For seven weeks before her resignation, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was embroiled in a controversy over sales of "Healthy Holly," a series of children's books she self-published.
The books promote exercise and nutrition through the exploits of their namesake character, a young African-American girl. In March, The Baltimore Sun revealed that Pugh had taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments for the books from the University of Maryland Medical System, beginning when she was a state senator. The hospital network has close ties to the state government, and Pugh was a member of its board.
That first article set off an escalating crisis for Pugh. She resigned her seat on the UMMS board but initially defended the book deal, only to then apologize. On April 1, Pugh announced that she would take a leave of absence, citing the need to recover from pneumonia. That announcement coincided with revelations that other entities, many with business before the city government, had paid for the books; to date, reporting has shown that Pugh's Healthy Holly LLC has collected more than $800,000.
The Office of the State Prosecutor, which investigations public corruption, opened an investigation into Pugh. At the end of April, FBI and IRS agents raided City Hall, her homes and other locations tied to her.