BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City’s Inspector General is demanding information beyond the mayor’s office in the wake of the “Healthy Holly” scandal.
Acting Mayor Jack Young told WJZ the watchdog office has asked Baltimore’s elected officials for a list of all boards and commissions on which they sit.
“I think I gave her more information than she needed,” Young said of Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming.
The investigation is one of many into Pugh’s self-published “Healthy Holly” children’s book.
Mayor Pugh made hundreds of thousands of dollars from the publication by selling it to organizations that do business with the city, including the University of Maryland Medical System. She was a member of the UMMS board at the time.
Pugh’s spokesman said Wednesday that the mayor still intends to return to office when she recovers from pneumonia.
Acting Mayor Young took her place at the Board of Estimates meeting Wednesday morning. The board controls the city’s spending.
Young questioned a $1.5 million loan the city was providing for an East Baltimore development deal, which ultimately was approved. He later told WJZ, “I want to be open and transparent. You’re going to see a lot of other things come on our routine agenda.”
In another shakeup, The Baltimore Sun reports Young placed two of Mayor Pugh’s top aides — her Chief of Staff and her top lobbyist — on paid leave. They join three other Pugh staffers who were placed on paid leave last week.
This comes as several online petitions are calling for the mayor to resign.
Another asks Gov. Hogan to remove Pugh.
Tony Campbell — a member of the Towson University political science faculty and a Maryland Republican Party official — started the petition that asks the governor to take action.
“I think the mayor is holding onto power because she doesn’t think the people of Baltimore care,“ Campell told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. “The constitutional authority that the governor has is quick. It’s easy. We just need to get people motivated to push that action to happen. The first part is to get that groundswell of people to make their voices heard.”
Thiru Vignarajah, a candidate for mayor, called on Pugh to release her tax returns after he did so Wednesday.
“To our knowledge, we are the first mayoral campaign in history to release tax returns, and it’s appropriate because no one should have to wonder whether city leaders are putting their personal financial interest over the public’s interest,“ Vignarajah told Helgren. “One of the ways we reform City Hall is for our leaders to say, ‘Look at our books.’”
Vignarajah also called for a full audit of every city agency and the creation of a Citizens Transparency Board. “Transparency and honesty would have spared Baltimore a decade of disgrace and distraction,” he said.
Acting Mayor Young said he has no plans to make his tax returns public, and he did not believe Mayor Pugh should be forced to do so either.
“That’s a personal decision for her. President Trump hasn’t released his tax returns,“ Young said. “My personal information is my personal information, and I’m quite sure you wouldn’t want others to see your personal information.”
Gov. Hogan is expected to sign measures into law Thursday that would reform the board at the University of Maryland Medical System following the “Healthy Holly” scandal — including making those on the board right now resign and limiting the contracts future members could have with UMMS.