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Accountabilityby Fern Shen6:33 pmMar 18, 20190

Found: 8,700 Healthy Holly books in a school warehouse

The disclosure still leaves largely intact the mystery surrounding Mayor Pugh’s book transactions

Above: Tens of thousands of copies of Mayor Pugh’s self-published “Healthy Holly” books are still unaccounted for.

One possible title for the next in the series: “Healthy Holly: Sitting in a Warehouse is no Fun!”

While school officials say they still have no documentation on the 100,000 copies of Mayor Catherine Pugh’s self-published children’s books that were reportedly donated to the school system, there was some late-breaking news on the Healthy Holly front:

“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,” Anne Fullerton, a spokesperson for City Schools, said this afternoon.

As previously reported, the University of Maryland Medical System, where Pugh sat until today as a board member, has acknowledged paying for $500,000 worth of the books because of their “uniqueness” and to “support a healthy lifestyle for Baltimore’s schoolchildren.”

In addition to “Healthy Holly: Fruits Come in Colors Like the Rainbow,” the other books by the mayor are titled: “Healthy Holly: Exercising is Fun!”, “Healthy Holly: Not all Vegetables are Green” and “Healthy Holly: A Healthy Start for Herbie.”

UMMS payments to Pugh were funneled through an LLC registered to her campaign treasurer (3/15/19)

Catherine Pugh’s connections to UMMS – long and lucrative (3/18/19)
School officials told The Brew they could only recall a donation about five years ago and had no documentation of any book donations. They reiterated that message in a statement today:

“According to recollections of staff members, between 2011 and 2013 City Schools received an unsolicited shipment of books by then-state Senator Catherine Pugh for distribution to students,” Fullerton wrote.

“We have been unable to locate documentation related to this shipment, given the number of years that have passed,” she said.

“As such, we cannot confirm the source, how many books were received, or the quantity of books City Schools distributed to students.”

Today’s discovery was tantalizing, but left the mystery surrounding the book transactions largely intact.

According to Pugh’s disclosures on file with the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission, UMMS purchased 100,000 Healthy Holly books for distribution to city schoolchildren.

Pugh has said 20,000 of those books – the latest UMMS purchase – are on order.

After today’s sighting of warehoused and apparently untouched books, 71,300 more still remain unaccounted for.

Failure to Follow Policy

The other lingering question is the lack of documentation by City Schools of the donation.

Failure to record such a gift is a direct violation of school board policy.

“Donations with a value of $2,500 or greater will be accepted by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and presented to the Board for approval and acknowledgement,” the policy states. “The Board’s approval and acknowledgement will take place during a public meeting.”

“Gifts or donations are to be recorded as assets of the Board in accordance with existing policies on inventory,” it continues. “This policy governs gifts and donations made to the Board and/or City Schools.”

Fullerton had no explanation for the administration’s failure to follow board policy.

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