Herald’s Carr Puts Ex-Chelsea Housing Thief – Er, Chief – in Jail

February 17, 2013

Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr really wants to see former Chelsea Housing Director Michael E. McLaughlin thrown in the sneezer.

From todays piece of work:

Pension pitch; drop the Mike!

Memo to the Chelsea Retirement Board: Don’t even think about it.

Don’t even consider giving the about-to-plead-guilty-to-felonies Mike McLaughlin a pension. He shouldn’t get even a “reduced” one of $128,000 or so that he would have been eligible for if he’d played by the rules, as impossible as that would be for the lifelong payroll patriot.

This may seem like a scenario not even worth discussing. But we are, after all, talking about Chelsea, Damascus on the Mystic. This is a city where McLaughlin, as head of the Chelsea Housing Authority, was for years able to pay himself an annual salary as high as $360,000 while telling his board that he was actually making $164,000.


Right. And McLaughlin’s been nailed pretty good for it by US Attorney Carmen Ortiz. So, Carr concludes:

Poor Mike McLaughlin. He tried to out-Bulger Bulger, and instead he ends up another John Buonomo, a guy he regarded with contempt, except McLaughlin is going to Club Fed instead of the Billerica House of Correction.


Which makes you wonder whether Carr reads the local dailies, even his own. Because both of them reported yesterday that it’s more than likely McLaughlin will cooperate with federal authorities in other prosecutions and thus avoid jail time.

Boston Globe’s Page One story:

16nomedfordaEx-Chelsea housing chief will plead guilty, assist probe

Former Chelsea Housing Authority chief Michael E. McLaughlin has agreed to cooperate with federal investigators, according to documents filed in federal court Friday, potentially allowing him to avoid jail time for four alleged felonies if the information he provides implicates others.

In a plea agreement made public Friday, McLaughlin agreed to help authorities inves tigate and prosecute others, though it did not identify any potential targets.


From Hillary Chabot’s piece in the Herald:

Ortiz doesn’t specifically detail a sentence recommendation, leaving it up to the judge, but suggests that McLaughlin’s sentence be lowered from the maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and a possible $250,000 fine. McLaughlin should be imprisoned, “at the low end of the Sentencing Guideline range,” Ortiz wrote, adding prosecutors would agree to a $4,000 fee as well as 24 months of supervised release.


Somebody get Howie a home subscription, eh?

A Chelsea Morning in the Local Dailies

January 24, 2013

Two very – wait for it – different takes on former Chelsea housing authority honcho Michael McLaughlin in this morning’s Boston papers.

The Globe puts the story in the power position: Page One, upper right.

16nomedfordaMcLaughlin charged in hiding of pay

The former chief of the Chelsea Housing Authority was charged Wednesday with four felony counts of deliberately concealing his inflated salary from state and federal regulators from 2008 until he resigned in 2011, triggering a scandal that has rocked Massachusetts’ public housing system to its foundation.

US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz announced the federal charges against Michael E. McLaughlin, 67, of Dracut, alleging that McLaughlin deliberately underreported his annual salary by up to $164,000 a year in mandatory reports to state and federal housing regulators. The charges were contained in a document that is normally used when the defendant has agreed to plead guilty.


(Explanation of that last: “the charges against [McLaughlin] came not from the grand jury, but in a document called a criminal information. Prosecutors normally file such a document when a defendant agrees to a plea deal.”)

Crosstown at the Herald, the story appears on page two, and from an oblique angle:

111911mclaughlinFeds charge Tim Murray’s buddy

Lt. Gov. Tim Murray’s surprise exit from the 2014 governor’s race could be tied to federal charges brought against his one-time associate Michael McLaughlin yesterday for falsely boosting his salary, local politicos speculated.

“It probably reinforces what a lot of people were thinking last week,” said Richard Tisei, a former Republican state senator who ran unsuccessfully for Congress. “The whole McLaughlin scandal would have hobbled any potential run for governor, and it would have lasted during the whole campaign. You can’t go an inch into that story without Tim Murray’s name popping up.”

McLaughlin, the embattled former Chelsea Housing Authority director, was a longtime Murray fundraiser, and there are ongoing questions as to whether he pressured staffers to give to the lieutenant governor’s campaign. Murray reportedly was also questioned by federal investigators.


The Globe waited until the fifth graf to drag Murray into McLaughlin’s mess.