BREAKING: Baltimore Mayor Resigns After Months of Scandals

After months of troubles including state and federal criminal investigations and health problems, Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh (D) resigned today.

Her troubles heated up back in March, when the news stories broke about suspiciously lucrative deals Pugh had secured for her self-published “Healthy Holly” series of children’s books, featuring African-American families in stories that promoted healthy diet and exercise habits.

Last week, federal investigators executed search warrants on two homes Pugh owns, her City Hall office, a non-profit office connected to her, and the apartment of one of her former top aides.

Multiple entities that conduct business with Baltimore entered into contracts with Pugh to purchase the books, contracts with eye-poppingly high monetary figures. In total, she raked in nearly $800,000, which the Washington Post characterized as “an enormous amount in the world of children’s literature,” especially for an otherwise unknown author.

Buyers of the books included Kaiser Permanente, which was seeking a $48 million contract with the city at the time, and the University of Maryland Medical System, on whose board Pugh sat.

In late March, Pugh was hospitalized for pneumonia, and officially went on a leave of absence from her position as Mayor in early April. Since then, she has largely stayed out of the public eye, her resignation announcement being delivered through a statement read by her attorney, Steven D. Silverman, while she reportedly remained at home.

Silverman called Pugh’s resignation a “sad day for Baltimore.” In her statement, Pugh, who had originally denounced the investigations against her as a “witch hunt,” apologized for “the harm I have caused to the image of the city of Baltimore and the credibility of the office of the mayor.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) had called for Pugh’s resignation last week and praised her announcement today as “the right decision, as it was clear the mayor could no longer lead effectively.”

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Photo by Michelle Curi via Flickr.

Foliow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.