BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Looks like Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s saga with the sale of her “Healthy Holly” book series isn’t over yet.

Kaiser Permanante said in a statement to WJZ that it paid Pugh $114,000 for “Healthy Holly” books from 2015-2018. Pugh became mayor in December 2016.

Mayor Pugh then announced she is taking an indefinite leave of absence starting Tuesday at midnight, citing health issues.

‘It Raises More Questions Than Ever,’ Md. Elected Officials React To Mayor Pugh’s Statement Surrounding ‘Healthy Holly’ Deal

The mayor has been criticized for making $500,000 off the sale of her books to the University of Maryland Medical System while she was on its board.

She resigned from the UMMS board last month before spending several days in the hospital for pneumonia.

According to The Baltimore Sun, the city’s spending board awarded the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States Inc. a $48 million contract to provide city employees with health insurance options through 2020. Pugh controls and sits on that board, the Sun reported.

On Thursday, Pugh held a press conference and said the deal was a “mistake.” She discussed the line of “Healthy Holly” baby clothes as well.

Comptroller Peter Franchot called for Pugh’s resignation Monday.

“It shows that integrity is missing in a lot of our public officials,” Franchot said.

“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,” Franchot said

“We are becoming a cartoon for the rest of this country because of this book scandal, but the book scandal is just a tiny bit of this pattern of misconduct that’s going on over the last several months in Maryland,” Franchot said..

Below is the full statement Kaiser Permanante sent WJZ:

Since 2013, Kaiser Permanente has purchased and distributed thousands of books for children, families and adults free of charge as part of our commitment to improving the health of the communities we serve. We have distributed books about leadership, healthy habits and other wellness topics at no cost because we know that reading has long-term positive effects on health, including better sleep, lower stress levels, higher self-esteem and decreased rates of depression among readers vs. non-readers. We have delivered books to back-to-school fairs, elementary schools, communities of faith and early childhood education and care centers, for example.

Since 2015, Kaiser Permanente has purchased and distributed Healthy Holly, among other books, to families and children throughout Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. We have purchased and distributed about 20,000 Healthy Holly books, at a cost of approximately $114,000.

Pugh did claim ownership of the Health Holly LLC in her ethics disclosures in 2016 and 2017. She also reported that she received income from the series in 2017.

Kaiser Permanente released an expanded statement later Monday afternoon:

Since 2013, Kaiser Permanente has purchased and distributed thousands of books for children, families and adults free of charge as part of our commitment to improving the health of the communities we serve. We have distributed books about leadership, healthy habits and other wellness topics at no cost because we know that reading has long-term positive effects on health, including better sleep, lower stress levels, higher self-esteem and decreased rates of depression among readers vs. non-readers.

Since 2015, Kaiser Permanente has purchased Healthy Holly books and distributed them to families and children throughout Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. We have delivered books to back-to-school fairs, elementary schools, communities of faith and early childhood education and care centers, for example.

We purchased Healthy Holly books because we believe residents would be inspired by a book about health and wellness authored by a member of the Baltimore community.

Kaiser Permanente has been available to Baltimore City government employees since 1986. Our purchase of the Healthy Holly books nearly 30 years after being selected as one of the health plan providers for the city employees has no connection with our commitment to continue offering our care to Baltimore City government employees.

In light of the issues that have been raised, Kaiser Permanente is reviewing the process through which books are selected and procured.

Stay with WJZ on this developing story.

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