The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Business (Corruption) as Usual

Apr 1, 2019

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was recently exposed as a crook. She has sold 50,000 copies of a children’s book she wrote (“Healthy Holly”) to the UMMS (University of Maryland Medical System) over the last few years. The books were supposed to be distributed to children in Baltimore public schools and daycare centers to convince them to have healthy life styles. But the schools never requested these books, have no records about their use and apparently have used very few of them (almost nine thousand copies were found recently in a school warehouse).

How was the mayor able to do this? By using her position on the governing board of the UMMS to get the board to secretly give her book company five no-bid contracts totaling $500,000.

Apparently doing this was nothing out of the ordinary for this board. The board awards many contracts for goods and services for the 11-hospital UMMS chain, that has revenues of about 4½ billion dollars a year. The 30-member board officially includes the governor of Maryland, and the top leaders of both houses of the state legislature. Over many years it has awarded many very profitable no-bid contracts to companies owned by about one-third of the board members or their family or friends. The CEO of the board has received about 40 million dollars in salary alone over the last 10 years.

In addition, the governing board itself and various members of the board have given political contributions and loans to both Democratic Baltimore Mayor Pugh and Republican Maryland Governor Hogan and Lieutenant Governor Rutherford.

In short, so far 9 of the 30 members of the UMMS governing board have been exposed for helping to give contracts to themselves and the politicians who serve them. And in this society organized to serve the interests of businessmen and bankers, board members have clearly viewed this as simply business as usual.

Ironically, Mayor Pugh just recently managed to get her latest nominee for Baltimore police chief confirmed. He is the fifth chief in about 2½ years. What is one of his main goals supposed to be? Cleaning up corruption in the Baltimore Police Department.