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Where are ‘Healthy Holly’ books? Tens of thousands unaccounted for; Baltimore Mayor Pugh, UMMS give no receipts

Tens of thousands of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s “Healthy Holly” children’s books have not been accounted for by the institution that paid for them or the mayor, even as public pressure builds amid accusations of “self-dealing” at the University of Maryland Medical System.

From 2011 through 2018, the hospital system had a deal to spend $500,000 for 100,000 copies of Pugh’s self-published book series. The system placed five orders of 20,000 books at $5 each while Pugh sat on the hospital’s board of directors. The deal, first reported by the Baltimore Sun, was one of many the hospital network had with members of its board, and they have rattled public trust in the system.

Pugh (D) said she returned $100,000 in the past several days for the last 20,000 books in her series that are still being written. She has also stepped down from the hospital system’s board.

That would mean 80,000 should have been printed and distributed. In the publishing world, that is an astounding number of books; for reference, the first U.S. print run of “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone” was for 50,000 copies.

The lack of documentation leaves unclear when and how the books were printed and distributed, as well as where such a vast quantity of books is now. The Sun has canvassed public and private schools, libraries, booksellers, child-care centers, and agencies to account for them.

It is not clear where at least an estimated 50,000 copies of the “Healthy Holly” series went.

UMMS didn’t fulfill a request to provide receipts showing the books had been printed or distributed; the mayor did not respond to such a request.

UMMS “didn’t feel the need to inspect the donation of the books,” spokesman Michael Schwartzberg said. “Even

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