Democrat Baltimore mayor faces backlash amid controversy surrounding “Healthy Holly” books

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:47 AM PT — Thursday, March 28, 2019

Police and journalists are conducting a massive search in Maryland. What’s missing? A book. Tens of thousands of books to be more precise.

The “Healthy Holly” series written by the Democrat mayor of Baltimore — Catherine Pugh — is circulating as a scandal on news outlets instead of as a hit on the New York Times Best Seller’s list. This week a local newspaper brought attention to an undisclosed book deal between Mayor Pugh and the University of Maryland medical system starting in 2011.

Over the course of seven years, while Pugh was an active member of the university’s board, 100,000 copies of her book were purchased by the university to be distributed to schools and day cares. However, the arrangement between the two parties allowed Pugh to deposit the royalties without any proof the books were published or delivered.

FILE – In this June 8, 2018 file photo, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh addresses a gathering during the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Boston. Pugh on Monday, March 18, 2019, stepped down from the University of Maryland Medical System’s board of directors, days after it came to light that the hospital network had for years purchased her self-published children’s books. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

“It bothers me that the school system doesn’t know where the books are,” said Brandon Scott, a Baltimore city councilman. “No one knows where the books are — that’s extremely concerning to me.”

After the financial dealings were exposed earlier this month, Pugh pledged to return her most recent installment of $100,000. She also resigned from the university’s Board of Directors. Two other members of the board also resigned, and four others went on voluntary leave while the university reviews its policies.

While Pugh defended the nature of this ordeal by calling her lack of documentation “an oversight,” public policy professors are calling it an unethical lapse of major proportions.

“This situation definitely raises concerns about what was going on at the University of Maryland Medical System,” said Zeke Cohen, another Baltimore city councilman.

Pugh is expected to hold a news conference to address her resignation as well as the book’s controversial distribution.

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