Since March, a trash bag full of 20 to 30 copies of “Healthy Holly” children’s books has appeared every so often at the Maryland Book Bank.
“Every time they’ve come in, it’s never been just five or six,” Kim Crout, program manager for the book bank, told The Baltimore Sun. “It’s always been a trash bag of 20 or 30, and they’re always just left here when we get in.”
The book series was written by scandal-plagued former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh. Pugh resigned in May, claiming she was suffering from health issues. Her resignation coincided with investigations from the FBI, the Maryland state prosecutor’s office and the Baltimore city ethics board, according to the Sun. The main crux of the scandal involved Pugh’s deals with the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) to purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of her books, which the Sun said suffered “from editing mistakes.”
It was the Sun that first began investigating the deal, which came under scrutiny because the UMMS had other business contracts pending with Baltimore.
The books keep appearing at the book bank, but no one knows why.
Pugh’s attorney, Steve Silverman, told the Sun that the former mayor wasn’t sending the trash bags full of books to the book bank.
“No one associated with Healthy Holly LLC or Catherine Pugh has any knowledge that this is occurring, and if true, who is doing this and the source of the supply of books,” he told the outlet on Tuesday.
Pugh had said the books were supposed to go to Baltimore City Public Schools, but officials told the Sun they never asked for the books and hadn’t received a recent installment.
The people who run the book bank are stumped.
The other interesting part of the equation is that children have no interest in the books, according to Crout.
“It’s like they have a nose for the fact that they’re crap,” she told the Sun.
But there are people who do want the books. Mark Feiring, the book bank’s executive director, told the Sun that journalists have been asking for the books, and one person wanted to buy a complete set of the series for $500, all of which he declined.
“We don't sell kids’ books at all. We just put them out there for people to take,” Feiring told the outlet. He added that adults come into the book bank and laugh at the book and take pictures of it when they’re put on the shelves.
Even before the Sun’s reporting on the scandal, large quantities of the books were appearing at the book bank. Feiring told the outlet that a few boxes of about 50 to 75 books had appeared earlier this year.
The book bank seems to be taking the situation in stride. Feiring said he even had one of the books sitting on his desk.
With so many books showing up — and realizing the ingenuity of the American people — one has to wonder what other uses people may find for the former mayor’s failed enterprise.