A scathing new audit of Chelsea Housing Authority reveals that disgraced housing director Michael E. McLaughlin may have misused as much as $1.5 million in federal funds set aside for the low-income people the authority serves.
In its report, the independent auditing firm Hurley O’Neill & Company highlights a series of questionable expenditures that suggest McLaughlin was raiding funds that were supposed to be used to maintain the buildings to pay everyday expenses, and subsidizing higher salaries for himself and key lieutenants.
The report, which reviews the authority’s accounts for 2011, is scheduled to be discussed Thursday by the Chelsea Housing Authority board of commissioners.
“It appears there’s been substantial wrongdoing, and I trust the federal and state authorities will bring their investigations to a just conclusion,” said Thomas Standish, who took over as board chairman after the entire previous board resigned last year — along with McLaughlin — under pressure from Governor Deval Patrick.
“We are going to make things right by the public,” he said, calling the audit an important step toward that goal. “We will put in a program that safeguards the taxpayers’ money.”
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