April 8 (UPI) -- The Baltimore City Council sent a letter Monday to Mayor Catherine Pugh urging her to resign, over a scandal involving sales of her book to government branches.
Pugh has come under fire for the sale of her self-published children's book, Healthy Holly, to hospitals and other entities that have business relationships with the city. The University of Maryland Medical System of hospitals was criticized in March when it was reported nine members of its board had deals benefiting their private companies. Three board members, including Pugh, resigned and five others were placed on leave.
Monday, city councilors said Pugh can no longer effectively lead Baltimore.
"It is not in the best interest of the City of Baltimore for you to continue to serve," the 14-person council wrote to Pugh. "We urge you to tender your resignation, effective immediately."
A week ago, Pugh said she would take an indefinite leave of absence for medical reasons.
As a state senator before she was elected mayor, Pugh was paid $500,000 by the UMD Medical System to produce 100,000 Healthy Holly books for use by the Baltimore school system. School officials said they regard the books as "unsolicited," and many remain undistributed.
Associated Black Charities and health insurer Kaiser Permanente said last week they bought about 30,000 copies of the book, paying Pugh nearly $200,000. In 2017, Pugh voted to approve a $48 million contract for Kaiser Permanente to provide insurance to city employees, and Associated Black Charities has a deal with the city to manage a $13 million youth fund.
Maryland's state prosecutor has opened an investigation of the book sales.