The 14 members of the Baltimore City Council requested Monday for Mayor Catherine E. Pugh's resignation over her ongoing children's book scandal, The Washington Post reports.
In a two-sentence letter, the council said the "entire membership of 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. We urge you to tender your resignation, effective immediately."
Pugh, who recently took an indefinite leave of absence for 'medical issues,' has been "recovering from pneumonia and regaining her health," said a statement issued by her office. "She fully intends to resume the duties of her office and continuing her work on behalf of the people and the City of Baltimore."
City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young is assisting as acting mayor, said the Post.
Pugh has been heavily criticized after the Baltimore Sun reported that she reportedly received $500,000 from the University of Maryland Medical System for her self-authored "Healthy Holly" book series.
The university system paid Pugh for 100,000 copies of the book while she was on the board. The book teaches children how to live healthily; however, some 50,000 copies remain unaccounted for (as per the Baltimore Sun, the copies may have never been printed).
The Sun's report also said at the time Pugh received $100,000 tranche for her books, a company in the city called Kaiser Permanent received a $48 million contract. Coincidence?
Pugh issued an apology in March for her book ventures.
"I sincerely want to say that I apologize that I have done something to upset the people of Baltimore," she said on March 28. "I never intended to do anything that could not stand up to scrutiny."
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called for an immediate investigation into the possible fraud. He asked state prosecutor and Comptroller Peter Franchot to examine the case.
The Baltimore City House delegation said that it was "not in the best interests of Baltimore" for the mayor to stay in office.
"The position of mayor is not a revolving door," Del. Cheryl D. Glenn said. "We hope the mayor will do what is best for the city of Baltimore."
Councilman Zeke Cohen said while the move to out the mayor was "unprecedented," it is the best course for Baltimore.
Most likely Pugh is finished. Officials at every level have lost confidence in the mayor. It's likely that she'll announce her resignation in the coming weeks and or next month.
The breakdown in leadership shows how Baltimore continues to implode.