pernicious, only serves to undermine the overwhelming support this monument project is receiving from the community at large.  Again, please refer to the Foundation’s website to learn more about the foundation’s good work and the diverse groups of supporters and organizations that have joined in this project.  



9141 BOLSA AVE., SUITE 303



Recommended Articles

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *