Mark McGrath’s resignation comes after a Times Union story that included transcripts of a voicemail recording in which the now-former District 2 councilman was heard making racists remarks.
The Times Union reported that McGrath did not seem to be directing the remarks at the person he was calling and likely did not realize that the racist rant which included the “N-word” had been recorded before leaving a message for the person he had dialed.
During a phone interview with NEWS10 ABC McGrath said he does not recall the incident although he admits he did recognize his own voice when the TU played him the message.
“I have done everything in my power to apologize for something that happened three years ago. Certainly there’s a lot of people who have accepted it. They’ve been very gracious,” he said.
The Republican says the timing of the voicemail’s release is suspect. Coming around the time he testified before a grand jury regarding an investigation into the sale of city owned property to city employees.
“If someone was so upset about what I said three-and-a-half years ago, why would they keep it for three-and-a-half years?”
McGrath says he does not know the identity of the person he was leaving the message for. He says, in the end, he felt it best to just step down.
After the first story about the voicemail emerged, Rev. George William Whitfield, of the Fifth Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church, wrote an email to McGrath and his fellow council members demanding that he step down.
“I am happy that he did the right thing. To resign,” he said. “You should know that those words are harmful. They have been harmful for many years. So, if it was just yesterday, or three years ago, you shouldn’t have said it.”
Troy City Council President Carmella Mantello says she is proposing that a bipartisan committee of council members and neighborhood residents in District 2 make recommendations to the fill the existing vacancy.