FILE - In this June 8, 2018 file photo, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh addresses a gathering during the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Boston. Baltimore's mayor resigned under pressure Thursday. May 2, 2019 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.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Secluded Baltimore mayor to make announcement amid scandal

May 02, 2019 - 12:43 pm

BALTIMORE (AP) — The lawyer for Baltimore's mayor scheduled an announcement Thursday amid growing pressure for the city's top leader to resign over a scandal involving her self-published children's books.

Mayor Catherine Pugh has been in self-imposed seclusion for a month with what attorney Steven Silverman has described as deteriorating health after a bout of pneumonia. Silverman has said that Pugh was too ill to make any decisions about her future, even as the governor and the state and city's other top leaders have said her political career is finished.

Silverman announced a news conference for Thursday afternoon to discuss the mayor's future.

At issue is the roughly $800,000 Pugh received for bulk copies of her self-published "Healthy Holly" children's books from customers including a hospital network she once helped oversee and health carriers with business before the city.

A federal grand jury has been empaneled and the mayor's City Hall offices, homes and multiple other locations have been raided by FBI and IRS agents who carried off boxloads of documents.

In recent weeks, Pugh's fractured administration has lurched from one crisis to another and various aides have been fired or left City Hall. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has said Pugh should step down and the state prosecutor is investigating public corruption accusations against her. The city's entire Democratic establishment, with the sole exception of acting Mayor Bernard "Jack" Young, has been clamoring for her resignation.

But Pugh has been ignoring the enormous pressure, even as she paid for it politically. The 69-year-old abruptly retreated to her home on her indefinite leave of absence on the same day Hogan asked for the state criminal investigation.

In recent days, Silverman has repeatedly gone in and out of Pugh's city home, in part to discuss what he described as her "options." He has said that Pugh was so fragile physically and mentally that she was unable to make "major decisions."

After a one-hour Wednesday visit with Pugh, Silverman remarked that he would "be in a position to tell you what her intentions are moving forward" on Thursday.

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