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Baltimore Mayor On Leave Following Self-Published Kids’ Book Fiasco

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who is embroiled in a fiasco involving her self-published kids’ book, announced she will take an indefinite leave of absence due to health problems Monday.

“At this time, with the Mayor’s health deteriorating, she feels as though she is unable to fulfill her obligations as Mayor of Baltimore City,” Pugh’s office said in a press release Monday. “To that end, Mayor Pugh will be taking an indefinite leave of absence to recuperate from this serious illness.”

Pugh has been “battling pneumonia” for a few weeks, according to the statement.

The 69-year-old mayor came under fire since it was discovered she sold her self-published books, “Healthy Holly: Exercising is Fun,” to the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) for $500,000 while on the system’s board. UMMS made five transactions between 2012 and 2018, according to The Sun.

Maryland Democratic Gov. Larry Hogan said he was worried about the $500,000 sale to a university-affiliated organization “because it has significant continuing ties with the State and receives very substantial public funding,” The Associated Press reported.

Pugh was a state Senate member and on the Senate Finance committee that saw issues related to UMMS for most of the time the book deal existed, according to The Sun. She did not disclose the book’s earnings on financial forms, however.

Health insurer Kaiser Permanente also bought more than $100,000 worth of Pugh’s books between 2015 and 2018, The Sun reported.

Hogan called on state officials to look into the allegations Monday, according to The AP.

“The Mayor has to resign – now,” Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot tweeted Monday. “The people of Baltimore are facing too many serious challenges, as it is, to also to deal with such brazen, cartoonish corruption from their chief executive.”

Pugh resigned from the UMMS board, an announcement said March 18.

She became Baltimore’s mayor in 2016, according to The AP.

City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young will preside over Pugh’s daily routines, the press statement said.

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