Mayor Catherine Pugh’s news conference Thursday about the “Healthy Holly” scandal answered some questions but raised several more — for her, for the University of Maryland Medical System and the Baltimore City schools. Here’s what we still need to know:
What’s the status of the fourth book?
Mayor Pugh provided printing manifests for the first three Healthy Holly books, but she said publication of the fourth had been delayed and was now in progress. When did she place the order for the fourth book to be printed? Who is printing it, and under what terms? The Canadian company that printed the first three books says it has received no order for a fourth.
Who shared the profits, and how much?
Previously, Ms. Pugh had said she made $20,000 in profit on each $100,000 order of books by UMMS. The printer told The Sun that it charged $13,000 for each batch of 20,000 books — including shipping. The illustrator told The Sun that he did not charge for his work but that some of his associates were paid. Mayor Pugh has also indicated that she paid another woman, Carmellita Green, for her work on the book, but she declined to say how much. What were Ms. Pugh’s actual costs to produce the books?
What contact did UMMS have with the schools?
Ms. Pugh provided documentation that in 2011, UMMS Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Jerry Wollman wrote to the Baltimore City school system to formally offer 20,000 copies of the first “Healthy Holly” book as part of its outreach mission to promote health. The letter requested a return signature from the system indicating its willingness to accept the donation, which was provided by an aide to Sonja Santelises, who was then the system’s chief academic officer. Did UMMS make any effort to determine whether the system found the books valuable? Did it ask whether the system would be willing to accept future shipments of “Healthy Holly” books? Are there any such letters related to the subsequent two shipments?
Did UMMS check what it was getting for its money?
Was UMMS aware that the fourth Healthy Holly book had not been printed or distributed when it sent a $100,000 payment to Mayor Pugh for the fifth book, which is still being written?
Does the school system have more books somewhere?
Baltimore school officials have told The Sun that they recall receiving one shipment of Healthy Holly books in the 2011-2013 time frame. But documents Mayor Pugh provided Thursday show three shipments of Healthy Holly books to the system’s North Avenue headquarters in 2011, 2013 and 2015. What happened to those books? Are school officials certain they did not receive them? The system says it has 8,700 of them in a warehouse. Where are the others?
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