In June, the Barometer expressed concern about then-Baltimore-mayor Catherine Pugh because of her book sales. “Her former Honor has a series of books, known as the Healthy Holly series (children’s books), that help children learn about healthy living. The books are self-published, leaving out that pesky step of editors, reviews, distribution, etc. No need for all that rigmarole, Her Honor also found bulk purchasers for her books. The also former state senator served on a number of nonprofit boards, and the organizations would purchase large numbers of Healthy Holly books. The University of Maryland Medical System was one of of the book purchasers ($500,000 for 100,000 books), and the then-Senator Pugh went on to sponsor legislation that would have benefited the System (had it passed). In fairness to Mayor Pugh, there were 9 board members of the System that had contracts with the System. However, when Mayor Pugh took office (and let us not forget that Mayor Pugh was elected to replace the former Baltimore mayor who was convicted of embezzlement in 2010) contracts with the city were closely timed to book sales.Kaiser Permanente purchased $100,000 in books, and then received a $48 million contract from the city. Whoa, Nellie, that Baltimore/Maryland area is treacherous ethical territory.”
It is also treacherous legal territory. Ms. Pugh was indicted on federal charges of wire-fraud and, of course, the inevitable tax problems that go hand-in-hand. The indictment alleges the book sales brought in $500,000 even though many of the books were not delivered or were double-sold. The tax charge indicates that Ms. Pugh reported $31,020 in income in 2016 and the indictment alleges actual income was $322,365. Heck of a difference, and a heck of a lot of detail. The Feds must have had cooperation from those who purchased the book.