Federal law enforcement agents fanned out Thursday across Baltimore, raiding City Hall, Mayor Catherine Pugh's house and several other locations as the investigation into her business dealings widened.
The University of Maryland Medical System on Thursday received a subpoena for documents in a federal investigation into Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s business dealings.
Michael Schwartzberg, a spokesman for the hospital network, said the medical system “has received a grand jury witness subpoena today from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland seeking documents and information from UMMS in order to conduct their investigation of Mayor Pugh.”
“We are fully cooperating with the investigative process,” Schwartzberg said.
Dave Fitz, an FBI spokesman, confirmed that agents from the Baltimore FBI office and the Washington IRS office were executing search warrants Thursday morning at those locations, as well as other addresses associated with the Democratic mayor. It was the first confirmation that federal authorities, as well as state officials, are investigating the mayor’s activities.
Hauling out boxes of “Healthy Holly” books and documents, dozens of federal law enforcement agents struck offices, homes and government buildings across Baltimore as an investigation into Mayor Catherine Pugh’s business dealings widened. FBI agents and IRS officials raided Pugh's office.
UMMS paid Pugh in five installments from 2011 to 2018. At a news conference late last month, the mayor acknowledged that a fourth book in her Healthy Holly series — for which UMMS paid her $100,000 in 2017 — was “delayed” and was only now being produced.
Nonetheless, the medical system paid her another $100,000 in 2018 for a fifth book. Pugh has admitted that she has not finished that book, and said she has returned the $100,000 payment to UMMS.
Pugh was among nine UMMS board members who had business deals with the medical system that they were tasked with overseeing. Medical system CEO Robert A. Chrencik — who earned $4.3 million in 2017 — was placed on leave March 21 as accusations of self-dealing rocked the hospital network. Pugh and two other board members have resigned, while four others are on leave.
Kaiser did not respond to a request for information about contacts it has had from law enforcement or regulators.
Other insurers have also acknowledged donations made toward books through a separate entity or directly to Pugh’s business, Healthy Holly LLC. The Maryland Auto Insurance Fund, which gave $7,500 to Healthy Holly LLC and $5,000 to Associated Black Charities for books, would not say whether it had been contacted by authorities.
“We will cooperate fully with any governmental investigations. Out of respect for the process, moving forward we will not comment on the existence or nature of any ongoing investigations,” said Cathy Nyce, a spokeswoman for MAIF.
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, which gave $14,500 to Associated Black Charities for books, gave The Sun a statement that said: “CareFirst will cooperate with any and all investigations related to this matter. However, we do not comment on investigations.”
The Maryland Insurance Administration has said it is reviewing the conduct of these insurers and others.