Catherine pugh maryland

Catherine pugh maryland DEFAULT

Inside The Case: How Federal Agents Built Their Investigation Into Catherine Pugh’s ‘Healthy Holly’ Book Scandal

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Two years ago this month, Catherine Pugh resigned as mayor of Baltimore in disgrace. The once-powerful politician is now serving three years in an Alabama prison in one of the city’s biggest public corruption scandals.

Now that all of the defendants in the scheme that lead to her downfall have been sentenced, representatives of the FBI and IRS can speak about the case.

READ MORE: New Ethics Reforms Hope To Bring An End To Political Scandals

WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren sat down with them in an interview at the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office in Woodlawn. They stressed many federal and state investigators worked together to uncover the corruption the former mayor was trying to hide from public view.

“These cases highlight the collaborative work that our agencies do together,“ said Special Agent Veronica Kyriakides with the Internal Revenue Service.

“[Pugh] was trying to cover her tracks as quickly as she could,” FBI Special Agent Christine Parr said. “We collected a lot of information. We served more than 350 federal grand jury subpoenas. We did more than 80 interviews. We did, you know, more than 20 search warrants.“

The investigations began just weeks after Pugh settled into the mayor’s office. Investigators discovered her close aide Gary Brown, Jr. was disguising thousands of dollars in donations that helped Pugh win a tight mayoral primary.

But where was the money coming from? Some digging revealed an unlikely source: “Healthy Holly,’” Pugh’s children’s book series.

“It started just by looking at records, financial documents,” Parr said. “…Not only was she defrauding from the books, but she was using that money she earned from the books to also get people to do straw donations through Gary Brown.”

“It seemed like from the beginning, it was a scheme to make money and also to use it for her campaign.”

Agent Parr brought some evidence to show WJZ at our interview. It included a few of the Healthy Holly books.

The thousands recovered are set to be destroyed.

She also showed us the onesies, bibs and jump rope that the mayor once said were part of an expanded Healthy Holly line of products.

They had not been publicly seen since Pugh’s bizarre press conference in March of 2019 where she spoke in a whisper and showed off the items at city hall.

“We knew a lot at the time, but we didn’t know about the baby clothing line,” Parr said. “She made it seem like this was a big enterprise she had, but it wasn’t. She didn’t have these clothes ready to sell or anything like that.”

“She knew exactly what happened, Parr said. “Her statements to the press that she didn’t know where that money came from are absolutely false.”

Pugh used her position on the board of the University of Maryland Medical System to get them to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on her books, which cost little to produce. Many were supposed to be donated to city schools, which found them unusable.
“It had severe grammatical errors, where the school system had to then edit the copy,” Parr said. “…So it wasn’t as if she had this great book she wanted to get to kids because they need to be healthy. It was a way for her to make money, and a way for her to get her name out.”

On top of it, Pugh was only delivering a fraction of the books—sometimes selling the same ones again to others who did business with the city and pocketing the cash and not reporting it on her taxes.
“I think we’re hopeful,” said IRS Special Agent Kyriakides when asked if they would recover all that was lost. “People want to know that elected officials will also be held accountable for their crimes.”

READ MORE: Catherine Pugh Scandal: Here Are The 5 Places The Feds Raided In Baltimore

Parr noted, “She was ordering books that wasn’t printing and then she was double selling them. That’s brazen.”

Agent Parr helped carry out the then-unprecedented raid on City Hall during the probe. Other investigators carried out another raid that same day at Pugh’s large new home in Ashburton, bought with Healthy Holly proceeds.

“Before we could get a chance to execute our warrants, she jumped on the phone and tried to order 40,000 more of the books,” Parr said of the cover up.

“We don’t want to ruin someone’s reputation based on a maybe. We’re very sure before we go into someone’s house that we have a good case,“ Parr said

Parr said Pugh hid her cell phone from authorities who had a warrant for it.

“She did not cooperate. She gave her phone to her sister. So one of the agents called her personal phone and it was ringing, vibrating in her bed, hidden under her covers,” Parr recalled. “But we were very professional. We brought a nurse with us. She was 69 years old. So our nurse held her hand while we searched her house until her attorneys got there.”

The reality was sinking in for the embattled mayor.

“I think she was shaken and she started to feel the impact of the seriousness of what she had done,” said Parr.

It was difficult to track down all of the Healthy Holly books.

“Some of them were in a storage unit at the Baltimore City Public Schools. Some of them were in Catherine Pugh‘s home. Some of them were at City Hall. Some of them were at a storage unit belonging to a friend of hers,“ the special agent said. “She didn’t just store them. She use them as campaign pamphlets, campaign giveaways. So there’s no way to track all of them down.“

As for Pugh, in public remarks after her federal sentencing last year, she claimed she learned her lesson.

“None of this was intentional,” Pugh told reporters.

“I think the first thing I should do is apologize to the citizens of Baltimore, who put their faith and trust in me as their mayor,” she said.

Earlier this year, Pugh begged then-President Trump for clemency to get her out of prison. He never granted her request.

“What message do you hope this case sends to the public?” Hellgren asked Parr. “We want public officials to follow the rules. We want them not to use their office for personal gain. That’s really what it comes down to,” Parr said.

“It’s a shame that public officials abuse their position of trust. And it seems to have been a past issue with Baltimore. This case brings it up again. Hopefully, the voters can find people they trust to lead this community in the right direction.”

MORE NEWS: TIMELINE: Mayor Catherine Pugh’s ‘Healthy Holly’ Book Scandal

Other public officials ensnared in recent investigations include former state Senator Nathaniel Oaks, former Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl DeSousa and former Delegate Cheryl Glenn. Federal investigators also sent many members of the Baltimore police Gun Trace Task Force to prison.


Justice News

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow today sentenced Catherine Elizabeth Pugh, age 69, of Baltimore, Maryland, to three years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and two counts of tax evasion.  Judge Chasanow also ordered Pugh to pay $411,948 in restitution and to forfeit $669,688 including property on Ellamont Road in Baltimore and $17,800 from the Committee to Re-elect Catherine Pugh.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.

“Baltimore City faces many pressing issues, and we need our leaders to place the interests of the citizens above their own,” said United States Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Catherine Pugh betrayed the public trust for her personal gain and now faces three years in federal prison, where there is no parole—ever.  Law enforcement will remain vigilant to ensure that our citizens receive the honesty and professionalism they deserve from government officials and will prosecute officials who betray the public’s trust.” 

“The defendant's scheme to cheat the taxpayers of Baltimore was as bold as it was brazen, and today's sentence shows that the punishment for those actions is swift and severe,” said Alfred Watson, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Baltimore Division of the FBI.  “The public has a right to expect and demand honesty and integrity from their public servants and the FBI stands ready with our law enforcement partners to uphold those principals in our system.”

“Today, Catherine Pugh learned the consequences of her actions.  When those in positions of trust conspire to defraud the government and engage in corrupt ventures, they must be held accountable,” said IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson.  “We will continue to pursue justice against those whose actions deteriorate the confidence of the citizens that they were elected to serve.” 

