Disgraced Chelsea housing official Michael McLaughlin pleaded guilty Monday to illegally soliciting campaign contributions on behalf of Timothy Murray, then lieutenant governor, and another politician, his third guilty plea to criminal charges stemming from his 11-year tenure at an agency that provides low-income housing.
McLaughlin, who was forced to resign as the Chelsea Housing Authority director in 2011 after the Globe exposed his inflated $360,000 salary, admitted he acted as a fund-raiser for Murray and a candidate for mayor of Lawrence, even though as a nonelected public employee he was barred from collecting political contributions.
“McLaughlin exploited his position as head of the Chelsea Housing Authority to use the public agency as a base for political fund-raising,” Attorney General Martha Coakley said in a statement. “This conduct violates campaign finance law and undermines the public’s trust.”
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Carol Ball immediately sentenced McLaughlin, 68, to six months in prison and another six months that will be suspended while he serves three years of probation. However, the judge made the sentence retroactive to McLaughlin’s arraignment last year, meaning it will not delay his release from federal prison, now expected sometime in 2016 or 2017.
McLaughlin’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
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