Calls for Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s resignation grow louder amid book controversy

Pressure is mounting against embattled Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, as a second major group in the city on Friday called for her immediate resignation.

The Greater Baltimore Committee’s board of directors wrote Pugh “no longer possesses the public trust or moral authority” to lead the Maryland city.

“This was a difficult decision requiring a great deal of thought, but the GBC believes the Mayor can no longer provide the leadership and effective government that Baltimore needs and deserves at this time,” the committee’s president and CEO, Donald C. Fry said in the Friday statement. “The GBC Board determined that it is necessary for Mayor Pugh to resign so the city can move on, heal and leverage the many positive assets it has going for it.”

BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL CALLS ON EMBATTLED MAYOR CATHERINE PUGH TO RESIGN IMMEDIATELY

The board said it was in the best interest of the city for Pugh to step down from her post because Baltimore needs “a strong Mayor who is laser-focused on the needs of the city, its residents, and businesses and can lead the city forward.”

Pugh, who last week took an indefinite leave of absence from office, is under fire after she reportedly received $500,000 from the University of Maryland Medical System for her self-authored “Healthy Holly,” a children’s book series.

The university paid Pugh for 100,000 copies of her books between 2011 and 2018 while she was on its board. The books were intended to go to schools and day care centers, however, some 50,000 copies remain unaccounted for and may never have been printed.

Earlier this week, the Baltimore City Council also called on Pugh to step down immediately.

BALTIMORE MAYOR'S $500G DEAL FOR 'HEALTHY HOLLY' CHILDREN'S BOOKS DRAWS SCRUTINY

The 14 members of the Baltimore City Council sent a two-sentence letter to Pugh on Monday urging her to resign, effective immediately. All members of the city council except acting mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young signed the letter.

“The entire membership of the Baltimore City Council believes that it is not in the best interest of the City of Baltimore for you to continue to serve as Mayor,” the council members wrote to Pugh. “We urge you to tender your resignation, effective immediately.”

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Pugh’s spokesman told the Baltimore Sun on Saturday that Pugh intends to return to her post once her health has sufficiently improved.

Fox News' Nicole Darrah contributed to this report.