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Baltimore's Self-Publishing Mayor Resigns

Catherine Pugh was under investigation for possibly using her books to disguise kickbacks
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 2, 2019 4:23 PM CDT
In this June 8, 2018 file photo, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh addresses a gathering during the annual meeting of the US Conference of Mayors in Boston.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

(Newser) – Baltimore's mayor resigned under pressure Thursday amid a flurry of investigations into whether she arranged bulk sales of her self-published children's books to disguise hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks, the AP reports. Mayor Catherine Pugh's resignation came exactly a week after her City Hall offices, homes and multiple other locations were raided by FBI and IRS agents. "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," Pugh said in a written statement read by her lawyer, Steven Silverman. A federal grand jury has been empaneled and state and local inquiries are also underway into the roughly $800,000 Pugh made over the years in exchange for her "Healthy Holly" paperbacks about health and nutrition.

Since the book scandal erupted in late March, Pugh's fractured administration has lurched from one crisis to another and various aides have been fired or left City Hall. Her resignation provides a measure of resolution after weeks of uncertainty and mounting pressure for her to step down. Maryland's Republican governor and numerous Democrats had pressed for her resignation, saying she was no longer fit to lead Baltimore. "This was the right decision, as it was clear the mayor could no longer lead effectively," Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "Baltimore City can now begin to move forward." Now that Pugh has resigned, acting Mayor Bernard "Jack" Young automatically becomes the permanent mayor and will not need to be sworn in. Citing deteriorating health following a bout of pneumonia, Pugh, 69, took a paid leave on April 1 and hasn't been seen in public since. (The AP has much more here.)

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