Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh (D) is taking a leave of absence amid a scandal involving sales of her series of children’s books.
Pugh’s office said in a statement that Pugh will be taking an indefinite leave to recover from pneumonia, which her office said she has had “for the past few weeks.”
“She has been advised by her physicians that she needs to take time to recover and focus on her health. At this time, with the Mayor’s health deteriorating, she feels as though she is unable to fulfill her obligations,” the statement read.
Pugh’s leave comes after The Baltimore Sun reported Monday that Kaiser Permanente paid about $114,000 for 20,000 copies of Pugh’s “Healthy Holly” books between 2015 and 2018, including while the company was bidding for a lucrative city contract.
Pugh became mayor in late 2016. In 2017, the city’s spending board, of which Pugh is a member, awarded a $48 million contract to Kaiser to provide health benefits to city employees.
Earlier this month, Pugh resigned from the board of directors for the University of Maryland Medical System after the Sun reported that Pugh made $500,000 when the hospital purchased another 100,000 copies of the “Healthy Holly” books.
Pugh apologized last week for the transaction, calling it a “regrettable mistake,” as reported by the Sun.
“In hindsight, this arrangement with the University of Maryland Medical System was a regrettable mistake,” she said during a news conference.
Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young will take over as mayor during Pugh’s absence.
Updated at 4:53 p.m.