At the urging of its tenants, the Chelsea Housing Authority is seeking restitution against its disgraced former public housing chief, Michael McLaughlin, saying his criminal deceptions forced them to live in dismal conditions while he profited.
In a motion filed in federal court Friday, the agency, joined by the city’s tenants association, said it is entitled to almost $550,000 in restitution, a sum equal to the extra money McLaughlin received between 2007 and 2010 beyond his reported salary. McLaughlin faces sentencing June 14 for concealing his $360,000 salary from regulators, an amount that ranked among the highest of any public housing official in the country.
“The funds which McLaughlin lied about in order to continue to receive them were intended to benefit CHA [Chelsea Housing Authority] for the low-income residents it serves,” the motion stated.
During the years McLaughlin was boosting his salary, maintenance and repairs were “foregone due to financial constraints,” it stated.
Residents came up with the idea to file the motion, then approached housing officials. The tenants are not seeking individual damages in the case, said Jay Rose, a lawyer with Greater Boston Legal Services who is representing the tenants association.
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