FBI, IRS raid on Baltimore mayor prompts calls for resignation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. authorities on Thursday executed search warrants at the home and offices of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, Maryland’s Republican governor said on Thursday, prompting further calls for the Democratic city leader to resign.

The FBI and the Internal Revenue Service conducted the raids on Pugh’s home and Baltimore City Hall amid allegations of improper financial dealings with the University of Maryland Medical System, Governor Larry Hogan said on Twitter.

“Mayor Pugh has lost the public trust. She is clearly not fit to lead. For the good of the city, Mayor Pugh must resign,” Hogan wrote.

City Councilman Brandon Scott also called for Pugh’s resignation, saying in a statement: “Baltimore needs to move forward and heal from this embarrassment.” The Baltimore City Council previously called for her resignation earlier this month.

Pugh has faced scrutiny in recent weeks over sales of her self-published children’s books and allegations – first reported by the Baltimore Sun – that she made sales deals with healthcare entities that have ties to the local government, including the state university’s medical system.

Representatives for the FBI and the IRS did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An FBI spokesman told the Sun and the Washington Post that federal agents were executing a court-authorized search of Pugh’s home and City Hall.

The Sun and other local news outlets also reported the FBI raided a second home owned by Pugh, a nonprofit she has closely worked with, the offices of her attorney and the home of one of her aides.

According to the Sun, the University of Maryland Medical System paid Pugh $500,000 between 2012 and 2018 to buy copies of her book series promoting health choices for children at a time she also served on the medical system’s board.

Pugh has been on an indefinite leave of absence since April 1, the same day Hogan had called on state prosecutors to start their probe.

Reporting by Makini Brice and Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Steve Orlofsky and Jonathan Oatis

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