Madison Alder, Former Trek Executive, Counters GOP Lies About Mary Burke

There is no shortage of backlash over the lies the GOP unleashed this week concerning Mary Burke and her time at Trek Bicycle.

A Madison alder who worked for Trek Bicycle in the 1990s and 2000s says media accounts suggesting Mary Burke was let go from her family’s company don’t jibe with what she knows.

Denise DeMarb, president pro tem of the Madison city council, worked at Trek for nearly 20 years, the last half of which were spent as director of finance. She retired about three years ago.

DeMarb said Thursday that Burke, the Democratic candidate for governor, worked for Trek twice while she was there.

Trek was founded by Burke’s father, Richard, who died in 2008. Burke’s brother, John, now serves as president and CEO.

DeMarb called into question the credibility of Gary Ellerman, the company’s human resources director at the time, who alleged in a Wisconsin Reporter story that Burke was forced out of her job in 1993. 

Ellerman currently serves as chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party and ran in 2012 as a fake Democrat during the recall elections. His Facebook page, since locked down, previously included a number of crude public posts, including one that referred to First Lady Michelle Obama as “a man” and President Barack Obama as “a homo.” Trek has said he was fired from the company in 2004.

Wisconsin Reporter received $190,000 from the Bradley Foundation in 2012. The foundation is led by Michael Grebe, co-chairman of Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign.

Thomas Albers, who joined the company in 1982 and served as chief operating officer and president from 1993 until 1997, backed up some of Ellerman’s claims. He told the Wisconsin State Journal that Burke “handled herself well,” but said it was his understanding she was fired.

In the same story, Steve Lindenau, head of Trek’s German operations from 1989 to 2001, commended Burke’s leadership.

Both Burke’s campaign and Trek CEO John Burke dismissed the allegations as politically-motivated and untrue.

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