FBI executing search warrant at Baltimore mayor’s homes, city hall

The FBI and criminal investigators from the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday executed court-authorized search warrants at the home of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Baltimore City Hall, FBI spokesman Dave Fitz said.

Investigators are also searching a second residence belonging to the Democratic mayor — who has taken a leave of absence amid a scandal over the sale of a children’s book she authored — as well as the Maryland Center for Adult Training, a non-profit the mayor has worked with, Fitz said. The home of Gary Brown, a former Pugh aide, is also being searched.

The FBI said they have made no arrests at this time in connection with the raids. Pugh was home when authorities arrived at her house shortly before 7 a.m. ET, a law enforcement official said.

While Pugh was a board member of the University of Maryland Medical System, the medical system spent $500,000 to fund the purchase of some 100,000 books from Pugh’s company Healthy Holly LLC, a spokesman for the medical system has confirmed.

Pugh apologized in March for having “done something to upset the people.” Baltimore’s city council has called for Pugh to resign, and Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who earlier this month asked the Office of the State Prosecutor to investigate the scandal, echoed those calls shortly after the raids Thursday morning.

“Now more than ever, Baltimore City needs strong and responsible leadership,” Hogan said in a statement. “Mayor Pugh has lost the public trust. She is clearly not fit to lead. For the good of the city, Mayor Pugh must resign.”

The UMMS spokesman, Michael Schwartzberg, has said UMMS never had possession of any Healthy Holly books, nor did it distribute books. Book distribution was managed by Healthy Holly LLC.

Pugh recently returned $100,000 to the medical system and canceled her book deal. She has also resigned from the hospital’s board, according to Schwartzberg.

Pugh also received about $114,000 from Kaiser Permanente for some 20,000 books from 2015 to 2018, according to the health care provider. Kaiser Permanente said it delivered the books to back-to-school fairs, elementary schools, communities of faith and early childhood education and care centers.

Additionally, Associated Black Charities, a public foundation that works to encourage healthier and more prosperous communities, said it spent approximately $80,000 between 2011 and 2016 to buy some 10,000 copies of Pugh’s books — a project the organization learned about while she was still a state senator.

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