DETROIT (WXYZ) - Embattled Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh's threatened to harm himself in a conversation with the mother of a teen he was mentoring.
Pugh's family is standing by him, but they are also worried about his well-being, and they want him to come forward and face the allegations against him.
7 Action News Investigator talked with Pugh's uncle, Phillip Pugh. He is the oldest brother of Charles Pugh's father who is deceased.
He says he doesn't think that city council president has done anything improper with his mentoring of young men. He wants him to know that the family loves him and they are one hundred percent behind him.
Pugh spoke freely, and allowed us to take his picture but said he did not want to speak on camera. He told Lewis that he last spoke with his nephew on the phone on Father's day.
"He said happy Father's Day. He said he would be back in town by Monday and would bring me a Father's day gift by Tuesday. I haven't seen or heard from him since," Pugh said.
Philip Pugh also said that the City Council President is still out of town, but he doesn't know where. He said another family member spoke with Pugh yesterday after the controversy over his gifts to the young man he was mentoring hit the news media.
"He was Okay, Phillip Pugh said, he just needed to clear his head because of what was going on. Mentally he's taken a beating."
Some fear Charles Pugh could be so despondent he could be considering taking his life. Pugh said as much when 7 Action News was interviewing the mother of the young man Pugh was mentoring. Pugh called the mom's cell phone repeatedly while our cameras were rolling. He threatened suicide when the mom repeatedly rejected his pleas not to take her story to the media.
This is a verbatim of the conversation we recorded:
Pugh: I'm thinking about killing myself because I can't, I can't…
Mom: Why would you want to kill yourself? What did you do wrong?
Pugh: I didn't do anything wrong, but I'm saying, the media, the media…
Mom: Evidently, you have something …
Pugh: The media are going to blow out what you say and try to make me out to be something that I'm not when I'm just trying to help.
Pugh's uncle addressed the question of whether his nephew would do anything so rash.
"I don't think so, Phillip Pugh said, I seriously don't think that's in the realm, but anything can happen when you're backed against the wall. We want him to get in touch with us and let us know we love him," said Pugh.
Pugh also wants his nephew to come back to Detroit and deal with this issue.
"We want him to come back firm like he's always done, say what he has to say and get it done. We're going to stand behind him one hundred percent, because he's done too much for our community to allow something like this."
Phillip Pugh says he doesn't think his nephew had any bad intentions giving the young man cash and gifts. He said it has been a tradition in the Pugh family that goes back two generations.
"As a family we have always reached out to the community and to young people, needy blacks and given them things," Pugh said.
Charles Pugh's uncle says he thinks the only reason this has become and issue and blown up is because of Pugh's political Position. He said giving gifts is the way they are as a family and he thinks that's something lacking in many families today.