Baltimore, MD —Three mayoral aides, who were listed as board members of a nonprofit that was once chaired by Mayor Catherine Pugh, are on paid leave from their city jobs.
The 11 News I-Team has learned that Ex-Officio Mayor Jack Young placed the aides on paid leave Wednesday as part of a personnel matter and that there are no specific allegations of wrongdoing raised. The specific reason is not being disclosed. Calls to the city solicitor and to the aides were not returned Wednesday.
"Because they are personnel decisions, I cannot discuss that. Questions like that, you have to talk to the city solicitor," Young said.
Gary Brown Jr., Afra Vance-White and Poetri Deal were listed as board members of the nonprofit Maryland Center for Adult Training, which previously operated under a different name and was once chaired by Pugh. As recently as last year, a screenshot of the website showed Pugh listed as chair emeritus, the Baltimore Business Journal first reported.
The Maryland Center for Adult Training helps disadvantaged and unemployed students get jobs as nurse's aides. It used to be known as the Maryland Center for Arts and Technology.
The Business Journal reports the nonprofit received city funds while Pugh has been mayor.
A public record indicates MCAT received $18,550 in state funding within the past two fiscal years.
Over the past four years, the Baltimore City Board of Estimates provided $83,188 to MCAT -- the number includes $20,000 earmarked this year.
In 2017, Pugh approved $19,800 to the nonprofit. There is no indication she recused herself.
"I haven't been informed of anything to that nature," Young said.
The nonprofit used the same address as Pugh's original company, Healthy Holly LLC, according to state and federal records.
Brown serves as the mayor's director of special projects, Deal is the deputy director of the Mayor's Office of Government Relations and Vance-White is the director of external affairs.
Brown was found guilty 2017 of election law violations that stemmed from illegal contributions to the Committee to Elect Catherine Pugh campaign finance entity. The state prosecutor said Brown, who was working for Pugh's mayoral election campaign, deposited a total of $18,000 into the bank accounts of his mother, stepfather and brother and then immediately contributed that money in their names to the Pugh campaign. The maximum amount an individual is allowed to contribute to a candidate is $6,000 per election cycle. Brown was sentenced to probation before judgment and placed on one year of supervised probation.
Pugh's attorney told the 11 News I-Team that the mayor is still recovering from pneumonia, saying: "She is still recovering from a serious bout of pneumonia. Her doctors are optimistic she will recover. At this time, she has not regained her strength."