It’s been more than two months since disgraced former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh finally resigned from office amidst the Healthy Holly self-dealing book scandal. So what’s going on with her now? The Baltimore Sun tried to get an interview, but she’s not talking to anyone. Her spokesperson simply said that “she’s a private citizen now.”
Unable to talk to Pugh directly, the newspaper reached out to some of the folks who know her personally. They report that she’s “feeling much better” and is basically just trying to build a normal life and get on with things. Of course, certain law enforcement agencies might have a thing or two to say about that.
Friends of former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh say her health has improved but that she’s continuing to keep a low public profile until the investigations concerning her self-published book deals are complete.
In the weeks before she stepped down as mayor amid scandal in early May, the 69-year-old Pugh had been hospitalized with pneumonia. Friends who have visited and spoken with her recently say her health is much better and that she is thinking about what to do next in life.
“Physically she’s much better,” says Mark McLaurin, political director of the local Service Employees International Union and a friend of Pugh’s. “She’s nearly back to 100 percent. People think that was all a scam, but she was really, really sick.”
One friend said Pugh, a fitness buff, has begun going for walks and even running again. (As mayor, she used to wake up early to go running every morning.)
Well, isn’t that nice for her? One of her union friends from the SEIU had a slightly different take, telling the Sun that he doesn’t think Pugh “has fully come to terms with resigning from office.” He went on to claim that, in his opinion, she’s “not particularly rational about what happened” and hasn’t learned the lesson she needed to learn.
I’ve been waiting to see what comes out of the various investigations because it simply boggles the mind to think that this might be all there is to the story. There are ongoing investigations by the FBI, IRS and the Maryland State Prosecutor’s office. Heck, I think Codes Enforcement was digging through her files at one point. She’s not really going to just walk free, is she?
This is a concern that’s been raised from the beginning. Catherine Pugh is known to have stashed away at least $800,000 from the “sales” of her self-published children’s books. But in many cases, it can’t be proven that the books were ever even printed. And they were being “sold” to the medical board where she sat as a member of the Board of Directors, as well as other entities who were doing business with the city and relied on her goodwill for contract approvals and renewals.
This was clearly grifting on a massive scale and it was obvious to everyone with open eyes. But was it technically illegal? Until recently, Baltimore had no laws against such activity. Pugh claims she paid taxes on all of the book “sales” and if that’s the case she might not even be in trouble with the IRS. If Pugh skates away without ever being charged for anything, it will be one of the most successful criminal schemes in the history of the country.