Baltimore mayor resigns amid children's book scandal

Baltimore mayor resigns amid children's book scandal

Baltimore mayor resigns amid children's book scandal

Pugh's resignation is effective immediately, her attorney Steve Silverman said at a press conference that she herself did not attend. "Baltimore deserve a mayor who can move our great city forward".

Pugh, once seen as a cleaner option in a city with a history of wrongdoing by politicians, was ultimately overtaken by the public outcry over hundreds of thousands of dollars in deals for her "Healthy Holly" books.

Young, a fellow Democrat and a longtime leader of the City Council, automatically replaced Pugh after her resignation Thursday afternoon. There was no contract for the books, and some of the purchases were called "grants" in federal filings. Maryland's state prosecutor opened an investigation into the book sales.

At this time, no local, state, or federal authorities have charged her with any crime. She initially announced that she was taking a leave of absence to recover from pneumonia. She was hospitalized for five days in late March.

Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young has been running city government during the mayor's leave of absence. He has said that he does not want the position on a permanent basis.

In recent weeks, Pugh's fractured administration has lurched from one crisis to another and various aides have been fired or left City Hall. When asked who Kaiser bought the books from, company spokesman Scott Lusk said: "We purchased the books from Healthy Holly, LLC".

According to the Sun, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield also bought some of Pugh's illustrated books in 2011 and 2014.

Earlier in the year, Pugh had taken $500,000 for the books from the University of Maryland Medical Systems. She recently returned $100,000 to the medical system, canceled her book deal and resigned from the hospital's board. In March, The Baltimore Sun broke the story about Pugh's possibly inappropriate collection of payments from Kaiser Permanente and Associated Black Charities.

Pugh had been defiant in resisting calls for her resignation. Maryland's Republican governor and numerous Democrats had pressed for her resignation, saying she was no longer fit to lead Baltimore. "The federal and state investigations must and will continue to uncover the facts", he said.

As member station WYPR's Emily Sullivan reported, Pugh's lawyers told reporters that evening that she was "becoming lucid" but not yet well enough to decide whether to resign.

Someone who was convicted of stealing from and deceiving the citizens of her own needy city should never get another single vote of support or confidence.

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