In an outcome that became increasingly inevitable over the last few weeks, the now-former mayor of Baltimore, Catherine Pugh, officially tendered her resignation letter on Thursday, apologizing for the damage she has done to both the image of the city and the credibility of the office.
The letter comes a month after Pugh went on paid administrative leave amid the growing scandal concerning her lucrative deals with various city and state-connected entities for her self-published children's book, "Healthy Holly." Pugh claimed that she could not return to work because she was continuing to recover from pneumonia and apparently remained holed up in her home, with no one seeing her in public for weeks.
Amid a chorus of calls for her resignation by city and state officials, including every member of the Baltimore City Council, Pugh finally delivered the letter Thursday, in what her lawyer described as "a sad day for Mayor Pugh and a sad day for the city of Baltimore."
In the resignation letter, which is addressed to the "citizens of Baltimore," Pugh apologizes for "the harm that I have caused to the image of the city of Baltimore and the credibility of the Office of the Mayor."
Dear citizens of Baltimore,
I would like to thank you for allowing me to serve as the 50th mayor. It has been an honor and a privilege.
Today, I am submitting my written resignation to the Baltimore City Council. I am sorry for the harm that I have caused to the image of the city of Baltimore and the credibility of the Office of the Mayor.
Baltimore deserves a mayor who can move our great city forward. I want to thank all of our department heads and staff who work hard every day to improve the quality of life for all who live, work and visit our city.
I also want to thank Jack Young, the president of the City Council, for his steadfast leadership in my absence.
I wish you well in your new role as mayor of Baltimore City.
Catherine E. Pugh
Her letter was delivered by her attorney Steven Silverman, who held a very brief press conference in his downtown offices and took no questions.
The Baltimore Sun, which has been closely chronicling the developments in the book scandal, notes that Pugh's resignation is the second scandal-prompted resignation of a Baltimore mayor in less than a decade and that she's the third mayor to "decline to seek another term after a riot over police misconduct and a soaring murder rate."
"While in isolation at her home, Pugh issued a defiant pledge last month to return to work," the Baltimore Sun reports. "But that resolve gave way after federal agents raided her home and City Hall office a week ago. "
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Pugh made the "right decision" to step down but underscored that the multiple investigations into her various book deals will continue.
After Pugh's book deal worth hundreds of thousands with the University of Maryland Medical System — secured while she was a member of its board — came to light in March, a series of subsequent reports revealed other highly problematic deals, including with health insurer Kaiser Permanente, that had previously escaped scrutiny. Amid mounting pressure, Pugh took a leave of absence citing health concerns and Young took over as acting mayor. Young is now officially the 51st Mayor of Baltimore.