There's new fallout from the controversy about Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh's book deals. Will the city get pushed to reopen a $675 million contract that provides health care benefits for city employees?
The big contract is the one that Pugh voted on without disclosing her LLC was selling books to Kaiser Permanente.
A key question is, did Pugh violate city ethics code when she voted in September 2017 as a member of the Board of Estimates to approve Kaiser Permanente as one of the health insurers for city employees?
In that period of time, Pugh's LLC was being paid by Kaiser for children books. Meeting minutes show Pugh did not recuse herself from the vote.
Lawyers for United Healthcare, which unsuccessfully protested the contract, told the 11 News I-Team Thursday that they are closely considering their options in light of the Pugh controversy.
United Healthcare lost out on the $675 million contract with the city. The winning bidders included Kaiser Permanente. The mayor did not disclose Kaiser was paying her LLC for her children's books.
Other more recent contracts are now being reviewed by Baltimore City Solicitor Andre Davis.
"We are going to look at contracts to make sure the city has done everything it is required to do to ensure that the bidding processes that have long applied in the city have been complied with," Davis said.
The Maryland Insurance Administration released a statement Friday, saying: "There have been numerous reports in the press regarding insurance entities that have directly or indirectly been involved in making payments to entities for Healthy Holly LLC books.
"We are cooperating with other investigations being done by the state and city related to the University of Maryland Medical System board transactions. The Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) made an initial determination to conduct a targeted market conduct examination of three of those entities. The MIA has since made the decision to expand the number of reviews and will not be releasing information on those reviews until they conclude.
"From this point, the MIA will not be commenting on these ongoing investigations. As with all other investigations, if the MIA determines that there have been violations of the insurance laws of Maryland, the findings will be included in any orders that are issued. As is the MIA’s practice, the orders will be made public."
Some City Council members and the state comptroller have called on Pugh to resign.
As he headed to Oriole Park at Camden Yards Thursday afternoon, Gov. Larry Hogan said he is not ready to join the choir of those calling for Pugh to resign.
"I don't think it is up to me to make that decision. A lot of people have weighed in. I just want to get the investigation done. That's for her to decide," Hogan said.
Pugh is on an indefinite leave of absence for health reasons and she is under investigation by the state prosecutor concerning her business dealings through her LLC of selling Healthy Holly children's books while serving as a state senator and mayor.
"It's almost like peeling an onion away. Every day, we learn more and more, and it gets more troubling and worse every day with each new story. So I don't even think we're done with it yet, but we have to get to the bottom of it and get it resolved so that we can make sure we have all the facts. I just don't want to rush to judgment, but it's a terrible situation for the city and we need to get it done," Hogan said.
The governor said he has met with Ex-Officio Mayor Jack Young. Hogan offered the city full support from the state.
"I had a long discussion with Jack yesterday, I'm going to see him today at the game. We're going to have a follow-up meeting, I believe, next week. I pledged my full support to him and the city leaders as we get through this very difficult period. We're going to be here to back up the city in any way we can. I know he has a difficult situation on his hands and I just reassured him that the state was going to be here and provide all the help we can provide," Hogan said.