According to her plea agreement, from approximately 2007 through 2016 Pugh served in the Maryland State Senate, where she served on various legislative committees, including the Senate Health Committee.  In 2011, Pugh ran an unsuccessful campaign to be mayor of Baltimore.  In September 2015, Pugh again ran for mayor of Baltimore, and won, becoming Mayor on December 6, 2016.  Pugh owned Healthy Holly, LLC, a company formed in Maryland on January 14, 2011, and used to publish and sell children’s books she had written.  Pugh also owned Catherine E. Pugh and Company, Inc., a marketing and public relations consulting company organized in Maryland in 1997.  The principal address for both companies was Pugh’s residence in Baltimore.  Pugh was also the sole signatory on the Healthy Holly and Pugh Company bank accounts.  Pugh did not maintain a personal bank account, using her business bank accounts for personal and business finances.  

Between June 2011 and August 2017, four Healthy Holly books were published, with each book listing “Catherine Pugh” as author.  The vast majority of books published by Healthy Holly were marketed and sold directly to non-profit organizations and foundations, many of whom did business or attempted to do business with the Maryland and Baltimore City governments.

From approximately 2011 until December 2016, Gary Brown, Jr. worked as a legislative aide to Pugh.  Brown actively campaigned for Pugh’s reelection to the State Senate in 2014 and served as her campaign aide during her 2016 mayoral election campaign.  Following Pugh’s election and inauguration as mayor of Baltimore City in December 2016, Brown was hired as the Deputy Director of Special Events in the mayor’s office.  In December 2016, Brown was nominated by the Maryland Democratic Central Committee to fill the vacancy in the Maryland House of Delegates created by Pugh’s mayoral victory.  However, the Governor withdrew Brown’s nomination after he was indicted for election law violations in January 2017.

Brown was the sole owner and operator of Stricker Abstracting, LLC, and GB Abstracting, LLC, both Maryland companies that purported to be title-abstracting businesses, and GBJ Consulting, LLC, a Maryland consulting business.  Brown ran all three companies from his residences in Baltimore.  Brown also freelanced as a tax return preparer.  Between March 2011 until March 2019, Brown helped Pugh promote and sell the Healthy Holly books.  Brown oversaw the transportation and storage of the books, drafted invoices, and corresponded with purchasers.  Much of Brown’s work on Healthy Holly occurred during work hours while serving as Pugh’s legislative aide and mayoral staff member.  Brown was not an employee of Healthy Holly and received no salary or compensation until approximately mid-2016 when he started to get sales commissions.  None of his companies received compensation for services purportedly provided to Healthy Holly.

Wire Fraud

Pugh admitted that from November 2011 until March 2019, she conspired with Gary Brown to defraud purchasers of Healthy Holly books in order to enrich themselves, promote Pugh’s political career, and fund her campaign for mayor.  Pugh and Brown admitted that they employed several methods to defraud, including: not delivering books after accepting payments for the books; accepting payments for books to be delivered to a third party on behalf of a purchaser, then converting some or all of the purchased books to their own use without the purchaser’s or third party’s knowledge; and by double-selling books without either purchaser’s knowledge or consent.  Pugh stored quantities of fraudulently obtained Healthy Holly books at various locations, including Pugh’s residence, her state legislative offices, her mayoral office, the War Memorial building in Baltimore City, and a public storage locker used by Pugh’s mayoral campaign.  

Specifically, Pugh admitted that she sold approximately 20,000 each of Healthy Holly books one, two, and three to the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) for $100,000 each.  UMMS agreed to the purchase on the condition that it be on behalf of, and for distribution to, school children in the Baltimore City Public School system (BCPS), in part, to further the mission of UMMS’s community outreach program.  As part of the agreement Pugh was to deliver the donated books to BCPS.

As detailed in her plea agreement, Pugh did not deliver the full 20,000 Healthy Holly books one, two, and three that UMMS purchased to BCPS, instead keeping some of the books for herself.  In addition, Pugh sold to unwitting purchasers copies of Healthy Holly books one, two, and three that had already been sold to UMMS and donated to BCPS.  Pugh used Associated Black Charities, a Baltimore-based public charity, to facilitate the resale and distribution of the books to new purchasers.  Neither the charity nor the new purchasers knew that Pugh was double-selling the books.  Pugh also accepted payment for books that were never delivered to the purchaser.

Conspiracy to Defraud the United States/Tax Evasion

Pugh further admitted that she used the proceeds of the sale of fraudulently obtained Healthy Holly books for her own purposes, including: to fund straw donations to Pugh’s mayoral election campaign; and to fund the purchase and renovation of a house in Baltimore City.

Specifically, Pugh issued Healthy Holly checks payable to Brown, for the purpose of funding straw donations to the Committee to Elect Catherine Pugh.  Brown cashed the checks and used the untraceable cash to fund money orders, debit cards, and personal checks in the names of straw donors totaling approximately $35,800.  The straw donations purchased with the cash were then deposited into the bank account of the Committee to Elect Catherine Pugh.  Pugh wrote additional Healthy Holly checks to Brown totaling $26,300, which he cashed and gave the cash to Pugh.  In total, Brown and Pugh cashed out approximately $62,100 of Healthy Holly checks during 2016, all of which went to straw donors or Pugh.  To conceal the scheme, Brown and Pugh created the pretense of a legitimate business relationship between Brown and Healthy Holly.  In furtherance of the pretense, Pugh and Brown signed an independent contractor agreement between Healthy Holly and GBJ Consulting, and Brown created a business ledger that misrepresented the Healthy Holly checks as payments for promotion services rendered by Brown’s company on behalf of Healthy Holly.  At Pugh’s urging, Brown also created bogus GB Consulting invoices and backdated them.

On January 11, 2017, Brown was charged with, and ultimately convicted of, violating Maryland’s election laws for funneling $18,000 of the straw donations to Pugh’s campaign. The Committee to Elect Catherine Pugh issued five checks in the names of three of the straw donors, with a notation in the memo line on each check stating “returned contribution.” In fact, Pugh acknowledges that none of the straw donors received any of the returned money, and instead, at Pugh’s direction, Brown used the money to pay for his legal defense in the state election-law prosecution, a case that had legal implications for Pugh.  

Pugh also admitted that she conspired to evade taxes on the income received from the sales of Healthy Holly books.  To accomplish this, Pugh concealed from the IRS the fact that she created false business expenses to offset the income she received from the sale of books by issuing Healthy Holly checks to Brown for services and/or products purportedly supplied by his company.  Pugh filed false income tax returns for 2015 and 2016, in which she underreported her income.  For example, for tax year 2016 Pugh claimed her taxable income was $31,020 and the tax due was $4,168, when in fact, Pugh’s taxable income was $322,365, with an income tax due of approximately $102,444.

Former Baltimore City employee Gary Brown, Jr., age 38, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, to two counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States, and to filing a false tax return.  Judge Chasanow has not yet scheduled a sentencing date for Brown.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigation for their work in the investigation and thanked the U.S. Department of Labor - Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations - Labor Racketeering and Fraud, the Maryland State Prosecutor’s Office, and the Baltimore City Office of Inspector General for their assistance.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Martin J. Clarke and Leo J. Wise, who prosecuted the case.

# # #

  1. Jesus video clips
  2. 1945 chevrolet sedan
  3. First day covers on ebay
  4. P2647 honda pilot

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, Now In Federal Prison, Denied Presidential Clemency

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Disgraced former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh wants out of the Alabama prison where she has been behind bars since June.

Pugh asked outgoing President Donald Trump to commute her sentence and send her home to the mixed reaction of her former constituents. But it was denied in the early morning hours of Jan. 20.

