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  1. #1 Baltimore Mayor Resigns From Board That Paid $500K For Her Books 
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    Baltimore Mayor Resigns From Board That Paid $500K For Her Books

    Over the weekend we talked about the awkward situation Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh of Baltimore has found herself in. On top of all the rest of her duties, the mayor has found time to write (and self-publish) a number of children’s books over the years. This turned out to be a very lucrative side-gig because one of the books sold tens of thousands of copies, netting Pugh more than half a million dollars over the past eight years. Curiously, nearly all of those large numbers of copies were purchased by one customer… the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS). And by what I’m sure just had to be a remarkable set of completely unrelated coincidences, Catherine Pugh was not only the mayor of the city where UMMS has a significant presence, but she was on the UMMS Board of Directors as well. Isn’t that just the strangest and most fortunate bit of happenstance imaginable?

    Well, the gravy train may be coming to an end. The press got hold of the story and now the Mayor has resigned from the UMMS board. (WaPo)

    Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh has resigned from the board of the University of Maryland Medical System following a controversy involving a deal with the hospital system to buy her children’s books.

    Last week, Pugh (D) and others on the health system’s board were criticized by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and top state lawmakers for the financial deals with the hospital system and possible conflicts of interest.

    On a financial disclosure form, Pugh listed a $100,000 profit for one year from selling 20,000 copies of her self-published children’s books series “Healthy Holly” to the University of Maryland health system, which runs 13 hospitals including the state’s trauma unit in Baltimore and has connections with the state’s dental and medical schools.
    Anyone who's seen the play area of a Pediatrics floor in a hospital has seen that wear and tear happens to the toys, games, and books. So a 13 hospital system buy 100 or 200 of a book it REALLY wanted might not be TOO unusual. But 20,000 copies? That's self-dealing or bribery. An ordinary person would be getting measured for an orange jumpsuit, so if she gets a wrist-slap, it's partisan politics.
    Timeline of US Coronavirus Events & Actions: http://www.gopbriefingroom.com/index...tml#msg2169385

    Timeline of China Coronavirus Events & Actions: http://www.gopbriefingroom.com/index...tml#msg2184146

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  2. #2  
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    Thousands Of Those Books Baltimore’s Mayor Sold Are Sitting In A Warehouse

    While writing about this story, I asked one question that seemed obvious for the local media to investigate. Why in the world would eleven hospitals and clinics need tens of thousands of copies of the same book to give away to children? How many patients in that age group do they have? And wouldn’t they perhaps enjoy a variety of books, rather than just this one? (It’s called Healthy Holly: Fruits Come in Colors Like the Rainbow.) Now we know at least part of the answer to that question. There are nearly ten thousand copies sitting in a warehouse and nobody seems to know what they were supposed to do with them. (Baltimore Sun)

    More than 8,000 copies of a children’s book written by Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh are sitting in a Baltimore school system-owned warehouse, according to a spokeswoman…

    City schools spokeswoman Anne Fullerton said that the district has not been able to locate documentation related to book shipments, but that staff members recall a shipment of “unsolicited” copies being delivered between 2011 and 2013. She said the school system can’t confirm how many books were received or the number of books handed out to students.

    “However, we can confirm that approximately 8,700 copies of Healthy Holly: Fruits Come in Colors Like the Rainbow are currently located in a district warehouse,” she wrote in an email. “We have no record of any subsequent shipments or donations, and staff members have no recollection of any shipments beyond the one dating from the 2011-13 period.”
    City Hall continues to insist that nothing illegal was going on because there is no law against board members having private contracts for goods and services with UMMS. (State legislators are scrambling to put such a law on the books at the moment.) But… c’mon, man. The medical system is spending taxpayer dollars for everything it does and surely there’s some requirement that the money is spent prudently on the actual needs of the institution.

    The problem here is that this is such an obvious case of grifting. One-third of the board members have such private contracts, all paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even if there’s some loophole that allows this to happen, it’s still a case of public officials blatantly stealing from the taxpayers. If UMMS had an actual need for that ridiculous number of copies of her children’s books to give away they wouldn’t be collecting dust in a warehouse with no documentation to explain their presence.
    Just ... wow! I live a full continent's length away, and there maybe something I don't understand or know about this. But this really looks like a bunch of that University of Maryland Medical System Board of Directors members are using their positions to line their pockets well beyond the salary they receive for their service!
    Timeline of US Coronavirus Events & Actions: http://www.gopbriefingroom.com/index...tml#msg2169385

    Timeline of China Coronavirus Events & Actions: http://www.gopbriefingroom.com/index...tml#msg2184146

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