It’s been a week since Catherine Pugh resigned in disgrace as Baltimore’s mayor, but she’s still getting taxpayer-funded security protection at her private residence in Ashburton.
A Baltimore Police vehicle remains stationed at Dorchester and Ellamont roads, the exact location where police watched over Pugh’s home during her month-long leave of absence prior to her resignation on May 2.
Police were present as well on April 25, when FBI and IRS agents armed with a search warrant raided her house in the wake of disclosures about Pugh’s “Healthy Holly” book sales.
Confirmed by Police
The Brew has been trying for days to find out the reasons for the security detail to no avail.
Finally today, Matt Jablow, chief of communications for BPD, confirmed that Pugh is, indeed, under executive protection.
But he added, “We are in the process of transitioning out her executive protection.”
He said that tomorrow – Friday – “is the last expected day of it.”
Jablow would not say how many officers are deployed for her protection or how much it has cost taxpayers.
Asked who authorized the security detail, he said in a written statement, “We thought a transition period was appropriate.”
Lester Davis, spokesman for Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, said on Tuesday that he could neither confirm nor deny that Pugh was under police protection. But he noted that after Sheila Dixon resigned as mayor in 2010, police were detailed to guard her for a month or so “as a courtesy.”
Paid by Kaiser Permanente
BPD’s executive protection unit is responsible for guarding three top public officials – the mayor, the state’s attorney and the police commissioner.
When Pugh became mayor, she made it a point to say she wouldn’t take police officers with her when she traveled out of state. She said her office would instead alert the jurisdictions where she traveled of her presence, and they could provide security.
When she made this announcement in January 2017, Pugh was headed to a health forum in Los Angeles. Her travel expenses and security were paid for by Kaiser Permanente and the National Basketball Association, the sponsors of the forum.
Two months ago, Kaiser Permanente disclosed that it had paid Pugh $114,000 to buy 20,000 copies of her self-published “Health Holly” books.
During her California trip, Pugh hobnobbed with Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser, The Brew then reported.
Prior Mayoral Protection
Baltimore’s three previous mayors – Dixon, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Martin O’Malley – had police accompany them not only on out-of-state travel but on vacations.
Shortly before she left office, for example, Rawlings-Blake had an officer accompany her on a trip to Martha’s Vineyard where she attended a fundraiser for then-U.S. Senate hopeful Kamala Harris (D., Calif).
The Board of Estimates allocated $1,800 for the officer’s meal and hotel expenses in addition to his regular and overtime police pay.
In 2009, the board paid $4,500 for officers to accompany Dixon on a family vacation to Miami.