Catherine Pugh Wiki – Biography
Catherine Elizabeth Pugh is an American former politician. 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.
Catherine Pugh Age
She is 69 years old.
Early Life and Education
In 1977 Pugh began teaching Marketing and Introduction to Business at Morgan State University. In 1988, Pugh founded a public relations firm, Pugh and Company. 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.
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, where she was the host of “Another View”, a weekly public affairs program that focused on policy issues within the black community and featured interviews with community leaders and public officials.
Pugh earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration from Morgan State University in Baltimore City, Maryland. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
Pugh married her husband Phillip in 1973, and they divorced two years later; she has no children. She lives in Baltimore’s Ashburton neighborhood in the Forest Park area of Northwest Baltimore City.[
A runner and fitness enthusiast, Pugh has written a series of children’s health books called Mind Garden: Where Thoughts Grow and Healthy Holly, which advocate exercise and healthy eating. She is also the founder of community programs, such as the Baltimore Marathon; the Fish Out of Water Project, a program that promotes tourism in Baltimore City to raise money for arts programs for local youth; 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.
Pugh started her career in politics in 1999, when she was elected to city council. In 2005, she served in the Maryland House of Delegates and became a senator from 2007 to 2016, becoming the State Senate Majority Leader. She ran for mayor of Baltimore and won, becoming the 50th mayor in December 2016.
She faced a lot of issues as mayor, including the high crime level in the city, housing and development issues, and some transit problems. She faced criticism when she vetoed a bill that would have increased the minimum wage to $15 an hour. In 2018, she sat down for an interview with Voice of America to discuss gun violence:
In the spring of 2019, details of her fraudulent activities were released and authorities investigated her book sales. She resigned as mayor under immense pressure on May 2, 2019.
Charges and Arrested
Pugh apologised before her sentencing for the scheme, which saw hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks disguised as book sales.
She was also ordered to pay more than $1m (£775,000) in restitution.
Pugh, 69, resigned in May after FBI agents raided city hall and homes that she owned.
Pugh, a Democrat who was took office in 2016, pleaded guilty last November to conspiracy and tax evasion.
The crime centred on the mayor’s Healthy Holly book series, which promotes healthy eating and exercise to primary-school aged children.
Prosecutors claimed that Pugh’s scheme began seven years ago, when she was a Maryland state senator, and that she was assisted by two long-time aides. They are awaiting sentencing after also pleading guilty to conspiracy and tax charges.
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Officials say Pugh sold the books to corporate buyers who had an interest in “obtaining or maintaining a government contract”.
Sales were made to local health providers and schools, but in some cases the books were never delivered and actually sold for a second time.
Profits from book sales were funnelled to her mayoral campaign and also to buy a new house.
US Attorney Robert Hurr said Pugh’s actions “undermine everyone’s faith in government.”
“This is a tragedy and the last thing our city needs,” he said.
Outside the court, Pugh said: “I just want to apologise to the citizens, to young people, to partners, my friends, everyone I’ve offended”.
“I accept total responsibility. I’ve pled guilty. I’m sorry.”
Federal prosecutors said that her Healthy Holly books were sold to nonprofit organizations and foundations that were working with the city of Baltimore, and Pugh used her book sales to defraud taxpayers, health care companies, and the school system, going as far back as 2011.
She sold tens of thousands of books but rarely delivered them, instead keeping the profits and the books, and sold the same books to different buyers to get paid twice. Prosecutors also said that she made over $600,000 this way, most of this money coming from organizations and businesses who were involved in the city of Baltimore. This money was used to buy another home and finance her political aspirations.
Below is an apology video that her team released before her sentencing:
On February 27, she was sentenced to three years in federal prison followed by three years of probation. The district judge, Deborah K. Chasanow, ordered Pugh to pay $412,000 in restitution and to forfeit $670,000, which includes her home and the remainder of her campaign account. All copies of Healthy Holly in the government’s possession are to be destroyed. This is a big fall for someone who had a long and active career in and out of politics.