READ MORE: Ravens Marquise Brown Honors Mervo Football Player Who Died Last Week

Catherine Pugh’s Sentence Not Commuted By Outgoing President Trump

Pugh’s clemency request remains pending on the Department of Justice website. Photo: DOJ screenshot

“Why not give it a shot. The worst he can say is ‘no.’” said city resident David Rogers said Tuesday.

Others said Pugh needs to serve her sentence. “The nerve of her!” said another Baltimore resident who declined to give her name. “You do the crime then you pay the time!”

Pugh perhaps hopes the warm welcome she gave to Mr. Trump more than four years ago—when she was the only Baltimore politician to greet him at the Army-Navy game—will come back to help her.

She described that day at a press conference in December 2016.

READ MORE: Ravens Shut Down Herbert, Chargers In 34-6 Victory

“He walked over to me and I said, ‘I am the mayor of Baltimore.’ And he said, ‘I know’” Pugh recalled to reporters at a December 2016 press conference. “I said, ‘I’m very excited about being the mayor of Baltimore. Welcome to Baltimore. I’m so glad to see you in our city.’”

Pugh, who is 70, is serving a sentence of three years.

The ex-mayor enriched herself with more than three-quarters of a million dollars for her ‘Healthy Holly’ books. Many were supposed to go to Baltimore City school children, but few ever did. She re-sold them, with the help of a close aide, to fund her mayoral campaign and line her own pockets.

Back in May 2019, supporters of Pugh held a prayer circle for her on the front lawn of the Northwest Baltimore home federal prosecutors say she purchased with illicit profits.

But the ex-mayor is not the only one who wants clemency from President Trump. Ed Norris, the former head of the city and state police forces, is asking for a pardon of his 2004 federal corruption conviction that he long believed was motivated by politics.

MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Maryland: More Than 800 New Cases & 5 Deaths Reported Sunday

And former Sgt. Thomas Allers who once lead the Gun Trace Task Force, the corrupt Baltimore police squad whose members robbed citizens, also wants President Trump to let him out of his 15-year sentence early.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh resigns amid scandal

Ex-Baltimore Mayor Gets 3 Years In Prison For 'Healthy Holly' Children's Book Scheme

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and her attorney arrive for a sentencing hearing in Baltimore on Thursday. Pugh pleaded guilty to federal fraud, tax and conspiracy charges last year. Steve Ruark/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Steve Ruark/AP

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and her attorney arrive for a sentencing hearing in Baltimore on Thursday. Pugh pleaded guilty to federal fraud, tax and conspiracy charges last year.

Steve Ruark/AP

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was sentenced to three years in federal prison Thursday.

It was just months ago that she pleaded guilty to federal fraud, tax and conspiracy charges over a scheme involving sales of her self-published Healthy Holly children's books.

Prosecutors had been seeking a five-year prison sentence for the 69-year-old Democrat who has spent decades in Maryland politics. Pugh's lawyers, in turn, had asked the judge for a more lenient prison sentence of one year and one day, noting that she is a first-time offender and she entered a guilty plea.

In the end, neither side got its desired outcome, as reporter Emily Sullivan of member station WYPR tweeted.

Once Pugh completes her prison sentence, she will serve three years of supervised release.

Pugh was "visibly stressed" Thursday when she walked into the courtroom, according to The Associated Press, which adds that she teared up at seeing a number of her friends in the courtroom.

U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow also ordered Pugh to forfeit approximately $670,000, which includes a home on Ashburton, Md., and nearly $18,000 in her campaign account.

Additionally, the court ordered restitution payments of $400,000 to the University of Maryland Medical System, where the former mayor once served as a board member. The medical system — one of the state's largest employers and one of Pugh's biggest customers — had agreed to enter a no-bid deal to purchase 100,000 copies of the books. The existence of the deal was first reported by The Baltimore Sun in March.

She'll also have to pay back some $12,000 to the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, which purchased books.

Pugh pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the government and two counts of tax evasion.

Ahead of Thursday's sentencing, her lawyers submitted a 13-minute video to the judge in which she apologizes and says the nearly yearlong legal saga created a "ringing negativity" in the city of Baltimore.

"First, I want to apologize to the citizens, to young people, to partners, to my friends, everyone I've offended, everyone I've hurt and the city's image by pleading guilty and by being involved in all of this that has led me here today," Pugh says in the video, according to the Sun.

"I accept responsibility. I accept total responsibility. I've plead guilty. I'm sorry," she says.

Pugh resigned as mayor in May 2019 as allegations of "self-dealing" in connection with the sale of thousands of copies of her Healthy Holly children's books engulfed her administration.

Prior to her resignation, federal investigators were looking into the book sales, many of which went to entities she had influence over or businesses that hoped to do business with the city and the state.

Prosecutors had accused Pugh of earning approximately $800,000 from the Healthy Holly book series, about an African American girl who promotes exercise and nutritious eating habits.

"But the problem was thousands of books that nonprofits and foundations ordered to distribute in schools and day cares to promote healthy choices and combat obesity were never delivered to the city's children," as NPR reported in November.

"Instead, authorities say she took books that were already purchased and resold them. Pugh then funneled those proceeds into her own political campaigns and used the cash to purchase and renovate a house in Baltimore."

In early April, Pugh took an "indefinite leave of absence" as mayor, citing health challenges as the reason. By then, the book scandal had already jeopardized her term in office.

That same month, federal agents with the FBI and Internal Revenue Service raided Pugh's home and offices at City Hall in connection with their investigation into the fraudulent book scheme. Hours after the raids, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan called for Pugh's resignation.

He said at the time: "Now more than ever, Baltimore City needs strong and responsible leadership. Mayor Pugh has lost the public trust. She is clearly not fit to lead."

She would remain in office for another week.

Pugh's career in Maryland politics spanned decades.

She was first elected to the Baltimore City Council in 1999 and won a seat in the Maryland Senate in 2007. She drew widespread praise during the unrest in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died while in police custody in 2015.

Pugh, along with now-deceased Rep. Elijah Cummings, spent hours trying to quell distressed crowds in the streets of West Baltimore. She sang "This Little Light of Mine," according to the Sun, and told residents, "We are a great city."

In 2016, she was elected as Baltimore's 50th mayor.

Reporter Emily Sullivan of member station WYPR in Baltimore contributed to this report.


Maryland catherine pugh

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh sentenced to 3 years for ‘Healthy Holly’ children’s book fraud scheme

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who held elected offices in Baltimore for two decades and was elevated by voters to lead the city after the upheaval of 2015, was sentenced to three years in federal prison Thursday for a fraud scheme involving a children’s book series.

U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow described Pugh’s crimes as “astounding” and said she took advantage of a career spent doing good works to mislead organizations who purchased her “Healthy Holly” books.

“I have yet frankly to hear any explanation that makes sense," the judge said. "This was not a tiny mistake, lapse of judgment. This became a very large fraud. The nature and circumstances of this offense clearly, I think, are extremely, extremely serious.”

Pugh, 69, tearfully asked Chasanow for mercy and apologized in court “to anyone I have offended or hurt through my actions.” She said she had “turned a blind eye” and “sanctioned things I should not have," but did not intend to cause harm.

Pugh isn’t being imprisoned immediately. Chasanow said Pugh would have to report no later than mid-April.

Outside the courthouse, Pugh spoke to reporters for the first time since leaving office and struck a resilient tone, declaring: “This is not the last you’ll see of Catherine Pugh.”

