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Politics & Government

Burke Denies Claims that Trek Fired her; Calls the Allegations “Character Assassination”

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  Two former executives for Trek Bicycle, who have conservative connections, claim the company let Mary Burke go.

In 1993, the Democratic candidate for governor was head of overseas operations for the company founded by her father. Burke left that job, then returned two years later to take a different position.

Former Trek president Tom Albers told the Associated Press that Burke was fired by her brother John Burke in 1993, because overseas operations “just didn’t work out” and the company was losing money.

Another former Trek executive, Gary Ellerman, told the conservative Wisconsin Reporter website that Burke “was not performing” and “she didn’t understand the bike business.”

Mary Burke and her brother John, the company’s current CEO, deny the claims by Ellerman and Albers. Both Burkes say she left the company in 1993, as Trek reorganized its overseas operations. They say the claims that she was fired are a last-minute attempt at “character assassination” – with less than a week before she faces Republican Gov. Scott Walker at the polls.

Both Ellerman and Albers have conservative ties, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It reports that Ellerman is chair of the Jefferson County Republican Party. He also was one of the Republicans who ran as a “fake Democrat” in the 2012 state Senate recall elections, in an attempt to assist Republican incumbents. The report states that Albers considers himself to be a conservative and has contributed to Republican candidates; however, he says he is not active in GOP politics.

The Journal Sentinel adds that Ellerman’s job record with Trek was rocky. The article quotes a Trek statement, saying Trek fired Ellerman for poor performance.