Feds seize potential evidence linked to Baltimore mayor

27 Avril, 2019, 17:01 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh

Early Thursday morning, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS executed search warrants on the embattled mayor's home and offices, presumably in connection to the growing scandal over the highly lucrative book deals she secured while in office and serving on key city boards.

Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigators doubled down by raiding Pugh's home, Baltimore City Hall, Maryland Center for Adult Training and other locations on Thursday. He said he couldn't reveal any more information because the search warrants were sealed.

Pugh's spokesman, James Bentley, said Thursday that he hadn't spoken with the mayor and doesn't know where she is.

Up to this point, Pugh, a Democrat, has continued to resist calls for her resignation, even as the Maryland Office of the State Prosecutor and the city's ethics board have launched investigations into whether the book sales broke any laws or city rules.

For years, Pugh, 69, had negotiated lucrative deals to sell her "Healthy Holly" books to customers. Her office said that she needed time to recover from pneumonia when announcing her leave of absence starting on April 1.

The mayor also had contracts to sell her books to Kaiser-Permanente, which later scored a deal to become an insurance provider for city employees, as well as the Baltimore-based Associated Black Charities, the Baltimore Sun reported. And asked what it would look like if Pugh returned to her duties, he said, "I would hate to see it".

The 69-year-old mayor is now on an indefinite leave of absence due to pneumonia, according to a press statement on April 1.

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"We have too many issues facing the city of Baltimore that require the full-time attention of a full-time mayor", Scott said. She has held public office since 1999, staring her political career with the Baltimore City Council, then moving to the state General Assembly, and the state Senate in 2005. She once led the program at the MCAT building. According to The Sun, Pugh was paid $500,000 by the University of Maryland Medical System for 100,000 of the books to distribute to schoolchildren, a no-bid arrangement she made while she was still on the hospitals unpaid network board.

Schwartzberg said the system is fully cooperating. She sold $500,000 worth of the illustrated paperbacks to the University of Maryland Medical System, on whose board she sat for almost 20 years, AP reported.

When Catherine Pugh was inaugurated as mayor, she vowed to help transform Baltimore into "the greatest city in America".

Members of Pugh's communications staff have said repeatedly that she intends to return to City Hall when she is feeling better, but have declined to provide any timetable. The official would not confirm whether the raids are specifically related to Pugh's ongoing crisis over her book deals.

"The charter is utterly silent on how long the leave can last, exactly what the reasons are for a leave", Davis told reporters.

Less than two weeks later, all members of the city council except for Young, who is now serving as acting mayor, penned a two-sentence statement urging the mayor to resign.

If she returned and sought reelection, it's nearly certain Pugh would face a bruising 2020 Democratic primary.

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