Pugh’s political fall began in March when The Baltimore Sun revealed she had entered into a no-bid deal with the University of Maryland Medical System, where Pugh sat on the board of directors, to buy 100,000 copies of her sloppily self-published “Healthy Holly” books for $500,000. She later resigned from the board and as mayor amid multiple investigations into her finances and the book sales. In total, she netted more than $850,000, prosecutors say.

At the same time, she failed to print thousands of copies, double-sold thousands more and took many others to use for self-promotion, according to prosecutors. Investigators also uncovered that she laundered illegal campaign contributions and failed to pay taxes.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Clarke, the lead prosecutor on the case, said Pugh “deliberately and cunningly set out to deceive people” and to “rig an election to her advantage and cover it all up," referring to the 2016 Democratic mayoral primary.

Chasanow ordered Pugh to pay restitution of $400,000 to the medical system and nearly $12,000 to the Maryland Auto Insurance Fund, which also paid Pugh for books. She will have to forfeit nearly $670,000, including her Ashburton home and $17,800 in her campaign account. Also, Pugh agreed that all of her copies of “Healthy Holly” books, collected by the FBI in raids on her houses and offices, will be destroyed.

The judge spoke of the deterrent Pugh’s sentence could serve for other elected officials.

“I disagree that the length of the sentence has no impact on others out there who might be thinking about using or abusing their positions of trust,” Chasanow said.

U.S. Attorney Robert Hur also addressed the issue of public trust, saying Pugh’s crimes undermine “everyone’s faith in government and what government can do for the people."

After the sentence was handed down, Pugh stood and appeared stunned and forlorn. Supporters came to the courtroom floor to console her.

The sentence fell between prosecutors’ request for nearly five years and the defense request a year and a day in prison. In addition to a three-year prison sentence, Chasanow sentenced Pugh to three years of probation.

Pugh’s attorney, Steve Silverman, called the sentence fair, and said he thinks the former mayor ultimately won’t serve more than 18 months in prison under the new First Step Act, which seeks to reduce the federal prison population.

Erin Murphy, a partner of Silverman’s, said Pugh would be eligible for a pilot program in the act for older, nonviolent prisoners who don’t pose a threat to the community. That could result in a release to home detention after serving two-thirds of her sentence. In addition, Murphy said, her time in a federal institution could be further reduced by credits for good behavior.

Thursday’s hearing was held in the federal courthouse’s large ceremonial courtroom, and every seat was taken by her supporters, members of the media and other observers. Behind the prosecution table sat a dozen federal agents who worked on the case, an unusually large showing.

Pugh had more than 70 people wrote letters to Chasanow on her behalf. They included a slew of prominent pastors, former Democratic Mayor Kurt Schmoke, former Democratic U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume and Morgan State University President David Wilson.

Prosecutors responded in court to the letters, telling Chasanow: “Ms. Pugh did not have a momentary lapse of judgment, as many of her supporters have argued.”

Clarke painted Pugh as a deceptive and calculating person who led purchasers of the book to believe it was a nonprofit venture even as she reaped profits of 80% to 100% and used government resources to cover her tracks. He played a video of a 2017 news conference for the kickoff of a citywide book drive, at which “Healthy Holly” books appeared to have been prominently placed.

Chasanow said she had received victim impact statements from the medical system and the Maryland Auto Insurance Fund. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said the letters were part of a sealed presentence investigation and could not be released.

Silverman questioned whether the University of Maryland Medical System was a victim in the case. The Sun reported in March that nearly a third of the UMMS’s board members had business with the hospital network, a point Silverman raised in court. He said one board member made nearly $1 million “on a can’t-figure-out-what-he-did consulting agreement.”

“Catherine Pugh was wrong, she should have known better, she was better than this. But she got sucked into the culture of what was going on with the UMMS board — that everyone had an opportunity to do business,” he said.

UMMS and the Maryland Auto Insurance Fund declined Thursday to comment on the case.

Silverman said Pugh took responsibility as soon as she could for what she had done. Shortly after the scandal broke, Pugh was hospitalized with pneumonia and Silverman had described her as “not lucid” after she took leave from her duties as mayor.

“She was completely incapacitated," Silverman said. "But as soon as she was able, in late April, she made the decision to resign.”

Pugh’s attorneys alluded to a heavy psychological toll on the former mayor, and one of her brothers wrote Chasanow a letter in which he said she “has not eaten or slept properly since these tribulations have unfolded.”

As The Sun began reporting on the book sales, Pugh began publicly telling lies, including how much profit she was earning from the books and who she was selling them to.

“The chronology of events since 2011, comprising Pugh’s seven-year scheme to defraud, multiple years of tax evasion, election fraud, and attempted cover-ups, including brazen lies to the public, clearly establishes the deliberateness with which she pursued financial and political gain without a second thought about how it was harming the public’s trust,” Clarke and fellow Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo J. Wise wrote in a memo to the judge.

Pugh won a seat on the Baltimore City Council in 1999. She joined the House of Delegates in 2005, and rose to the state Senate two years later. In the Senate, she served as majority leader for two years.

Along the way, she racked up a number of achievements, including helping to open the Baltimore Design School and establishing the Baltimore Marathon. Pugh gained greater prominence during the 2015 unrest that followed the death of Freddie Gray, when she walked the streets trying to calm tensions and urging young men to return to their homes. She won the primary the following year by two percentage points.

Maryland Policy & Politics Newsletter


Keep up to date with Maryland politics, elections and important decisions made by federal, state and local government officials.

As mayor, she won praise for removing Confederate-era monuments and creating a new Neighborhood Impact Investment Fund, among other initiatives.

In court, Silverman recounted Pugh’s accomplishments, saying her life has been “dedicated to the empowerment of the black community and youth” and her aim to “elevate minorities to a level playing field and promote racial harmony.”

Also pleading guilty following the Pugh investigation were her aide, Gary Brown Jr., and Roslyn Wedington, director of a nonprofit Pugh championed. In court Thursday, prosecutors described Brown as Pugh’s “minion.” They have said Pugh had Brown making “Healthy Holly” book deliveries during his working hours as her legislative aide, and he then carried out straw campaign donations using money from the books. When Brown found himself in legal trouble, Pugh connected him with a lawyer and publicly feigned ignorance about the source of the funds, prosecutors said.

Sentencing hearings have not yet been scheduled for Brown and Wedington. No one else has been charged in the case.

Pugh also has been charged in state court with perjury. The Office of the State Prosecutor alleged Pugh broke the law by failing to disclose her Healthy Holly business on financial disclosure forms during her time as a state senator. A trial is scheduled for May 14 in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.

Baltimore Sun reporter Lillian Reed contributed to this article.

Former Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh charged with fraud and tax evasion

Catherine Pugh

Prior offices

Maryland House of Delegates

Maryland State Senate District 40

Mayor of Baltimore



Catherine E. Pugh was the mayor of Baltimore, Maryland. Pugh was elected in 2016 and resigned on May 2, 2019, amidst a federal investigation into sales of her self-published childrens' book series.[1]

One month before her resignation, Pugh had gone on indefinite leave from the office for health reasons.[2] At that time, City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young (D) took over as mayor. He remained in the position of mayor following Pugh's resignation. Click here to learn more.

