Catherine Pugh: FBI raids Baltimore Mayor's home and offices amid investigation over her series of children books

A large payment made to Catherine Pugh for her children's book series is being investigated

Lily Puckett
New York
Thursday 25 April 2019 18:19 BST
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh (Getty Images)

The FBI has raided Baltimore City Hall and two homes belonging to the city's mayor, the latest development in a saga surrounding her series of children books.

Democratic mayor Catherine Pugh, who was elected in 2016, has been at the centre of an investigation into the propriety of an arrangement she made regarding her children’s ten years ago. While both a state senator and a member of the board of the state’s largest healthcare nonprofit, Ms Pugh received $500,000 for 100,000 copies of her Heathy Holly series, which features a young protagonist who loves to be healthy.

Baltimore’s WBALTV reported that the FBI and IRS executed at least six search warrants related to the investigation on Thursday. In addition to City Hall and Ms Pugh’s homes, federal agents entered Ms Pugh’s lawyer’s office, the office of a non-profit she founded, and the home of one of her aides, who was prosecuted by state for illegal campaign contributions in 2016.

Earlier in April, Maryland governor Larry Hogan asked state prosecutors to investigate the $500,000 payment for the books, which are not found in the schools and hospitals Ms Pugh claims they were placed in.

For the last month, Bernard C “Jack” Young has been acting as mayor, recently gearing up his role. On Wednesday, he told the Baltimore Sun, “I will continue to steer the ship because the mayor’s on an indefinite leave with no signs of when she's going to return.”

Baltimore’s City Council has called for Ms Pugh, who maintains that she did nothing wrong, to resign.

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Ms Pugh’s book series has four titles: Healthy Holly: Fruits Come in Colors Like the Rainbow; Healthy Holly: Exercising is Fun!; Healthy Holly: Not all Vegetables are Green; and Healthy Holly: A Healthy Start for Herbie. Only one copy of the books, Exercising is Fun!, is currently available for sale on Amazon, where it’s priced at $199.99.

Ms Pugh’s book for adults, Mind Garden: Where Thoughts Grow, is listed on the site as unavailable.

In March, the New York Times reported that Pugh was ‘currently at work on Healthy Holly: Walking With My Family.’

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