New Jersey mayor apologizes for mom's racist Facebook post

CeFaan Kim Image
Friday, June 8, 2018
New Jersey mayor apologizes for his mother's racist facebook post
CeFaan Kim has more from Palisades Park.

PALISADES PARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Longtime mayor of Palisades Park James Rotundo is disavowing a racist statement his elderly mother posted on Facebook.

"She has no clue about what really goes on. She hasn't left the house in many years. So for her to make those statement are not even close to how she raised me," says Rotundo.

His mother definitely knew she was about to stir trouble on Wednesday. Her post read in part, "Our mayor asked me to be quiet and not say anything. He may never talk to me again. But the truth must prevail."

She went onto say, "Let the expletive Koreans have this expletive town! All of us Americans are sooooo done!"

Rotundo says, "I'm disgusted with her statement. Let me just put that right out there. I think that was a sick comment to make. It was disgusting. But my mother's 80-years-old."

The mayor's mother's post is striking a nerve among local leaders in Bergen County.

Her post went on to say, "I am going to suggest that only English be spoken in our boro hall at least while an American is still the mayor!"

"Shocking. It's the 21st century and it's still happening," says Tenafly Councilmember Daniel Park.

Sarah Kim from the Korean American Assoc. Of NJ says, "Especially hurtful is what she said is we Americans and you Koreans. I am an American as well."

"We're in a country where especially under the current administration, where hate is being said, the words are being said but nothing's getting done. We need to be more vocal," adds community activist Jimmy Chae.

Rotundo's democratic primary re-election bid was held Tuesday, but there hasn't been a winner declared yet because less than 2 dozen votes separate him from his challenger, who is Korean American.

The county Board of Elections says there are 114 provisional ballots still out there.The provisional ballots in this race will be counted on Monday.

Then, depending on the final count, there could be a recount, and then potentially a court battle.

The winner will face no Republican opponent in November.

Rotundo has served as mayor for 14 years and had never faced a primary opponent before.He points out he could not have won so many elections here unless he championed inclusiveness and diversity.

According to the last census, more than half of the borough's population is of Korean heritage.

The mayor says he immediately told his mother to delete the post.

Rotundo says "This is a woman who was upset in my stress about the election and lashed out trying to defend me out of her love for me and just chose poorly her words."


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