Pugh was a Democratic member of the Maryland State Senate, representing District 40. Pugh served as majority leader from 2015 to 2016. She previously served as deputy majority leader. She was first elected to the chamber in 2006 and served until she was sworn in as mayor on December 6, 2016.

Pugh also served in the Maryland House of Delegates; she was appointed to represent District 40 in 2005. Before that, she was a member of the Baltimore City Council representing District 4. She won her first council election in 1999.[3]


Email [email protected] to notify us of updates to this biography.

Pugh earned her B.S. in business administration from Morgan State University in 1973 and an MBA in 1977.[4]



The following candidates ran in the Baltimore mayoral election.[5]

Baltimore Mayoral Election (2016), General Election, 2016
PartyCandidateVote %Votes
    Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngCatherine Pugh57.61%134,848
    Democratic Sheila Dixon (write-in)22.10%51,716
    Republican Alan Walden9.96%23,316
    Green Joshua Harris9.89%23,155
    Unaffiliated LaVern Murray (write-in)0.02%46
    Independent Frank Logan (write-in)0.01%33
    Unaffiliated Sarah Klauda (write-in)0.01%25
    Democratic Mack Clifton (write-in)0.01%23
    Republican Steven Smith (write-in)0.00%8
Write-in votes0.38%885
Total Votes234,055
Source:State of Maryland Board of Elections, "Official 2016 Presidential General Election results for Baltimore City," accessed September 9, 2019

The following candidates ran in the Democratic primary of the Baltimore mayoral election.[6]

Baltimore Mayoral Election (2016), Democratic Primary, 2016
PartyCandidateVote %Votes
    Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngCatherine Pugh36.58%48,709
    Democratic Sheila Dixon34.77%46,301
    Democratic Elizabeth Embry11.70%15,576
    Democratic David Warnock8.15%10,850
    Democratic Carl Stokes3.48%4,628
    Democratic DeRay Mckesson2.59%3,445
    Democratic Nick Mosby1.50%1,992
    Democratic Calvin Allen Young III0.49%646
    Democratic Patrick Gutierrez0.30%399
    Democratic Cindy Walsh0.16%211
    Democratic Mack Clifton0.15%203
    Democratic Gersham Cupid0.10%136
    Democratic Wilton Wilson0.06%75
Total Votes133,171
Source:Maryland State Board of Elections, "Official 2016 Presidential Primary Election results for Baltimore City," May 31, 2016

✓ Pugh endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic primary in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[7]

See also: Endorsements for Hillary Clinton


Pugh's endorsements for Mayor of Baltimore in the 2016 election included:


See also: Maryland State Senate elections, 2014

Elections for the Maryland State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on June 24, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was February 25, 2014. Incumbent Catherine Pugh was unopposed in the Democratic primary and was unopposed in the general election.[11][12][13]


See also: Maryland State Senate elections, 2010

Pugh ran for re-election to the 40th District seat in 2010. She had no opposition. The general election took place on November 2, 2010.[14]

Maryland State Senate, District 40 (2010) General Election
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png

Catherine Pugh (D)



On November 7, 2006, Pugh ran for District 40 of the Maryland State Senate, beating Stephen George.[15]

Maryland Senate, District 40
Candidates Votes Percent
Catherine Pugh (D)20,112 90.1%
Stephen George (R) 2,160 9.7%
Write-Ins 52 0.2%

Campaign themes


Pugh's campaign website listed the following themes for 2016:

I am running for Mayor because I love Baltimore. This is my family, this is my calling, and this is my life.

I have been a passionate leader in the public sector and a dynamic force in the private sector. These diverse experiences give me the knowledge I need to bring all of our communities together.

At one level, a city is an aspiration, a dream of what we might become.

A city is also an institution with specific commitments, to pick up the garbage, to keep the streets safe, to educate our children. Best practices will be the cornerstone of this administration. We will increase the use of technology to track our dollars, measure our effectiveness, and provide accountability.

We will break the cycle of poverty by promoting economic inclusion for broad-based prosperity. We will enhance training programs and align them with real jobs. We will eliminate the barriers to services and careers for returning citizens. There’s a place for all Baltimoreans in my Baltimore. No one is surplus, no one is extra. We need every son and daughter of this great city involved, engaged, and thriving.

We will improve our schools and reduce crime. I will move to return governance of our schools to our city and provide support for the menu of educational options that help improve outcomes for our students as we prepare them for college and careers.

We will rebuild trust between police officers and the community, taking care of our officers and our people, and confront the root causes of crime.

My goal is to improve the quality of life for all our citizens which includes eliminating boarded-up homes and food desserts, improving health outcomes and transportation options, lighting our neighborhoods, reducing taxes, taking care of our environment and infrastructure and improving the image of our city. The city needs a leader who will serve with honesty, integrity and transparency.

That’s who I am, and this is the job for me. [16]

—Catherine Pugh (2016), [17]

Committee assignments

2015 legislative session

At the beginning of the 2015 legislative session, Pugh served on the following committees:


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Pugh served on these committees:

Note: Pugh also served on the Subcommittee on Transportation (Chair).


In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Pugh served on these committees:

Note: Pugh also served on the Special Committee on Substance Abuse (Vice Chair).

The following table lists bills sponsored by this legislator. Bills are monitored by BillTrack50 and sorted by action history. The following list may not be comprehensive. To see all bills sponsored by this person, click on the legislator's name in the title of the table.

Campaign donors

BP-Initials-UPDATED.pngThe finance data shown here comes from the disclosures required of candidates and parties. Depending on the election or state, this may not represent all the funds spent on their behalf. Satellite spending groups may or may not have expended funds related to the candidate or politician on whose page you are reading this disclaimer, and campaign finance data from elections may be incomplete. For elections to federal offices, complete data can be found at the FEC website. Click here for more on federal campaign finance law and here for more on state campaign finance law.


Pugh won re-election to the Maryland State Senate in 2014. During that election cycle, Pugh raised a total of $311,069.
Maryland State Senate 2014 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Catherine Pugh's campaign in 2014
Pugh, Catherine E$11,000
P & J Contracting$10,500
Health Facilities Association Of Maryland$7,750
Cryor Group Llc$6,000
Small, Ralph A$5,250
Total Raised in 2014$311,069
Source: Follow the Money


In 2010, a year in which Pugh was up for re-election, she raised $306,285 in donations.[18]

Her four largest contributors in 2010 were:

Donor Amount
Maryland Association For Justice $5,500
Maryland Trial Lawyers Association $5,500
Constellation Energy $4,500
Mitchell, Lydell D $4,000


In 2006, Catherine Pugh collected $70,769 in donations.[19]

Her five largest contributors in 2006 were:

Donor Amount
Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police $2,000
Vaughn C Green Funeral Services $1,500
Dave Pittenger $1,500
Freedom to Choose PAC $1,500
Bright Light Media $1,500

Noteworthy events

Prison sentence and resignation as mayor (2019)

See also: Noteworthy criminal misconduct in American politics (2019-2020)

On November 21, 2019, Pugh pleaded guilty to three different crimes: conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the government, and two counts of tax evasion.[20] She was originally indicted on 11 corruption charges that resulted from an investigation into Pugh's self-published children's' book series Healthy Holly.[21] Pugh resigned as Mayor of Baltimore on May 2, 2019. On Feb. 27, 2020, Pugh was sentenced to three years in prison.[22]

The timeline below covers the noteworthy events leading up to Pugh's sentence.

