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Baltimore's embattled mayor announced Monday she is taking an indefinite leave of absence, just as a political scandal described by critics as a 'self-dealing' book-selling arrangement intensifies dramatically and threatens her political career.
In a brief statement, Mayor Catherine Pugh's office announced she feels unable to fulfill her obligations as mayor due to deteriorating health brought on by a recent bout of pneumonia.
Mayor - Decision - Leave - Day - Maryland
The mayor's decision to go on leave came the same day that Maryland's Republican governor called on the state prosecutor to investigate allegations of self-dealing by Pugh and the state's comptroller, a Democrat, urged Pugh to step down immediately.
In a letter to the state prosecutor released Monday, Gov. Larry Hogan said recent allegations facing Pugh and her questionable arrangements to sell her illustrated 'Healthy Holly' books are 'deeply disturbing.'
Hogan - Sale - Health - Care - System
Hogan said he was particularly concerned about a $500,000 sale to a university-based health care system 'because it has significant continuing ties with the State and receives very substantial public funding.'
Meanwhile, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot said in Monday social media posts, 'The Mayor has to resign - now. The people of Baltimore are facing too many serious challenges, as it is, to also deal with such brazen, cartoonish corruption from their chief executive.'
Officials - Calls - Hours - Kaiser - Permanente
The two officials' calls came hours after Kaiser Permanente disclosed that it paid $114,000, between 2015 and 2018, for roughly 20,000 copies of Pugh's self-published 'Healthy Holly' illustrated paperbacks for children.
The revelation came about two weeks after news broke that since 2011, Pugh has received $500,000 selling her illustrated books to the University of Maryland Medical System, a $4 billion hospital network that's one of the largest private employers in the state.
Pugh - Baltimore - Mayor - Year - Baltimore
Pugh became Baltimore's mayor in 2016. The next year, Baltimore's spending board, which is controlled by the mayor, awarded a $48 million contract to the Kaiser...
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