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Parent: Council's Pugh offered gifts to teen son

Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh
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DETROIT (AP) -

Detroit Public Schools has received a complaint from the parent of a recent graduate that embattled City Council President Charles Pugh offered her son money and gifts while acting as a mentor in a school program.

Also See: Mother of teen suing Detroit council president Charles Pugh
 
The mother, whose name was not released by the district, came forward earlier this month with concerns involving the 41-year-old Pugh and the mentoring program at Douglass Academy for Young Men, according to district spokesman Steve Wasko.
 
"At the time, the school reached out to the parent who stated that she would prefer to handle the matter personally," Wasko said Wednesday in a statement. "The school has since contacted the parent again in writing seeking to resolve the concerns, and is awaiting a response."
 
The district will review the leadership mentoring program at Douglass Academy, he added.
 
The Associated Press left phone messages at Pugh's office Wednesday afternoon seeking comment.
 
Detroit area attorney Ivan Land said he represents the teen's mother and told The Detroit News that the gifts included a $350 cellphone and prom clothing. The teen also received $160 in cash from Pugh, Land said.
 
Pugh has been a no-show at recent council meetings, prompting some of his peers to openly question his whereabouts.
 
State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr denied Pugh's request this week for a three- to four-week medical leave and instead gave him a 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline to return to work or face losing his $76,000 annual pay.
 
Under the state's emergency manager law, Orr cannot fire council members but does have say-so over their salaries.
 
The Council's powers have been reduced since Orr was hired in March to fix a budget deficit barreling toward $380 million and about $17 billion in city debt. He has control over all matters involving money.
 
Pugh, a former TV anchor, resigned in 2009 from Detroit's Fox Network affiliate and a local radio station to run for council. He became Council president after receiving the most votes in that year's general election.
 
"I have a mandate from the people of Detroit," Pugh said after the election. "The people say they trust me and believe in me, and are looking forward to what new things I bring to the table. We need some new leadership, better collaboration and better cooperation."
 
Earlier this year, Pugh said he would not seek re-election.
 
If Pugh steps down, only six Council members will remain to conduct city business. Kwame Kenyatta resigned last week and Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown moves July 1 to Orr's staff.
 
Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey said the Council can continue to operate as long as there are enough members to make a quorum, but the loss of members will make it difficult for the smaller Council committees to meet.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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