Vinita Park Mayor James McGee's Secretly Recorded Race Comments (AUDIO)

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VinitaPark.org
Mayor James McGee.
Over the course of several months in 2011, eight police officers for the city of Vinita Park were fired, resigned or took jobs with other departments. This was an unprecedented amount of turnover in the small north-county town. More than half the department, including the chief, was suddenly gone.

According to a lawsuit filed by five of those officers, Vinita Park city officials terminated or forced the officers out because they are white. African American officers kept their jobs, and the majority of the replacement hires were black also.

The allegation might sound far-fetched, but attorneys for the officers believe they have a smoking gun -- a secretly recorded conversation of Vinita Park mayor James McGee, the subject of this week's cover story. On the tape, McGee speaks in blunt terms about racial tension in the city and his role in the termination of the white police officers.

See also:
-Feature: Mayor James McGee and the race problem in Vinita Park

McGee is the town's first black mayor; he was elected in 2010. His predecessor, Virginia Bira, held the office since 1984.

A year into his term, the racial makeup of the six-member board of aldermen changed also, unseating two of the town's four white office holders and replacing them with African Americans who were very supportive of the mayor. One of the incumbent aldermen, Celeste McGee, is the mayor's wife.

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Tom Carlson
Read the full story of James McGee and the city of Vinita Park here.
After the board changed, the terminations in the police department rained down. All hirings and firings are handled by a board vote, and though Mayor McGee only votes in the case of a tie, many of his critics say the African American board members always vote the way he wants them to.

The board voted not to reappoint the city's chief of police and to fire four officers. Two more white officers say they were forced to resign and two left for other departments. A year after the first firings, five former officers sued the city for discrimination.

A month later, a former city employee named JaCola Williams made the recording of McGee on a cell phone. Williams had her own troubles with McGee -- she's alleging sexual harassment -- and hoped to record him saying something she could use to prove her case.

On the tape, McGee can be heard bad mouthing the previous, white mayor's administration, lamenting his pay, and talking about the changes in the racial make-up of city hall and the police department.

Continue for a three-minute excerpt and transcription of the tape.


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21 comments
laxx1559
laxx1559

Wow.  White people getting discriminated against for the color of their skin?!  Discrimination is wrong no matter who is doing it, but I somehow find this ironic and a bit amusing.

tdxi
tdxi

It really is a shame they cannot lynch him.

carlray
carlray

I think people will defiantly elect a new mayor no way this guy is getting re elected unless he is like many in office that are corrupt  and has big Corporations in his pockets

lesliepatterson6
lesliepatterson6

Oh and I have the up most respect for one of the Alderman he is the only one that wouldnt back down to the Mayor and wasnt scared of him the rest lol what a joke they would call me or see and would just warn me to please get my daughter out of there he is dirty and how he is using her and NOT 1 of them came forward to help her but want to sneak and talk to her WOW really? You can tell me how respectable and how good I have raised her but allow her to be treated like a dog oh no worse than a dog. All I want to know is how would people feel if it was they child or if they where one that lost they job after working there for years and never seen it coming and had to go home to they family and explain to them that they dont even know why they where fired and hope they have a nice savings put away to make it thru I remember my daughter coming home crying daily how Mayor was doing people asking why and what should she do I had no answers I was too ill to do anything and I had just moved out there not knowing what was going on but the look on the old chief face and the tears in his eyes and it looked as if he had been crying for days when he came to my car one day I dropped JaCola off at work my heart felt like it had stopped for a few this man didnt no how he was gonna make it and he kept sayin he need his insurance that was a crusher it still hurts my heart and the pain I seen in the former public works director eyes and hurt just turned my stomach nothin but hurt I can go on and on but hopefully it will end soon and justice is served

lesliepatterson6
lesliepatterson6

As me being that girls mom and seeing the things she has gone through and me trying to keep her strong has really pissed me off this is just a little of what he has done my daught has been threatened,robbed,jumped,beaten, shall I go on but God has a plan for that man and we know he is behind all this mess but its ok i am a firm believer in KARMA he really do need to have criminal charges brought against him and his wife trust me she has a part in this to she have sent text messages to others saying how they better play they part in getting rid of JaCola or they will go to she is no different than the Mayor this has been out for over a year and Vinita Park kept it hush they been and knew what he had done to my daughter she presented a written statement to the board over a year ago he tried to get rid of her then but they wouldnt let him so they waited til this year and told her they fired her for her attendance well thats what they wrote on her paper but never had a write up or nothing about her attendance WOW but didnt know she recorded that meeting to nothing was said about attendance in the meeting all was about how she leaked out information about the City of Vinita Park lol smh he had his officers escort her out and they harrassed my family so bad after it all came out last year we moved even after we moved JaCola still was working there he had his officers again do his dirty work and harrass us at our new place remind you we are not even in Vinita Park jurisdiction so why were they riding past out house then he finally fired her and we moved again now its in the opening and JaCola gets all kinds of threats even on her job the managers had to make a police report now they see why she is getting the threats so I really pray that my daughter along with all the people that has lost jobs get some closure soon and i pity the people that all played apart of his games because if he would do his family in what makes you think he give a damn about you oh and when I say family I mean his BIOLOGICAL GRANDSON has come forward and made it known how the mayor had him doing some of his dirty work against JaCola because he was trying to get rid of her like I said its alot more to this story you all have on heard bits and pieces it has been non stop every since she reported him and its been over a year ago so you can only imagine what she has been goin thru my daughter is not just emotionally damaged she is mentally damaged behind all this all because she wouldnt sleep with him then he questioned her sexuality, really? So that caused her her job along with she wouldnt do his dirty work.

Kriston Mahr
Kriston Mahr

When you get paid extra for representing a name, what does overtime have to do with it? And why do people with jobs that require daily contact with the public, don't get paid half as much? When is the last time a citizen has spoken to a mayor? And they get paid for that.

Allison Boring
Allison Boring

This is the most entertaining 3:07 minutes ever! This "mayor" sounds like an absolute idiot! Oh wait, he grew up on a plantation he says...Hey white people of Vinita Park, quit pulling up them thar flowers, ya her?

Michael Mahler
Michael Mahler

racism works both ways. No race is immune to having a few jackasses.

Tony Merklin
Tony Merklin

and here's another StL "Einstein"........Stupid Is, What Stupid Does........ya Big Dummie.

Jason Bryson
Jason Bryson

Why doesn't St Louis get rid of all these worthless little jurisdictions that serve only to line the pockets of their needless local politicians pockets. This is appalling, but goes back to the real question of, "Why does Vinita Park have a Mayor?"

stlian
stlian

Hmm...Are both inaudible words "Wellston"

Mike
Mike

The recording doesn't surprise me at all! It's just what I would expect to hear from that group--Amos and Andy, attempting to be important big shots! Well.....maybe it's time for a regime change!

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