Baltimore shifts to new political era after mayor resigns

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Amid a chorus of calls for her resignation by city and state officials, including every member of the Baltimore City Council, Pugh finally delivered the letter Thursday, in what her lawyer described as "a sad day for Mayor Pugh and a sad day for the city of Baltimore".

Silverman announced a news conference for Thursday afternoon to discuss the mayor's future.

I would like to thank you for allowing me to serve as the 50th mayor.

Her resignation comes a week after the Federal Bureau of Investigation and tax agents raided her home, City Hall office and a third location. All we know about her status and intentions comes from a private attorney, Steven Silverman, and now he's telling us that at 3:30 today in his office - not the mayor's residence, not City Hall - he will inform Baltimore of who its mayor will be.

In 2009, former Mayor Sheila Dixon was found guilty of misdemeanour embezzlement and was forced to resign.

Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young has been running city government during the mayor's leave of absence.

Ms Pugh has been on sick leave since 1 April, recovering from pneumonia, according to her office.

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She also disclosed that 40,000 of the books UMMS paid for were never produced. Young, a Democrat and longtime City Council member, is now in Detroit for a conference about economic development and will return to Baltimore over the weekend.

In a phone interview, Young told The Associated Press he's ready to make changes and is focused on reducing one of the country's highest rates of violent crime and tidying up the city's streets. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has said Pugh should step down and the state prosecutor is investigating public corruption accusations against her. The book sales went to businesses she had influence over, or sought to do business with the city.

After the mess left by Pugh, a Democrat, the Maryland Republican Party believes it might have a better shot in Maryland's biggest city, where the Democratic nomination has always been as good as being elected. "Baltimore City can now begin to move forward".

In recent weeks, federal agents raided her two homes, her City Hall office and other locations.

While Pugh stepped down from the board and called the book deal a "regrettable mistake", she repeatedly said she would not be stepping down as mayor.

With the intensification of her resignation for a couple of days now, she made no reaction and continued staying in her three-story home where she had been for almost one month. "I have listened to the concerns of our citizens and I will continue to work diligently to address those concerns".

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