BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The last few months have spun Baltimore in a whirlwind of controversy and chaos at City Hall. How did we get here?
The story began in 2001, when Baltimore City Councilwoman Catherine Pugh joined the University of Maryland Medical System Board.
The mayor said in 2010 as state senator, she began publishing her first “Healthy Holly” book after she attended a childhood obesity conference.
Between January 2011 and 2018, the UMMS entered into multiple handshake agreements with Pugh to buy 100,000 books for $500,000.
She admitted there was no contract.
It started when she was a state senator on the Senate Finance Committee and stretched into her time as mayor of Baltimore.
But, not all of the books have been accounted for, and Pugh said she returned $100,000 for one of the orders.
At the same time of the UMMS deal, the nonprofit Associated Black Charities disclosed it paid Pugh nearly $80,000 from money it collected through five sources, including Carefirst and Ariel Investments who later wound up doing business directly with the City.
In 2012, the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund donated 7,500 to Pugh’s company.
Between 2015 and 2018, Kaiser Permanente told WJZ it paid Pugh $114,000. The health provider earned a lucrative contract with the City during tha time.
On March 13th, news of the UMMS deal broke.
Since then: Pugh resigned from her position on the UMMS board, along with two others. Six members systemwide and its CEO were all on leave.
The CEO has since resigned.
“I was outraged when I read these reports,” Gov. Hogan said.
Late March, the mayor apologized for a relationship she called “a mistake,”: but did not answer any questions.
“I am deeply sorry,” Pugh said in the press conference.
On April 1st, the city learned UMMS was far from the only book buyer.
That afternoon, the governor requested the state prosecutor open an investigation. Pugh then announced a leave of absence, citing her health.
Multiple officials also began calling for her outright resignation.
“It raises some serious ethical questions to me,” said Councilman Zeke Cohen.
Later in the week, news of several other investigations and reviews came out. The Baltimore City Board of Ethics is investigating into the Pugh’s dealings in her time as mayor.
The City law department began reviewing contracts the mayor approved through the City’s spending board.
And the state insurance commissioner said his office would review the deals involving the insurance companies.
The next Monday, all 14 members of the council- called on Mayor Pugh to resign.
Last week, the feds got involved, with FBI and IRS agents raiding Pugh’s home, City Hall offices and multiple other locations.
Finally, on Thursday, 50 days after this story broke, Pugh officially resigned.