Prosecutors from Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office questioned two Chelsea Housing Authority employees under oath this week about their political connections to Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray, part of an intensifying criminal investigation into whether the housing agency’s former director illegally turned the workplace into a political machine aimed at helping Murray win election.
The employees, who are maintenance workers, testified that they attended three fund-raisers for Murray, giving $100 each time and meeting the lieutenant governor. One of them, Robert Hamilton, also said that former housing boss Michael E. McLaughlin asked him and other employees to help get out the vote for Murray and Governor Deval Patrick on Election Day in 2010.
“I didn’t want to go, but Mike [McLaughlin] said he wanted faces up there,” said Hamilton, referring to one of the fund-raisers. Hamilton, 69, said he has never been politically active and had only voted twice since 1968 before being recruited to help Murray.
So far, at least seven housing authority employees have been called before the state grand jury and several said the line of questioning has been consistent: “They asked how much did you donate, how were you asked, were you pressured, what would be the consequences if you did not?”
One employee, who testified earlier this summer and asked not to be named because grand jury proceedings are secret, said that prosecutors appeared to be using a spreadsheet of employees who donated to Murray.
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