This statement from Mayor Catherine Pugh comes as the University of Maryland Medical System places its CEO on leave today, amid disclosures that members of its board – including Pugh – received lucrative contracts from UMMS.
In interviews yesterday, Pugh declined to release her personal and business tax filings. Today’s news release represents Pugh’s most detailed comments yet on her self-published Healthy Holly children’s books, for which UMMS paid her $500,000:
“As many people know, I am very interested in health and fitness – particularly as it relates to our children. They may not know that I have been a publisher since 1979 and an author for 25 years.
“I started working on the Healthy Holly concept more than a decade ago after
attending a conference on childhood health and obesity, and, for several years, I put a great deal of time and my own money into developing it.
“One my colleagues loved it and thought it would help advance children’s health.”
“It was a project that I was passionate about, and I was excited for the opportunity to expand its reach. I recall passing the time by thumbing through the first book before an UMMS meeting. One my colleagues loved it and thought it would help advance children’s health.
“Despite all that has happened, I am glad that the important messages in the book reached our city’s children. I never thought this would lead to today, and I understand how it may look to some, but here is what I have done to address this matter:
- I have resigned from the UMMS Board. It was an honor to serve an
institution that does so much good, but it was time to leave. I have more than enough to do as mayor.
- I updated my old Senate financial disclosure forms to be transparent upon learning that these transactions were disclosed on one set of forms but not another. I’m not sure why this oversight occurred, but it has been corrected.
- I have returned the most recent payment.
- Like any other small business owner, I’ve reported this revenue on my tax
“I plan to keep working to improve the health of children in our city, and I will keep writing – with this experience in mind.”