'Healthy Holly' children's book scandal brings down Baltimore mayor

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Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned May 2 amid criticism over a $500,000 book deal she had with the Baltimore-based University of Maryland Medical System while she was a member of the health system's board, according to The New York Times.

The resignation comes about a month after the Baltimore City Council wrote a letter to Ms. Pugh urging her to immediately resign over the scandal.

Ms. Pugh resigned from the medical system's board of directors in March amid scrutiny for failing to disclose the book deal, but she had indicated she would not resign as mayor, according to the Times.

In response to the city council's letter, Ms. Pugh's office released a statement saying her leave of absence was for health reasons and that she "fully intends to resume the duties of her office."

But on May 2, Ms. Pugh announced that she is resigning, days after the mayor the Baltimore City Council proposed amending the city charter so they would be able to remove Ms. Pugh from office, and after the FBI raided her two homes and her Baltimore office, the Times reports.

Bernard "Jack" Young, president of the Baltimore City Council, who has been acting mayor, has taken over the position permanently.

"I am sorry for the harm that I have caused to the image of Baltimore and the credibility of the office of the mayor," Ms. Pugh told media in a statement read aloud by her lawyer, Steve Silverman, at a press conference. "Baltimore deserves a mayor who can move our great city forward."

Ms. Pugh has been under fire since it was revealed in March that UMMS paid her $500,000 for 100,000 copies of her "Healthy Holly" children's books. Ms. Pugh later returned the most recent $100,000 of her profit from the book deal. A spokesperson for the mayor told CBS Baltimore in March that the mayor returned the money and that the books were sitting in a district warehouse.

Maryland lawmakers reportedly have passed legislation that will replace UMMS' board this summer, and generally bans future board members from receiving contracts without competitive bidding.

 

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