Disgraced former Baltimore Mayor given a reprieve on going to prison

As you may recall, Baltimore’s corrupt former mayor, Catherine Pugh, was sentenced to three years in the slammer for her “Healthy Holly” self-dealing fiasco in February. In addition, she is to follow that up with three years of supervised probation and some hefty fines to partially repay the citizens for the money she siphoned out of the system and the taxes she dodged. But her journey to a medium-security penitentiary in Aliceville, Alabama has now been put on hold for at least two months. The reason? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. (CBS Baltimore)

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was granted a 60-day extension for the date that she must report to prison in Alabama.

Pugh, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion and fraud in the Healthy Holly children’s book scandal, asked for the delay so that she can “resolve” her state perjury charge as the coronavirus pandemic has led to the closure of courts…

Pugh had asked for another delay because she’s been “adversely affected” by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her perjury court date was moved to May 14.

So the reason for her late arrival at the Crowbar Hotel is, of course… the virus. As hard as I try to find interesting stories for our readers that aren’t focused on the damned pandemic, it seems to seep into everything. But in this case, Pugh isn’t getting a reprieve because the court is afraid she’ll become infected. Instead, she claims to need the extra time because the courts are barely functioning due to social distancing rules. She still has yet another trial coming up, this one for perjury, but it’s been pushed back on the calendar.

Why the court granted this delay is something of a mystery. There are plenty of people in prison all over the country with pending court dates and the prison manages to load them up in a vehicle and take them to court with no problems. Alabama isn’t all that far away and she could easily be shipped north for her trial, spending her nights in one of the local jails and returning south when it’s over.

But if she must be given this extra time, perhaps the federal prosecutors in Baltimore could put her to good use by getting her to spill the beans on some of her former colleagues from the University of Maryland Medical System board of directors. As we recently learned via the Baltimore Sun, Pugh was far from the only member of the UMMS board cashing in bigtime through their positions there.

Given the number of companies with ties to board members that were receiving huge, frequently no-bid contracts, it seems laughable that there weren’t more people engaged in soaking the system for their personal benefit. It’s true that Baltimore had no rules against such self-dealing until after Pugh’s corruption was exposed, but they still wound up getting her on other, related charges. Might not the same apply to the other members?

And who knows… if Pugh decided to cooperate more fully than she did during her own trial, perhaps the judge might look kindly on her cooperation and agree to reduce her sentence a bit further. If nothing else, she’s got a couple of months to consider her options now.

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David Strom 8:01 AM on March 27, 2023