Scandal-Plagued Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Resigns

POLITICS & POLICY
Then-state senator Catherine Pugh speaks during a TV interview near the City Hall in Baltimore, Md., in 2015. (File photo: Sait Serkan Gurbuz/Reuters)

Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh resigned Thursday amid a mushrooming corruption scandal. Pugh’s resignation is effective immediately, her attorney Steve Silverman said at a press conference that she herself did not attend.

“Dear citizens of Baltimore, I would like to thank you for allowing me to serve as the 50th mayor. It has been an honor and privilege,” Pugh said in a statement read by Silverman. “I’m sorry for the harm that I have caused to the image of the city of Baltimore and the credibility of the office of the mayor. Baltimore deserves a mayor who can move our great city forward.”

Pugh, 69, came under fire for selling $500,000 in copies of her “Healthy Holly” children’s books to the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) while serving on its board. She also sold 20,000 copies of the books to Kaiser Permanente for $114,000 from 2015 to 2018, and 10,000 copies to Associated Black Charities for nearly $80,000 from 2011 and 2016. She has since resigned her position as a UMMS board member, canceled that deal, and returned the last $100,000 payment from it to UMMS, according to the Baltimore Sun.

“All my income is reported to the IRS and everything is filed,” Pugh said in March, although she refused to release her tax returns. “I don’t know what witch hunt y’all are on, but it’s done. I’ve got 1099s and I pay my taxes and everything is filed.”

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She had originally vowed to to return to her position as mayor after a month’s leave of absence, citing a battle with pneumonia, but federal agents raided her home and City Hall office last week.

City Council president Bernard C. “Jack” Young, who had been acting as mayor in Pugh’s absence, will now take over the job on a permanent basis.

“Although I understand that this ordeal has caused real pain for many Baltimoreans, I promise that we will emerge from it more committed than ever to building a stronger Baltimore,” Young said in a statement.

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