By Frederick H. Lowe
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned from office on Thursday, becoming the city’s second black woman mayor to leave since 2009 because of financial improprieties.
Former Mayor Pugh, Baltimore’s 50th mayor, and the city’s third black woman mayor, announced she was resigning through her attorney, Steven Silverman.
Reading from a written statement, Pugh said: “Baltimore deserves a mayor who can move can move our great city forward.”
Pugh, who was sworn into office on December 6, 2016, resigned from office a week after FBI and IRS agents raided her home and offices.
Pugh allegedly received $800,000 from a hospital network, insurance companies, and a financier that did business with Baltimore for bulk copies of her children’s books “Healthy Holly.”
The organizations reportedly purchased large numbers of “Healthy Holly” books in return for contracts with the city of Baltimore.
When the scandal broke, Pugh secluded herself. Maryland’s top elected officials, however, pressed her to resign. In April, Pugh announced that she was taking an indefinite leave of absence because she was suffering from pneumonia.
Her resignation follows Baltimore Mayor Sheila Ann Dixon, the city’s 48th mayor, who resigned from office on December 1, 2009, after a jury found her guilty of fraudulent misappropriation.
The charges stemmed partly from misappropriated use of gift cards intended for Baltimore’s poor children. Instead, Dixon and her boyfriend used the cards to finance a spending spree in New York.
Dixon pled guilty. She resigned from office, and a judge sentenced her to probation. By December 2012, Dixon had completed the terms of her probation. The state expunged her record.
She ran again for Baltimore mayor but was defeated in the 2015 Democratic primary by Catherine Pugh, then a state senator.
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake became Baltimore’s third black woman mayor when Dixon resigned. Rawlings-Blake was the city’s 49th mayor.
Rawlings-Blake served as Baltimore’s mayor from January 22, 2013 to February 25, 2017. In 2016, she announced that she would not seek re-election.