BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The drumbeats of multiple investigations sound like they’re getting louder when hearing about the inside deals between the University of Maryland Medical System and its board members.
As more details come to light, bringing about more questions, the City’s Board of Ethics met behind closed doors Wednesday and decided to open an investigation into the mayor’s book deals.
The University of Maryland Medical System Board hired an outside audit firm to begin its work Tuesday, and the governor has asked the state prosecutor to investigate Mayor Catherine Pugh’s deals.
But the inquiry doesn’t stop there- a possible criminal investigation is under way- including the audit and an examination from the state’s insurance commissioner.
Another state’s insurance commissioner is looking into questionable donations and purchases to the mayor from multiple insurance providers.
Acting Mayor Jack Young said the City law department is looking into the last 90 contracts approved by the Board of Estimates.
Investigators appear to be circling Mayor Pugh’s business deals from multiple directions as she continues her leave of absence.
Mayor Pugh’s children’s books sales total nearly $700,000 from at least seven buyers including other donations to her LLC, without book orders.
“We’re going to, I think, have to rely on the state prosecutor to get the facts as to what is going on up there. My fear is that we have only barely broken the skin of the apple,” said Comptroller Peter Franchot on Wednesday.
A reform bill is making its way through the State Assembly, where Sen. Jill Carter is a sponsor.
“My bill created a firestorm, and I just want to constantly remind that it was about a lot more than Catherine Pugh. In fact, she was not even a thought when I put in the bill. There were 9 members of the board that were self-dealing, that were gaining millions of dollars awarding contracts to themselves,” Sen. Carter said.
“The mock outrage–people who have been intimately involved with this board for decades is very troubling. And, I think the governor is, as I’ve said, spot on for asking the state prosecutor to get the facts, because one sleazy deal after another appears on a daily basis,” Comptroller Franchot said.
The Board of Ethics meets Wednesday at 2:30 p.m., where the Mayor’s business dealings are not on the agenda, but expected to be discussed.
Back in Baltimore, it’s the second day with no permanent leader in Baltimore City.
The acting Mayor Jack Young is working to move the city forward as the information surrounding Mayor Pugh’s business dealings continues to surface.
Young said his focus is not on Mayor Pugh’s business dealings and the scandal that’s followed.
He said he is working to keep Baltimore on track.
Wednesday morning, he said he believes she should have disclosed her book sales on her financial disclosure forms, starting back when she was a state senator.
But when asked about whether or not he thinks she should resign, he is not weighing in.
“My thoughts are the same as before. The process needs to work itself out, and I respect that process,” Acting Mayor Young said.
Some City Council members have said no matter how this ends, they support an investigation in order to bring answers and closure on the controversy currently surround the mayor’s office.