You might remember a story Twitchy posted earlier this week about Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and her side business, running a publishing house for a series of children’s books that she herself writes.
Pugh’s “Healthy Holly” series really seemed to be in demand. The University of Maryland Medical System quickly bought up 100,000, racking up a tidy profit of $500,000 for Mayor Pugh. Oh, and one more thing; Pugh was sitting on the board of UMMS at the time of the transaction.
Although intrepid reporters did track down 8,700 unsolicited and unopened boxes of “Health Holly” books at a decrepit Baltimore School District Warehouse, no one could seem to find anyone who’d actually just, you know, bought a copy.
ProPublica’s Alec MacGillis, who’s been following the story, says that’s no surprise: no one bought any.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh acknowledges that she has not sold a single one of her Healthy Holly children's books to anyone other than the medical system that bought 100,000 of them for $500,000 while she sat on its board: https://t.co/5beKOmN5Zq
— Alec MacGillis (@AlecMacGillis) March 21, 2019
Best of all, get this: the mayor is calling inquiries into her relationship with the UMMS board a “witch hunt”:
“All my income is reported to the IRS and everything is filed,” Pugh said in a telephone interview with The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday afternoon. “I don’t know what witch hunt y’all are on, but it’s done. I’ve got 1099s and I pay my taxes and everything is filed.”
In the interview, Pugh said she decided to return $100,000 to the medical system because she is still working on her latest book — “Healthy Holly: Walking With My Family” — and wanted to fully “settle” her relationship with UMMS after resigning from the board.
She said she believed she sent 21,000 books to the Baltimore City Public School System, which she called the result of an agreement with schools officials.
“Many of the elementary schools around the city should have received them,” the mayor told The Sun. “I don’t know why they haven’t distributed them.”
Schools officials have said that they received an “unsolicited” shipment of an unknown number of books from Pugh sometime between 2011 and 2013, but that they have not been able to locate any documentation related to the shipment.
Yeah, that all sounds on the up-and-up. And now we can’t wait to read “Healthy Holly: Walking With My Family.” She could have told her illustrator how well the book was selling, though:
The man who illustrated Mayor Catherine Pugh's "Healthy Holly" books says he did so for free.
"I wasn’t interested in making a profit. I felt like I was doing a good deed." https://t.co/15ju1a6j0v
— The Baltimore Sun (@baltimoresun) March 22, 2019
Amount UMMS paid Pugh for books:
Who can't/won't account for books:
Info Pugh won't share:
– amount she paid illustrator team
– amount she paid book designer
– amount she paid printer
– who her printer is
– her tax recordshttps://t.co/LXot0YaeAY
— Kevin Rector (@RectorSun) March 22, 2019
I have been doing book promo all wrong, apparently
— Jason Fagone (@jfagone) March 22, 2019
One would think her lawyers would have told her to shut up already. She’s not helping herself in the least.
— Brian Gaither (@briangaither) March 21, 2019
honest q: there's nothing illegal per se about this, right? just _wildly_ unethical?
— timbo (@timmyintransit) March 21, 2019
There is possible, though not yet alleged, fraud, bribery, and campaign finance violations. I would say her exposure is pretty high and public comments in the press would be lead to greater likelihood of investigation by OSP and/or FBI. Also public stmts are admissible evidence.
— Brian Gaither (@briangaither) March 21, 2019
Word is her campaign dipped into her “Healthy Holly” earnings, which again, were all from the UMMS while she was a board member.
This keeps getting worse… pic.twitter.com/e3hwBXqyAA
— Kimberly 🤷🏾♀️ (@KimberlyWriter) March 21, 2019
I agree, with the caveat that it’s always been…. we just didn’t KNOW about it because no one was looking.
— Marlena Jareaux (@MJareaux) March 21, 2019
More importantly, has Healthy Holly been vaccinated?
— David Pomerantz (@davidpom2000) March 21, 2019
The real problem's with the University of Maryland Medical System which is cutting these kinds of deals with multiple board members.
— Emm Martin (@emmartin173) March 21, 2019
Right! Who there is going to be accountable for making these deals?
— Laura Schoefield (@coffeeandchucks) March 21, 2019
Maybe had the medical system bought a million copies the could have gotten a discount. Say $4.00 a book.
— richard silliker (@richardsilliker) March 21, 2019
That’s a little awkward.
— Hugh McLaurin (@HughMcLaurin) March 21, 2019
— MM (@sapientpig) March 21, 2019
The hospital system's CEO, who makes $4.2 mil a year, may pay a very dear price for those books.https://t.co/HqzARvZjwV
— Harris Meyer (@MHHmeyer) March 21, 2019
— Tim Van Der Laan (@vanderlaan_tim) March 22, 2019
She should resign. The people of Baltimore should demand it.
— Wondering Woman (@Ndelible) March 22, 2019
If UMMS is 501(c)(3) do they get tax advantages for then donating the books they purchased?
— Lee Crofton Douthitt (@lcdouthitt) March 21, 2019
Well, that certainly looks corrupt. I'd say an investigation is in order. Into that matter and to see what other things she has been up to. I doubt any ethics lawyer would approve of this.
— Pug Mahon (@T_shirtSlogans) March 21, 2019
Thanks to the popularity of “Healthy Holly,” Baltimore’s not known just for record homicides anymore.
Baltimore’s mayor appears to be up to some expensive shenanigans with her children’s book series https://t.co/jk23ODv2AI
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) March 20, 2019