Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Resigns After FBI, IRS, Raid Her Homes, Office

Written by Dana Sanchez
Mayor Pugh
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh walks on the Maryland House of Delegates chamber floor before Gov. Larry Hogan’s annual State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature in Annapolis, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned Thursday — a week after the federal government raided two of her homes, her City Hall office and other locations.

Although she has not been charged with a crime, Pugh apologized, NPR reported.

“I am 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,” she said in a letter read by her lawyer Steve Silverman.

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The city’s ethics board is investigating whether any laws or ethics rules have been violated, according to Maryland’s Office of State Prosecutor.

A Democrat, the city’s top elected official is under investigation for alleged “self-dealing” connected to the sale of a self-published children’s book series. 

Pugh took an indefinite paid leave of absence on April 1, citing health reasons. She had pneumonia and was hospitalized for five days at the end of March.

In what has become known as the Healthy Holly scandal, Pugh is accused of selling her book to entities that she had influence over or who were seeking to do business with the city.

The FBI Baltimore office and IRS Criminal Division searched Pugh’s home, a business address, an aide’s home, and Baltimore City Hall, an FBI spokesman said. Three FBI agents were seen entering and exiting her home and removing boxes from garages, WBALTV reported a week ago.

The Healthy Holly books are about a young Black girl who promotes nutrition and exercise.

Pugh has been accused of not properly disclosing the Healthy Holly business in ethics forms, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Pugh sold books for $500,000 to the University of Maryland Medical System, whose board she served on while she was a public official.

Kaiser Permanente paid Pugh more than $100,000 for her books at a time when the city’s spending board, which Pugh controlled, awarded the insurer a $48 million contract to provide health insurance to city employees, according to USA Today.

The nonprofit Associated Black Charities says it collected nearly $90,000 to buy and distribute Pugh’s books, forwarding nearly $80,000 to Pugh’s company and keeping the rest.

Pugh realizes her support as the city’s top leader has all but evaporated, NPR reported.