AP NEWS

Medical system seeks to recoup $400K from ex-Baltimore mayor

January 31, 2020 GMT

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The University of Maryland Medical System is seeking to recover a remaining $400,000 that was paid to Catherine Pugh, who resigned as Baltimore mayor and pleaded guilty to federal charges in a case involving sales of her self-published children’s books.

The hospital system has recovered about $100,000 of the $500,000 it paid to Pugh and is working with federal prosecutors to recoup the rest, James C. “Chip” DiPaula Jr., the new chairman of the system’s board, told the House Health and Government Operations Committee on Thursday.

Pugh sold her “Healthy Holly” books to non-profits and foundations to promote her political career and fund her run for mayor. The Democratic lawmaker was elected mayor in 2016, and resigned under pressure in May. She awaits sentencing on Feb. 27 on conspiracy and tax evasion charges. She was additionally charged with perjury in December for failing to disclose her business interest in the book.

Pugh’s attorney, Steve Silverman, declined to comment Thursday.

DiPaula and the system’s new CEO, Dr. Mohan Suntha, addressed the House committee in an effort to assure lawmakers that the state’s largest hospital network is undergoing reforms, The Baltimore Sun reported. Suntha, 55, assumed the role last month following sweeping changes.

The organization commissioned a review of its contracting practices, and accepted the resignations of its previous CEO and four other executives after the General Assembly voted to demand the resignation of the entire board, the newspaper said.