NOTHING SHORT of placing the Chelsea Housing Authority into state receivership will contain the scandal enveloping the agency. The sooner such a receiver is in place, the better for public housing tenants and for all of Chelsea, a city where a history of corruption throws a bigger shadow than the Tobin Bridge.
Former housing director Michael E. McLaughlin resigned earlier this month, shortly after the Globe reported that he had been concealing much of his $360,000 annual salary from government agencies. The FBI is now poring through the housing authority’s records. The agency’s accountant has admitted that he shredded documents and helped McLaughlin remove boxes of materials from the office on the eve of the shadowy director’s resignation. Governor Patrick had demanded the resignation of the public housing authority’s board of directors. But most of its members didn’t leave until installing one of McLaughlin’s deputies - Albert Ewing - in the post with a five-year contract that provides a salary well in excess of the state Department of Housing and Community Development’s guidelines.