Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

On the Record

The Daily Record's law news blog

FBI, IRS seized computers, ‘Healthy Holly’ books, UMMS check from city offices

This March 2019 photo taken in Baltimore, shows copies of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh's self-published "Healthy Holly" illustrated paperbacks for children. Baltimore's embattled mayor announced Monday, April 1 that she is taking an indefinite leave of absence, just as a political scandal intensifies over what critics call a "self-dealing" book-sales arrangement that threatens her political career. The various officials' calls came shortly after Kaiser Permanente disclosed that it paid $114,000, between 2015 and 2018, for roughly 20,000 copies of Pugh's children's books. And it came about two weeks after news broke that since 2011, Pugh has received $500,000 selling her books to the University of Maryland Medical System, a $4 billion hospital network that's one of the largest private employers in the state. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

This March 2019 photo taken in Baltimore, shows copies of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s self-published “Healthy Holly” illustrated paperbacks for children. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

Federal agents seized computers as well as documents related to University of Maryland Medical Center and former Mayor Catherine Pugh’s “Healthy Holly” books from City Hall last month, according to documents released Wednesday.

FBI and IRS agents searched City Hall, Pugh’s Ashburton home and other locations April 25 and were seen carrying boxes out. City Solicitor Andre M. Davis declined to immediately release documents related to the search after the agents left, citing an ongoing investigation.

But city officials released subpoena and search warrant records Wednesday, the Baltimore Sun reports, including a list of items seized from City Hall. The search and seizure warrants were signed by Magistrate Judge J. Mark Coulson on April 22.

Agents seized a laptop, iPhone and two iPads from city offices as well as a $100,000 invoice and check from the University of Maryland Medical Center payable to Healthy Holly LLC, a memo from UMMS about a donation of educational materials, a Healthy Holly book, and an envelope with a book proof. Also seized were money gram receipts, notepads and notebooks and paperwork.

Pugh resigned last week following weeks of mounting calls for her to step down due to a scandal involving “Healthy Holly,” her self-published children’s books, which she sold to a health plan that does business with the city, as well as to UMMS, on whose board she sat while serving as a state lawmaker.

Pugh sold $500,000 worth of the books to the hospital network over the years and meanwhile pushed legislation that would have benefited the regional system.

UMMS has confirmed that it received a federal grand jury subpoena relating to the investigation into Pugh.

An unspecified representative from the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development is ordered to appear before a federal grand jury on May 30, according to a subpoena included in the warrant documents. The witness must bring any and all records related to the Maryland Center for Arts and Technology dating back to 2011 that involve Pugh and others associated with the organization.

Agents also seized an income statement, check, invoices and time sheets for Gary Brown Jr., a former Pugh aide who was associated with MCAT whose home was also searched April 25.

No charges have been announced by state or federal authorities.

To purchase a reprint of this article, contact