Baltimore LGBT lawmakers remain mixed on whether the city’s embattled mayor should resign over the “Healthy Holly” scandal.
Openly gay state Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) on Friday told the Washington Blade that Catherine Pugh should step down.
“I believe the mayor should resign,” said Clippinger.
State Sen. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City), the first openly LGBT person of color elected to the Maryland Senate, has not responded to multiple requests for comment from the Blade.
On April 1, she wrote, “May Mayor Catherine Pugh find peace and health during her ‘temporary leave of absence’” on her Facebook page but did not express any further opinions.
State Del. Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City), an out lesbian, also has not responded to a request for comment on the issue from the Blade.
Pugh began her leave of absence on April 1, citing pneumonia. Her spokesperson, James Bentley, in an April 8 statement said she plans to return to work once she recovers.
Pugh announced her leave the same day Republican Gov. Larry Hogan asked the Office of the State Prosecutor to investigate the sale of 100,000 copies of Pugh’s “Healthy Holly” book series to the University of Maryland Medical System between 2011-2018. These $500,000 worth of sales occurred while Pugh served on the board of UMMS.
The books were meant to go to schools or other children’s centers, but 50,000 copies remain unaccounted for.
Pugh returned her most recent $100,000 payment, canceled her book deal and resigned from her position on the UMMS board after the Baltimore Sun broke the scandal in March. She also apologized for doing something “to upset the people.”
The Sun’s reporting found one-third of the UMMS board had received financial compensation for their businesses from the university. Besides Pugh, six others have now resigned or taken a leave of absence. The CEO of UMMS is also on leave.
Pugh has been under fire for the past couple of weeks, and many lawmakers are calling on her to step down.
Fourteen of the Baltimore 15-member City Council signed a letter released Monday advising Pugh not to return to her post as mayor after her leave of absence.
The president of the council, Bernard “Jack” Young, did not sign the letter. He’s currently serving as the city’s acting mayor while Pugh is on leave.
“The Baltimore City Council believes that it is not in the best interest of the city of Baltimore, for you to continue to serve as mayor,” lawmakers wrote in the letter.