By Brian White
Baltimore’s disgraced ex-mayor has been charged with perjury for failing to disclose her business interests in a self-published children’s book, Maryland’s state prosecutor announced on Dec. 18.
Catherine Pugh, a Democrat who has pleaded guilty to federal charges related to her “Healthy Holly” books, failed to disclose her business interests in Health Holly, LLC on her financial disclosure forms when she was a Maryland state senator representing a Baltimore district.
Already facing the possibility of decades behind bars, the new charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
In this June 8, 2018 file photo, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh addresses a gathering during the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Boston. Baltimore’s mayor resigned under pressure Thursday. May 2, 2019 amid a flurry of investigations into whether she arranged bulk sales of her self-published children’s books to disguise hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
“Transparency from our elected officials is an essential aspect of protecting Maryland residents from corruption and political malfeasance,” said Charlton Howard, the state prosecutor, in a statement. “Our office is committed to ensuring that those who abuse positions of trust in our state and local governments are held accountable by the State of Maryland.”
The charges, filed in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, allege that while Pugh did disclose her business relationship to other companies that she owned or operated, she did not disclose her interest in Health Holly. Pugh earned at least $345k in income in 2016 through sales of her books, but failed to mention her ownership in financial disclosure forms, which are filed with the Maryland State Ethics Commission and signed under the penalties of perjury.
Last month, Pugh pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiracy and tax evasion in federal court to charges relating to the book deals.
Pugh resigned in May as federal, state and local authorities probed whether she arranged bulk book sales to disguise political kickbacks that netted her hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years. The books were meant for schools and day care centers.