  • March 28, 2019: Pugh amended past years of ethics disclosure forms she had filed with the state to reflect that she owned Healthy Holly LLC and sold 100,000 books to the University of Maryland Medical System over eight years for $500,000 while she was on their board of directors. According to the Baltimore Sun, her city ethics forms did not disclose her seat on the board in 2016 or 2017, and she did not disclose Healthy Holly LLC as a source of income prior to 2017. City ethics rules require all sources of income to be disclosed.[23]
  • April 1, 2019: Pugh announced that she would take an indefinite leave of absence for health reasons.[2]
  • April 3, 2019: The Baltimore Board of Ethics opened an investigation into whether Pugh's selling of her children's books called "Healthy Holly" violated the city's ethics rules. The board initially received a letter on March 28 from Associated Black Charities describing five groups who donated $87,000 to purchase 10,000 copies of the books between 2011 and 2016. The letter stated that Pugh worked with the charity during her time as a state senator to distribute copies of her books.[21]
  • April 8, 2019: All the members of the Baltimore City Council called for Pugh's resignation as mayor. City council member Eric Costello tweeted a memo stating, "The entire membership of the Baltimore City Council believes that it is not in the best interest of the City of Baltimore, for you to continue to serve as Mayor. We urge you to tender your resignation, effective immediately." Below the message were the signatures of the 14 members of the city council.[24]
  • April 25, 2019: Gov. Larry Hogan (R) called on Pugh to resign. "Mayor Pugh has lost the public trust. She is clearly not fit to lead. For the good of the city, Mayor Pugh must resign," he said.[25]
  • April 26, 2019: The FBI and IRS conducted searches of several Baltimore locations, including Pugh's two homes, the Baltimore city hall, and Pugh's lawyer's office.[26]
  • May 2, 2019: Pugh resigned as mayor, stating, "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."[27]
  • February 27, 2020: Pugh was sentenced to three years in prison.[22]
  • June 2020: Pugh began her sentence.[28] Her campaign also returned roughly $860,000 in donations to 1,067 donors, according to her campaign treasurer.[29]

Recent news

This section links to a Google news search for the term Catherine + Pugh + Maryland + Senate

See also

External links

  1. NBC Washington, "Baltimore's Mayor Resigns Following Controversy, Calls to Resign," May 2, 2019
  2. 2.02.1The Baltimore Sun, "Baltimore Mayor Pugh to take leave of absence in midst of 'Healthy Holly' book controversy," April 1, 2019
  3. The Baltimore Sun, "Timeline: Baltimore Mayor Catheirne Pugh's political career," accessed December 15, 2019
  4. ↑Catherine Pugh,Maryland State Senator
  5. State of Maryland Board of Elections, "Official 2016 Presidential General Election results for Baltimore City," accessed September 9, 2019
  6. State of Maryland Board of Elections, "Baltimore City 2016 Presidential Primary Election Local Candidates List," accessed February 4, 2016
  7. The Baltimore Sun, "Hillary Clinton announces endorsements from Maryland women," April 9, 2016
  8. The Baltimore Sun, "Nick Mosby drops out of mayoral race, backs Pugh," April 13, 2016
  9. The Baltimore Sun, "Elijah Cummings endorses Catherine Pugh for Baltimore mayor," April 12, 2016
  10. The Baltimore Sun, "Pugh, Edwards pick up endorsements from Baltimore African-American leaders," April 13, 2016
  11. Maryland Secretary of State, "Official primary election candidate list," accessed March 3, 2014
  12. Maryland State Board of Elections, "Official 2014 Gubernatorial Primary Election results for State Senate," accessed December 5, 2014
  13. Maryland State Board of Elections, "2014 Official General Election Results," accessed April 30, 2015
  14. Maryland State Board of Elections, "2010 General Election Official Results," accessed March 24, 2014
  15. Maryland State Board of Elections, "Official 2006 Gubernatorial General Election results for State Senator," accessed February 24, 2014
  16. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributable to the original source.
  17. Catherine Pugh for Mayor, "Five Pillars for Moving Our City Forward," accessed September 29, 2016
  18. Follow the Money, "Maryland 2010 - Candidates," accessed March 24, 2014
  19. ↑2006 contributors to Catherine Pugh
  20. NPR, "Former Baltimore Mayor Pleads Guilty in Children's Book Scandal," November 21, 2019
  21. 21.021.1Baltimore Sun, "Baltimore Board of Ethics to investigate 'Healthy Holly' sales; groups that donated to buy books revealed," April 3, 2019
  22. 22.022.1CBS Baltimore, "Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison In ‘Healthy Holly’ Scandal," accessed February 27, 2020
  23. Baltimore Sun, "Baltimore Mayor Pugh Apologizes for 'Healthy Holly' deal but admits some books being delivered only now," accessed April 8, 2019
  24. Twitter, "Eric Costello on Twitter," April 8, 2019
  25. Axios, "Baltimore’s mayor urged to resign after FBI and IRS raids," April 25, 2019
  26. ↑Cite error: Invalid tag; no text was provided for refs named
  27. The Baltimore Sun, "Baltimore Mayor Pugh resigns amid growing children's book scandal," accessed December 9, 2019
  28. Baltimore Sun, "Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh reports to federal prison. What can she expect?" June 26, 2020
  29. The Baltimore Sun, "Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh returns $860K to campaign donors," June 11, 2020
  • Hillary Clinton endorsements by state senators, 2016
  • State senate majority leaders
  • Former member, Maryland State Senate
  • 2010 unopposed
  • State senators first elected in 2006
  • Democratic Party
  • Maryland
  • 2010 candidate
  • 2010 incumbent
  • State Senate candidate, 2010
  • 2010 winner
  • 2014 incumbent
  • State Senate candidate, 2014
  • 2014 primary (winner)
  • 2014 general election (winner)
  • 2014 unopposed
  • 2014 unopposed primary and general election
  • Former municipal officeholder
  • Former municipal officeholder inside coverage scope
  • Former city officeholder
  • Former mayor
  • Former mayor, CITY
  • 2016 challenger
  • Municipal candidate, 2016
  • Mayoral candidate, 2016
  • Mayoral candidate, Baltimore, 2016
  • 2016 general election (winner)
  • 2016 open seat
  • Former state legislators
Hidden category:

Now discussing:

Catherine Pugh

American politician

Catherine Pugh

Catherine Pugh in 2017
In office
December 6, 2016 – May 2, 2019
On leave: April 2, 2019 – May 2, 2019
Preceded byStephanie Rawlings-Blake
Succeeded byJack Young
In office
January 14, 2015 – December 6, 2016
Preceded byJames Robey
Succeeded byDouglas J. J. Peters
In office
January 10, 2007 – December 6, 2016
Preceded byRalph M. Hughes
Succeeded byBarbara A. Robinson
In office
June 16, 2005 – January 10, 2007
Preceded byTony Fulton
Succeeded byShawn Z. Tarrant
In office
January 2000 – December 7, 2004
Preceded bySheila Dixon
Succeeded byKenneth Harris

Catherine Elizabeth Crump

(1950-03-10) March 10, 1950 (age 71)
Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic

Phillip Pugh

(m. 1973; div. 1975)​
EducationMorgan State University (BS, MBA)

Catherine Elizabeth Pugh (born March 10, 1950)[1][2] is an American former politician and convicted felon. A member of the Democratic Party, she served as the 50th mayor of Baltimore from 2016 to 2019, when she resigned amid a scandal that eventually led to criminal charges, three years in prison and three years probation.[3] Pugh has been involved in Maryland politics since 1999, when she was elected to the Baltimore City Council. She has also held office in the Maryland House of Delegates and the Maryland Senate, serving as the Majority Leader from 2015 to 2016. She first ran for Baltimore mayor in 2011 and lost the primary to Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Pugh ran again in 2016 and won the primary against former Mayor Sheila Dixon. Pugh then won the mayoral election on November 8, 2016, with 57% of the popular vote, and took office on December 6, 2016.[4] She was Baltimore's third consecutive female mayor.

