Baltimore Mayor Pugh's former campaign treasurer briefly put forward for seat on troubled pension board

Keith E. Timmons, an attorney who was sanctioned for misconduct in 2016 and was a longtime campaign treasurer for Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, was named on a City Council agenda as her choice to fill a board position at the troubled city employee pension system.

But a spokesman for Pugh said Thursday that Timmons’ inclusion on the agenda was an oversight. Spokesman Greg Tucker said the mayor decided to withdraw Timmons from consideration once a background check was complete.

Timmons’ name was not read out Thursday at a council meeting when other appointees’ names were announced.

“His name had been submitted earlier, was in the pipeline to be slated on the agenda, while the background checks were being completed,” Tucker said. “Upon the completion of those, it was determined that it would be better to withdraw his name.”

Timmons told The Baltimore Sun in a phone interview Thursday that he believed he was a good choice for the board. When a reporter learned of the withdrawal and called again a few minutes later to follow up, Timmons said he got a text message during the first interview that notified him of the change.

“I understand they didn’t want any controversy,” Timmons said. “It’s fine.”

Timmons was Pugh’s campaign treasurer briefly in 2003, and then from 2006 until November 2017. He was also her campaign chairman from 2003 to 2005. During those years, Pugh was elected to City Council, the House of Delegates, the state Senate and her current office.

Timmons, who is now City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young’s campaign treasurer, agreed in 2016 to a 30-day suspension of his law license after the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission pursued allegations by three former clients that Timmons didn’t properly represent them.

Timmons disputed some of the allegations, but acknowledged that there was evidence to prove he violated two rules for lawyers in Maryland, according to a court record summarizing the case.

Lester Davis, a spokesman for Young, said the council president had no advance knowledge of Timmons’ nomination.

The city’s pension system has been roiled this fall after a pair of investigations by the Baltimore inspector general.

The chairman of the board left after an investigation concluded he improperly helped hire his longtime business partner to a job as an adviser. The adviser also departed in the wake of that investigation.

The system’s executive director and lawyer left after another investigation.

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