County Worker Jedd Bogenschutz Forced To Publicly Apologize For Racist, Bullying Email

Linnaea Mendoza bullying racist email

Linnaea Mendoza was trying to raise financing for her family's new salsa business online, when she received an irate email, including threats and a racial slur, from a Salt Lake County employee, reported local station KTVX-TV. The government worker will be keeping his job, but he was forced to make a public apology.

A year ago, Mendoza and her husband Sergio (both pictured above) were struggling financially. So they decided to turn their respective Italian and Mexican heritages into the perfect condiment. And it was a hit. Residents in the vicinity of their Sandy City, Utah, home can now find Salsitas Mendoza salsa in several stores and farmers markets.

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There was just one problem. Without a $12,000 commercial-kitchen hood, they couldn't make enough to meet demand. The Mendozas tried to raise funds on Kickstarter, and also posted an ad on a website for charity listings.

The ad riled up Jedd Bogenschutz, a 25-year employee of the Salt Lake County Assessor's Office, who then sent Mendoza an uncensored email from his government email address:

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"I respond to people in need in this section that really need it. After reading your ad I had to respond and say are you ... f***ing serious?? your ad had to be the most disgusting ad I have ever read, really taking donations so you can finish a kitchen so you south of the borders can get ahead, you can bet I would never buy any of your garbage, I do have connections, board of health, business license, etc. I will make sure your [sic] on the up and up."

Mendoza says she was less disturbed by the racist connotation of "south of the borders," than by the implication that a government employee could abuse his power to hurt her.

"How far is there a hatred? How far would it go?" she told KTVX-TV. "Will you try to revoke my licenses that I worked so hard for? Will you try to damage my business that's new? You know, we're all in on this. This is everything to my family."

In response, Salt Lake County Assessor Lee Gardner told KTVX-TV that his office did not tolerate bigotry or intimidation from government employees. Bogenschutz wouldn't lose his job, he said, but he would be severely disciplined in a way that was "in no way shape or form ... a slap on the wrist."

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Gardner also called for his employee to apologize on the record. "My thought process is: When an offense is public then the apology or explanation needs to be done in public. That's why I've not only asked, I've requested Jedd to be here to give his explanation."

Bogenschutz did as told, explaining that he didn't think the Mendozas' desire to finish their kitchen qualified as a charitable cause, and sent the email on impulse. "To be honest, not in a million years would I have thought I would have done something so insensitive," he said. "I always felt myself as being an open-minded person willing to accept people's differences as my own, as well, and I'm just absolutely embarrassed."

He also said that he would be apologizing to the Mendozas personally, and the couple claimed they were satisfied. They had no interest, they told KTVX-TV, in causing "any long term damage to his family, just as I didn't want his comments to cause any long-term damage to my family via my business."

On the Salsitas Mendoza Facebook page, Linnaea Mendoza thanked the community for the outpouring of support, focusing on the racial aspect of Bogenschutz's words.

"I feel so blessed when I see how many people stood up to help get the word out about how non-tolerant we are as a community to racism and bullies alike.... I feel truly sorry for anyone willing to miss out on so many beautiful people solely due to the color on their skin or land they were born to."

"As for Sergio and I," she continued, "we would love to get back to the farmers markets where we belong."




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Claire Gordon

Staff Writer

Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.

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pbcp1

What the official said and did was wrong and I see where everyone or a lot of you think he should be fired for his statements.What I would like to ask is,'is this any different than Rahm Emanuel stating publicly that he will make sure that Chick-fil-a doesnt get permits and licensing for any new restaurants in Chicago?

October 18 2012 at 10:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lifehub

This is the type of widespread crap that goes on under the Obama administration viz, corruption, racism, theft, prostitution, et al. Not surprising in the least. Hope this couple can rise above the junk that has been occuring for the past 3+ years.

October 18 2012 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lifehub's comment
lsharp03

All this "crap" has been perpetrated by bigoted, racist, low effort thinkers: REPUBLICANS

October 18 2012 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bigfile4

They do have hutzpah, asking for 'charity' to expand their business. The official on the other hand reminds me of pressure cooker that finally exploded with his pent up racial animus.

October 18 2012 at 9:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
grenfrow

Wouldn't surprise me if he was Mormon. They have a long history of racism.

October 18 2012 at 9:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to grenfrow's comment
lifehub

Harry Reid (D) is the highest ranking Mormon in Congress. Guess ya didn't know that lololol.

October 18 2012 at 10:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
redson7vr

Oh YES, of course THAT was "racism", wow, he said you "south of the border" types, as in "foreigners" as I see it, but try and pin any RACIST Hispanic down for overt racism (remember the Mexicans making red-haired, white-skinned voodoo dolls of the U.S. soccer team to sell to Mexican soccer fans? Or perhaps Jose Angel Gutierrez of "We have to kill the gringo" fame?) and I guarantee you you will get nothing but excuses and see them react as it they're "entitled" to be as racist as they want to be. Yawn, sorry if I don't jump into action with the expected automatic white guilt condemnation response as I've been brainwashed and indoctrinated to by Liberals and mewling-over-any-imagined-slight minorities. When Mexicans and other minorities start owning up to their own racism, then come talk to me about "white racism". Tired of the double racism double standard.

October 18 2012 at 5:02 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to redson7vr's comment
plewdawg

it wasnt rascism. Blatatnt ethnic bias. Mexicans and Italians are not a race.Still very disturbing. I would like to see teh ad that caused this idiot to go off and hopefully lose his job.

October 18 2012 at 9:03 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
buddymaine

This country is going to HELL in a handbasket. We have gone back to the 50's and 60's as far as racism, bigotry and hatred. THANK YOU GOT AND TEABAGGERS!

October 18 2012 at 3:00 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to buddymaine's comment
lifehub

buddymaine---typical lib-lobe.

October 18 2012 at 10:07 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lifehub's comment
lsharp03

lifehub: typical low effort thinker.

October 18 2012 at 10:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
dminkel

Really just kidding, I am so sorry, I got caught being a bigot, Vote for Obama I mean Romney, Oh my God I will lose my job if I don't apologise to these immigrants who don't belong here, because white should be in the white house. Just kidding

October 18 2012 at 1:23 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
English

Ah, America, where everyone gets a fair chance. As we tell other countries, constantly.

October 17 2012 at 9:24 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to English's comment
plewdawg

Point is....they will and a nice suit check from the county.Kaching! They got their kitchen. (I wonder if he said this to AID them in getting their kitchen..........................? Naw, too far fetched, huh?

October 18 2012 at 9:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mgroteii

Should have been canned before he had a chance to offer an insincere appology.

October 17 2012 at 9:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
stortoriel

Honestly, this guy wasn'y fired? What a bigot. He must have some pretty good connections to retain his job. Everyone has an opinion but using your county email to racially slander and threaten a private citizen is outrageous.

October 17 2012 at 6:09 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to stortoriel's comment
bueybeast

It's only a "bad thing" if you're white. Otherwise it doesn't even make the news

October 17 2012 at 8:51 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
pbcp1

Honestly,why wasnt Rahm Emanuel fired for the same reasons you think this guy should be fired for?It wasnt right and it was bad taste but if he should be fired then others like Emanuel should be fired too and then maybe it would be fair to everyone.

October 18 2012 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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