Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. named former Baltimore City Councilwoman Catherine E. Pugh yesterday to an open seat in the Maryland General Assembly, appearing to cut short an expected legal challenge.
The selection of Pugh came a day after the 40th Legislative District Democratic Committee failed to agree on a replacement for the late Del. Tony E. Fulton, and voted to send Ehrlich two names - Pugh and Wendell Rawlings, son of the late Del. Howard P. Rawlings.
"Catherine Pugh has represented the citizens of Baltimore City as a Council member for years," Ehrlich said in a statement. "I am confident that she will equally represent the citizens of the city in her new capacity as delegate."
The five-member district committee had split 2-2 Wednesday night between Pugh and Rawlings.
The committee's fifth member was absent.
Rawlings had said he should be declared the delegate, claiming that the vote of committee member Tyrone E. Keys should not be counted because he does not live in the district.
Yesterday afternoon, Rawlings said he was preparing to seek a court injunction to prevent the governor from choosing one of the two before addressing Keys' residency.
According to online property records, Tyrone E. Keys has paid no real estate taxes in the city for the past four years, and city records have no property listing under his name since at least 2001.
Baltimore County records show that Tyrone E. Keys and Syreeta C. Keys paid taxes for their home on Village Green Drive in Woodstock, Baltimore County.
Records in the Baltimore City Board of Elections show Keys' address in the city as in the 2100 block of N. Dukeland St.
A telephone call to that address was answered by Sandra Hughes, who said she is Keys' mother.
Hughes said her son lives at the Dukeland Street address in the city, and that it is Keys' grandmother's house.
"I'm his mother," she said. "This is his grandmother's house. We all live here together."
Tyrone Keys insisted last night that he lives at the Dukeland Street house though it is deeded to his grandmother.
"A man can own or live in more than one house," he said.
Robert Zarnoch, an assistant attorney general and counsel to the General Assembly, said that a court, if asked, could rule on Keys' residency and possibly overturn the committee vote.
But if the governor made his choice before the court got involved - as happened yesterday- it could not be changed.