AS LONGTIME lawyers for public housing tenants, we are appalled at the light sentence being recommended for Michael McLaughlin, former head of the Chelsea Housing Authority. The Globe has reported that he paid himself up to $164,000 a year above his authorized salary, out of funds designated to modernize decrepit housing units. He also lied about it to state and federal authorities, seldom came to work, and paid himself for all accrued sick and vacation time on the way out the door.
Is it because his victims were living in public housing that his proposed sentence is so microscopic? He should be held to the same standard as any of his tenants. If any of them failed to report so much as a nickel of income, he went after them with unbridled fury, exacting payback and sometimes eviction.
This deal is stated to be in return for providing information. What information? Implicating one or more high-ranking politicians might justify a decrease in the otherwise recommended jail time. But letting McLaughlin keep all the money he stole is unconscionable. He must be forced to pay full restitution.