Mayor of Baltimore resigns amid book scandal

Democratic Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned Thursday amid an ongoing scandal over a no-bid book deal steered to the University of Maryland Medical Center, according to a statement.

Her attorney, Steve Silverman, read the short statement at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

“Today I am submitting my written resignation to the Baltimore City Council. I am sorry for the harm that I have caused to the image of the city of Baltimore and the credibility of the office of the mayor,” Silverman said, reading from Pugh’s written statement.

“Baltimore deserves a mayor who can move our great city forward,” Silverman read.

Bernard C. “Jack” Young, the city council’s president who has been serving as the acting mayor since Pugh’s leave of absence, will become the 51st mayor of Baltimore.

“Although I understand that this ordeal has caused real pain for many Baltimoreans, I promise that we will emerge from it more committed than ever to building a stronger Baltimore,” Young wrote in a statement.

Pugh’s resignation comes after the Baltimore City Council called for Pugh to resign amid a scandal over a major purchase of children’s books she authored by the University of Maryland Medical System and other groups.

Last month, Pugh’s office announced she was taking a leave of absence, citing a battle with pneumonia. The announcement came on the same day Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan wrote to the Office of the State Prosecutor and requested an investigation into the sales of thousands of Pugh’s book, “Healthy Holly,” to UMMS while she was a member of its board.

Pugh apologized in March for doing something to “upset the people.” She recently returned $100,000 to the medical system, canceled her book deal and resigned from the hospital’s board.

UMMS spent $500,000 to fund the purchase of some 100,000 books from Pugh’s company, Healthy Holly LLC, UMMS spokesman Michael Schwartzberg confirmed to CNN.

Pugh also received about $114,000 from health care provider Kaiser Permanente for some 20,000 books from 2015 to 2018, according to Kaiser.

Additionally, public foundation Associated Black Charities said it spent approximately $80,000 between 2011 and 2016 to buy some 10,000 copies of Pugh’s books.