Thanks to everyone who has signed our ResignMayorPugh.com petition! Now, let's figure out next steps to convince the Mayor to resign so Baltimore can move forward.
But first, to recap:
1999-Catherine Pugh was elected to the Baltimore City Council where she served until 2004.
2001-Catherine Pugh joins the UMMS board. UMMS is a private, non-profit entity in MD that took over the operation of the formerly public University of Maryland hospital.
2005-Pugh is appointed to an opening in the MD House of Delegates by then Gov Bob Ehrlich, where she served until 2007.
2007-Pugh wins a seat as a state senator for Baltimore City. She is assigned to the finance committee and serves in that role until 2016.
2011-Pugh incorporates Healthy Holly, LLC
2011-The University of Maryland Medical System purchases 20,000 "Healthy Holly" books, authored by Pugh. They are donated to city schools and day cares, according to Pugh.
2013-2018-UMMS purchases additional books from Pugh's Healthy Holly LLC, totaling at least $500,000. Some of the payments were labeled as "grants" in federal tax filings, which according to tax experts, is improper.
2015-Healthy Holly LLC donates $5000 to Pugh's mayoral campaign.
2016-Columbia, MD businessman JP Grant (CEO of Grant Capital Management) cuts a check for $100,000 to Healthy Holly LLC, while Pugh was the democratic mayoral nominee. He says he received one copy of the book and did not know how the money would be used.
2016-Then State Senator Pugh wins her election to become the 50th Mayor of Baltimore city.
2016-Shortly after winning, Mayor Pugh vetoes the city council passed Fight For $15 legislation, which she had campaigned on.
2017-Pugh's Campaign Aide, Gary Brown JR, who was slated to take over her senate seat, is indicted for election law violation "stemming from alleged illegal contribution" to her campaign committee. What he was accused of "bundling.' Brown did not take over as senator, but instead was given a job on the Mayors communications team. In May 2017 he was found guilty on two counts of violating election laws and was given probation before judgement.
2019-Senator Jill Carter introduces legislation to make it illegal for board members to profit from deals with hospitals they govern. This bill tipped off journalists to dig into UMMS dealings. Mayor Pugh resigned from UMMS in early 2019. It's also revealed that Kaiser Permanente paid $114,00 to Healthy Holly LLC, and the Associated Black Charities (a non-profit) says it collected almost $90,000 from five separate entities including CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, to buy and distribute 10,000 copies of Pugh's books, sending nearly $80,000 to Healthy Holly, LLC and keeping the rest.
April 2019-Mayor Pugh announces she is sick with pneumonia and cancels all public appearances.
April 2019-Mayor Pugh announced she is taking a leave of absence, due to illness, and city council president Jack Young assumes the role of Ex-Offico Mayor (acting mayor.)
April 2019-It's announced that the Office of the State Prosecutor and the Baltimore City Office of the Inspector General (who Represent Maryland helped make independent in 2018) have opened investigations into Mayor Pugh's conduct.
April 2019-The Maryland General Assembly passes Sen Carters bill, prohibiting board members from profiting from deals with the hospitals they govern. Several other high profile board members take leaves of absence, step down, or are asked to resign.
April 2019-Several of Pugh's aides and employees are places on paid-leave. Three are later fired by Exo Mayor Young, including Gary Brown, JR.
April 25 2019-The FBI and IRS raid both homes of Mayor Catherine Pugh, City Hall, and other locations associated with the mayor. UMMS is served with a federal warrant. It's revealed that the investigation leading to the raids is at least one year old.
April 25 2019-According to Pugh's lawyer and spokesperson, Mayor Pugh is not "lucid" enough to make a decision about whether to resign or not. He say's she might make a decision the following week.
(List compiled from Wikipedia, The Baltimore Sun, The Baltimore Brew, and WBAL TV.)
And some info about our options as voters:
1) Neither the city council nor the Exo Mayor of Baltimore City have the authority to remove a sitting mayor from office.
2) The governor of Maryland does have the authority to remove a mayor, per the state constitution. However this opens the door to preemption in future cases.
3) All 14 members of the council (excluding Exo Mayor Young) have gone on record calling for her to resign as has Governor Hogan. A number of businesses have as well.
5) It's unclear whether the MD General Assembly can remove Mayor Pugh from office; they do have the power to remove the Governor or Lt Governor. Although the #HealthyHolly scandal broke while they were still in session, they did not act to have her removed before it ended. In order to do so now, they would need to call an emergency session.
6) Mayor Pugh's lawyer has gone on record stating that she is not "lucid" enough to make the decision on whether to resign or not.
Essentially residents, voters, and tax-payers are being held hostage by her refusal to step down, so that the city can move forward.
But there is some good news! In her absence, the City Council is working on a number of bills to strengthen our democracy and bring much needed checks and balances, over-sight ,and transparency to our local government
Starting on April 22, a number of bills are being introduced to change the city charter or establish new guidelines, removing some power from the mayor. They are:
Plus, the meat and potatoes of the Baltimore City Fair Election Fund will be introduced in the next 30 days!
At first blush, Represent Maryland supports all of these initiatives, however we won't make final determination until we see the full text of each bill. These are a good start to #FightingForDemocracy in Bmore, but we believe the council needs to go further by amending the charter to include a recall option (voters can petition to bring whether to remove an elected official from office to vote,) and by adopting special elections, to end the cronyism and "toe the line" party politics that have plagues the city (and state) for decades. We'll be sending out more information about how you can help push for these two solutions over the next few weeks, so please keep an eye on your inbox.
In the meantime, we want to hear from YOU on how you want to proceed with calling for Mayor Pugh to resign! Do you want to participate in a post-card writing campaign, sent to her home, or perhaps hold a vigil outside her house? Maybe a demonstration at city hall or multiple letters to the editor of the Sun? How would you like to move forward with our call for Mayor Pugh to resign? Email us with your ideas! Represent Maryland is serious about organizing "we the people" to create the world we want to live in, so tell us what you think!
You can also become a member of Represent Maryland. MD's Only PAC for the People (or as we like to think of it, the anti-corruption union) by clicking here. Your annual membership fee supports our numerous initiatives, including our Small Money Commission, legislative advocacy and more. We are also always looking for volunteers to help with the work; if you want to use your talents to #FightForDemocracy, sign up as a volunteer here.
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