The Latest: Baltimore councilman calls on mayor to resign
BALTIMORE (AP) — The Latest on revelations about Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s lucrative deals to sell her self-published children’s books (all times local):
At least one Baltimore City Council member is calling for Mayor Catherine Pugh to resign as a scandal intensifies over allegations of “self-dealing” arrangements to sell her children’s book series.
Councilman Zeke Cohen says Pugh has “lost the moral mandate to govern and the public’s trust.” Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot has also urged her to resign. Cohen, Franchot and Pugh are Democrats.
Cohen notes that Pugh accepted over $100,000 from Kaiser Permanente for her “Healthy Holly” children’s books while the company was seeking a contract to provide health benefits to city employees.
Cohen says that instead of recusing herself from a Board of Estimates vote when the contract came up “she voted in favor of it.”
Pugh announced Monday she is taking an indefinite leave of absence due to deteriorating health. Her spokespeople say she was recently diagnosed with pneumonia.
Baltimore’s mayor is taking an indefinite leave of absence as a political scandal about “self-dealing” book sales intensifies.
In a Monday statement, Pugh’s office says she has been “advised by her physicians that she needs to take time to recover and focus on her health.” It says she feels as though she is unable to fulfill her obligations as mayor due to deteriorating health.
Her announcement comes shortly after Maryland’s governor called on the state prosecutor to investigate allegations against Pugh and Maryland’s comptroller called on her to resign.
The City Council president will take over Pugh’s day-to-day responsibilities.
Maryland’s governor has called on the state prosecutor to investigate allegations of self-dealing involving Baltimore’s mayor.
In a letter to the state prosecutor released Monday, Gov. Larry Hogan says allegations facing Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh are “deeply disturbing.”
Hogan says he’s particularly concerned about a $500,000 sale to a university-based health care system “because it has significant continuing ties with the State and receives very substantial public funding.”
The Republican governor’s request came shortly after Maryland’s comptroller called on Pugh to resign.
Also Monday, Kaiser Permanente disclosed that it paid $114,000, between 2015 and 2018, for roughly 20,000 copies of Pugh’s self-published “Healthy Holly” illustrated paperbacks for children.
Maryland’s chief accountant is calling for Baltimore’s mayor to step down, calling the latest revelations about lucrative deals to sell her self-published children’s books “brazen, cartoonish corruption.”
In a Monday tweet, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot wrote: “The Mayor has to resign — now.”
His comments came on the same day that Kaiser Permanente disclosed that it paid Mayor Catherine Pugh’s limited liability company about $114,000 for roughly 20,000 copies of her “Healthy Holly” children’s books.
Those purchases came during a period when the health provider sought a city contract.
Pugh became mayor in 2016. The next year, Baltimore’s spending board, which is controlled by the mayor, awarded a $48 million contract to the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic.
Calls to Pugh’s attorney were not immediately returned Monday.