The Baltimore City Council approved new financial disclosure rules Thursday, sending the legislation to Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young’s desk for a signature.
The bill, according to its sponsor Councilman Ryan Dorsey, "closes the loophole” in city law that allowed former Mayor Catherine Pugh to sell her self-published “Healthy Holly” children’s books without revealing that her customers included companies with business before the city. Pugh pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy and tax evasion in connection to these sales.
The new disclosure rules would require elected officials — including the mayor, the City Council president, the comptroller and council members — to disclose the clients of any company in which they own a 30% stake. They would also have to share whether their spouse owns a substantial stake in a business.
After some back-and-forth, the bill was amended to require elected officials to report the name of anyone who pays the business $1,000 or more and is known to do work with the city.
Pugh disclosed that she owned her children’s book company, Healthy Holly LLC, but not that she was selling tens of thousands of books for hundreds of thousands of dollars to entities that operate within the city and do business with it, including the University of Maryland Medical System, Kaiser Permanente and Associated Black Charities.
These companies made payments ranging from $3,680 and $100,000 for the children’s books, thousands of which Pugh admitted in court to never having printed or distributed.
It was not immediately clear Thursday night whether Young would sign the bill.