A forensics lab claims with 85 percent certainty that the voice belongs to councilwoman Marie Strumolo Burke. She has strongly denied that she made any racist comments, however.
In the voice mail in question, an associate named Sammy was apparently leaving a message for another town official about local politics, when he alluded to a big increase in the town’s property taxes. A woman in the background can be heard shouting, “This is terrible. This is terrible. This is gonna be a f*****g n****r town.” See embed below (Warning: language].
Belleville Mayor Raymond Kimble, who is running for reelection, obtained the tape in October, but made the lab’s findings public just yesterday. He is calling for Burke’s resignation from the town council, where she has served for 10 years.
In a statement today, Kimble asserted that “… The trust that they placed in one of their elected officials has been violated in the most offensive manner. National and local revelations this week have reminded us all that racism and bigotry is alive and well, but they have also shown that it cannot and will not be tolerated, and that swift and decisive action is required when it is exposed. live and well, but they have also shown that it cannot and will not be tolerated, and that swift and decisive action is required when it is exposed.”
According to Strumolo Burke, it’s just dirty politics by her opponent in the mayoral election: “I am outraged and I am 100% certain that Kimble’s fingerprints are all over this report. We don’t need to pay thousands of dollars to a laboratory to prove that these false accusations lead right back to Kimble.” Separately, Burke said that “I’m not resigning. I’ve nothing to resign about.”
The Belleville, N.J. mayoral election is May 10.