In April 2019, Pugh announced she was taking an indefinite leave of absence to recover from pneumonia. The announcement coincided with a scandal over a "self-dealing" book-sales arrangement, whereby organizations purchased large quantities of Pugh's books in exchange for contracts with the city.[5] On May 2, 2019, Pugh resigned as Mayor of Baltimore amid the book scandal[6] and on November 20, 2019, she was indicted by a grand jury on eleven counts, including tax evasion, fraud, and conspiracy in connection with the book transactions.[7] The following day she signed a plea agreement, pleading guilty to four charges of conspiracy and tax evasion.[3][8] On February 27, 2020, Pugh was sentenced to 3 years in prison to be followed by 3 years of probation.[9]

Early life[edit]

Pugh was born as Catherine Crump on March 10, 1950 in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Pugh was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with her seven siblings.[10][1] In 1967, she graduated from Overbrook High School in Philadelphia.[11]


Pugh earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration from Morgan State University in Baltimore City, Maryland.[12] She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.[1]

Early career[edit]

In 1977 Pugh began teaching Marketing and Introduction to Business at Morgan State University.[13] In 1988, Pugh founded a public relations firm, Pugh and Company.[14] From the mid 1980s to the early 1990s, she was an independent editor for The Baltimore Sun and dean and director of Strayer Business College in Baltimore.[15] In 1994, she returned to Philadelphia and became vice president of Brunson Communications and co-owner of a local Delaware Valley TV station, WGTW-TV,[16] where she was the host of "Another View", a weekly public affairs program[10] that focused on policy issues within the black community and featured interviews with community leaders and public officials.

Political career[edit]

Pugh entered Baltimore City politics in 1999. She is president and CEO of Pugh and Company,[15] and in December 2016 became the 50th mayor of Baltimore City, Maryland.[10]

Baltimore City Council[edit]

In 1999 Pugh was elected to the Baltimore City Council, where she served until 2004. She ran for president of the council in 2003, but lost to Sheila Dixon in the primary.

Maryland General Assembly[edit]

In 2005, Governor Bob Ehrlich appointed Pugh to an open seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, where she served from June 21, 2005, to January 10, 2007. She then won a seat in the State Senate and served there from January 10, 2007 to December 6, 2016. She sat on the Finance Committee and served as the State Senate Majority Leader. As Majority Leader, Pugh led the state on cyber security and telemedicine expansion legislation. Pugh is also responsible for diversifying the state's $40 billion pension portfolio, having led the passage of Senate Bill 606, which increased black and other minority managed dollars from $300 million to $4.2 billion.[17] Pugh is a former president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators and she's the past chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland and the Women's Caucus of Legislators in Maryland.[citation needed]

2016 Baltimore mayoral campaign[edit]

Main article: 2016 Baltimore mayoral election

In 2015, Pugh entered the race for mayor of Baltimore and launched her campaign headquarters in the city.[18] She was an underdog to former mayor Sheila Dixon until the early 2016. The endorsement of Congressman Elijah Cummings in April 2016 boosted her campaigning efforts.[19] Pugh won the Democratic primary, with 37% of the vote to Dixon's 34%. The Democratic primary has long been the real contest in Baltimore, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 10-to-1, so Pugh was overwhelmingly favored in the general election.[20] She won the November 8 general election with 57% of the vote, and took office on December 6, 2016.[4]

Mayor of Baltimore[edit]

Pugh succeeded Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as Baltimore's 50th mayor. As mayor, she inherited several issues from the Rawlings-Blake administration. Pugh prioritized the United States Department of Justice investigation into the Baltimore Police Department following the death of Freddie Gray, before the inauguration of Donald Trump.[21][22] In April 2017, Judge James K. Bredar approved the consent decree signed by Pugh and former acting U.S. Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, rejecting an objection by new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.[23]

Additional issues the Pugh administration faced included Baltimore's crime levels, vacant housing and revitalization development, and the cancellation of the Baltimore Red Line and launch of Governor Larry Hogan's BaltimoreLink bus system overhaul. Despite supporting it during her campaign, Pugh vetoed a bill to increase Baltimore's minimum wage to $15 per hour over five years, citing concerns about businesses moving out of the city and adverse effects on nonprofits and small businesses. Ricarra Jones, chairwoman of the Fight for $15 Baltimore Coalition, responded to the veto, "As a state senator, Mayor Pugh was a strong supporter of a livable minimum wage and explicitly promised to sign the Baltimore wage bill as mayor. Today, she has made clear that promises are made to be broken."[24]

In July 2017, Pugh along with other city leaders announced a mandatory one-year sentence for illegal possession of a gun in many parts of Baltimore. The move was seen as an attempt to address the city's soaring violence rate.[25] The Baltimore city council voted to water down the legislation.[26]

Resignation and criminal charges[edit]

University of Maryland Medical Center in Downtown Baltimore

In March 2019, Pugh agreed to accept $500,000 from the University of Maryland Medical System while serving as a trustee to purchase her Healthy Hollyself-published books to donate to Baltimore schoolchildren. This no-bid payment was controversial because the years of payments coincided with her tenure as head of a health committee in the Maryland State Senate and as mayor of Baltimore. She did not disclose the payments or recuse herself from votes and decisions involving the medical system. Maryland legislative leaders pledged to reform the medical center's practice of giving large contracts to trustees due to the conflict it poses to their decision-making, which includes approving a $4 million salary to the institution's CEO.[27] Pugh received $500,000 from the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) for 100,000 copies of her books. However, the firm printing the publication confirmed it had only printed 60,000 copies.[28]

Pugh initially said that the University of Maryland Medical System were her only book sales, but on April 1, 2019, the Baltimore Sun reported that Kaiser Permanente paid more than $100,000 for copies of the book, and a nonprofit called Associated Black Charities paid Pugh's organization nearly $80,000 for copies of the book. Both organizations do business with the city of Baltimore. Associated Black Charities in turn resold some of its copies to other organizations, including CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, another Baltimore insurer.[29][30]

On April 8, 2019, all members of the Baltimore City Council signed a memorandum calling for Pugh to resign as mayor.[31] Pugh said she intended to return to office following her leave of absence due to illness.

