As one of the most absurd corruption scandals in recent American memory continues to snowball, agents from the FBI and IRS on Thursday raided two homes owned by Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, as well as city hall, presumably in connection with the “children’s book” corruption scandal that has inflamed tensions in the city and prompted calls for Pugh to resign immediately.
According to AP, Dave Fitz, an FBI spokesman from the agency’s Baltimore office, said the agents were “executing court-authorized search warrants” but couldn’t release any more details because the warrants were sealed. On April 1, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan asked state prosecutors to begin a criminal investigation into what appears to be a brazen kickback scheme involving sales of Pugh’s “Healthy Holly” book series. Agents also raided a non-profit with which Pugh has been associated.
Yes, you read that right. The mayor of Baltimore has been accused of using her position to secure contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from the University of Maryland Medical System and managed-care consortium KaiserPermanente. The contracts were agreements to buy thousands of copies of Pugh’s “Healthy Holly” books, a series written by Pugh.
Pugh was sitting on the organization’s board when she received the contract from the University of Maryland system. And shortly after she received a payment from KaiserPermanente, the company received a $48 million contract from the city. Though we’re sure that’s just a coincidence. Furthermore, some of the “Healthy Holly” copies that Pugh sold to the University of Maryland Medical System remain unaccounted for, and some suspect they may never have been printed.