On April 25, 2019, FBI and IRS agents raided six locations, including two houses owned by Pugh, Baltimore City Hall, and a nonprofit organization on whose board Pugh served.[32]

On May 2, 2019, Pugh resigned as Mayor of Baltimore.[33] On November 20, 2019, she was indicted by a grand jury on 11 counts of fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy in connection with the Healthy Holly book transactions.[7] The following day she signed a plea agreement, admitting guilt on four counts of tax evasion and conspiracy.[3][8]


On February 27, 2020, Pugh was sentenced to three years in prison to be followed by three years of probation.[9] U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow ordered Pugh to pay $412,000 in restitution. Additionally, Pugh will forfeit nearly $670,000, including her Ashburton home and the remaining balance of her campaign account totaling $17,800. Pugh has also agreed that all copies of Healthy Holly in government custody will be destroyed.[9][34] She has been granted several extensions to delay the start of her prison sentence.[35][36] On June 26, 2020, Pugh reported to prison at Federal Correctional Institution, Aliceville, Alabama.[37][38]

Personal life[edit]

Pugh married her husband Phillip in 1973, and they divorced two years later; she has no children.[13] She lives in Baltimore's Ashburton neighborhood in the Forest Park area of Northwest Baltimore City.[12]

A runner and fitness enthusiast, Pugh has written a series of children's health books[10] called Mind Garden: Where Thoughts Grow and Healthy Holly, which advocate exercise and healthy eating.[39] She is also the founder of community programs, such as the Baltimore Marathon;[40][41] the Fish Out of Water Project, a program that promotes tourism in Baltimore City to raise money for arts programs for local youth;[39] and the Need to Read Campaign, a program designed to help Baltimore residents improve their reading skills. Pugh is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.[42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abc"Baltimore City, Maryland Executive Branch: Catherine E. Pugh, Mayor (Democrat)". Maryland Manual On-Line. Maryland State Archives. December 12, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  2. ^"About the Mayor". Former Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. June 26, 2014.
  3. ^ abcBroadwater, Luke; Rector, Kevin (November 21, 2019). "Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh pleads guilty to conspiracy, tax evasion in 'Healthy Holly' book scheme". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  4. ^ abFritze, John (November 9, 2016), "How does a Donald Trump administration look in Maryland? In a word, different", The Baltimore Sun, retrieved November 11, 2016
  5. ^McFadden, David (April 1, 2019). "Baltimore mayor goes on leave as 'self-serving' book deal scandal intensifies". KMPH-TV. Associated Press. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  6. ^Kate Sullivan. "Mayor of Baltimore resigns amid book scandal". CNN. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  7. ^ abBroadwater, Luke; Rector, Kevin (November 20, 2019). "Former Baltimore Mayor Pugh charged with 11 counts of fraud, tax evasion in 'Healthy Holly' book scandal". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  8. ^ abMiller, Jayne (November 21, 2019). "Catherine Pugh enters guilty plea for 4 charges in indictment". WBAL-TV. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  9. ^ abcFenton, Luke Broadwater, Justin. "Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh sentenced to 3 years for 'Healthy Holly' children's book fraud scheme". Retrieved February 27, 2020.
  10. ^ abcdBell, Daryl (November 15, 2016). "From Overbrook High to Baltimore's next mayor". The Philadelphia Tribune. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  11. ^Writer, Daryl Bell Tribune Staff. "From Overbrook High to Baltimore's next mayor". The Philadelphia Tribune. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  12. ^ abWenger, Yvonne; Broadwater, Luke (December 6, 2016). "Catherine Pugh sworn in as Baltimore's 50th mayor". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  13. ^ abSilverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White (February 14, 2020). "Pugh Defense Sentencing"(PDF).CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^WMAR Staff (December 6, 2016). "Who is Catherine Pugh?". ABC2 WMAR Baltimore. Archived from the original on March 18, 2017. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  15. ^ abWenger, Yvonne (March 25, 2016). "Catherine Pugh says experience and energy set her apart in mayoral race". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  16. ^OBrien, Robert (January 4, 2016). "State Sen. Catherine Pugh on Community Policing, Property Taxes, and Her Run for Mayor". Baltimore Fishbowl. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  17. ^Guy, Sally M.; Sprinkle Jody J.; et al. (February 2015). "Report of the Maryland Economic Development and Business Climate Commission"(PDF). Department of Legislative Services Office of Policy Analysis Annapolis, Maryland. p. 56. Archived from the original(PDF) on June 30, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  18. ^Wenger, Yvonne (December 12, 2015), "Pugh Opens Campaign Headquarters, Officially Launches Bid For Mayor", The Baltimore Sun
  19. ^Wenger, Yvonne (April 12, 2016), "Elijah Cummings endorses Catherine Pugh for Baltimore mayor", The Baltimore Sun
  20. ^Broadwater, Luke; Wenger, Yvonne (April 27, 2016), "Catherine Pugh defeats Sheila Dixon in Democratic primary of Baltimore mayor's race", The Baltimore Sun
  21. ^Broadwater, Luke (December 20, 2016). "Pugh sets goal of completing DOJ police agreement before Trump takes office". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  22. ^Stolberg, Sheryl Gay; Williams, Timothy (January 10, 2017). "Obama Races to Overhaul Police in Baltimore and Chicago Before Trump Era". The New York Times. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  23. ^Victor, Daniel (April 8, 2017). "Judge Approves Consent Decree to Overhaul Baltimore Police Dept". The New York Times. p. A18. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  24. ^Wenger, Yvonne. "Pugh vetoes bill that would raise Baltimore minimum wage".
  25. ^Broadwater, Kevin Rector, Luke. "Baltimore leaders propose mandatory sentence for illegal gun possession". Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  26. ^Duncan, Ian. "Baltimore City Council committee guts proposal to create mandatory sentence for gun offenders". Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  27. ^Richman, Doug Donovan, Talia. "Baltimore Mayor Pugh amends financial disclosure filings amid scrutiny over book sales to UMMS hospital system".
  28. ^Darrah, Nicole (April 1, 2019). "Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh takes indefinite leave of absence amid book controversy". Fox News. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  29. ^"Kaiser Permanente, Associated Black Charities paid Baltimore Mayor Pugh almost $200K for 'Healthy Holly' books". 2019. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  30. ^Williams, Timothy (April 1, 2019). "Baltimore Mayor Announces Leave of Absence Amid Children's Book Scandal". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  31. ^Donovan, Luke Broadwater, Ian Duncan, Doug. "Baltimore City Council calls on Mayor Pugh to resign; she says she intends to return". Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  32. ^Broadwater, Ian Duncan, Luke. "FBI raids Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh's City Hall office, her two houses, as governor calls on her to resign". Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  33. ^Calvert, Scott (May 2, 2019). "Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Resigns". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  34. ^Wallace, Danielle, "Ex-Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh sentenced for book sales scheme", Fox News, February 27, 2020
  35. ^"Pugh's Request To Delay Prison Start Granted By Judge". Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  36. ^"Former Mayor Catherine Pugh Granted 60-Day Extension To Report To Prison". April 9, 2020. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  37. ^"Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Reports To Federal Prison In Alabama For Three-Year Sentence". June 26, 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  38. ^Ortiz, Liz (June 26, 2020). "Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh now behind bars". WBFF. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  39. ^ ab"About Pugh: Giving Back to the Community". Catherine Pugh Mayor. Archived from the original on March 17, 2017. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  40. ^Pugh, Catherine; Edwards, Byron (November 3, 2016). "Meet Catherine Pugh: Senator and Marathon Runner". espnW. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  41. ^McMullen, Paul (October 19, 2001). "Pugh Didn't Hitch Her Star to Road Racing Yesterday". The Baltimore Sun. Tribune Digital. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  42. ^Reutter, Mark; Gunts, Ed (December 12, 2015). "Catherine Pugh Opens Her Campaign Office for Mayor". Baltimore Brew. Retrieved March 17, 2017.

External links[edit]


63 64 65 66 67