One of the most egregious things to result as a consequence of former Chelsea Housing Authority Executive Director Mike McLaughlin’s outrageous behavior is that we have all come to learn that whatever he was doing, however much he was padding his own salary and hiring others and doing the same, it was never picked up by auditors over the course of a decade.
So there is just a bit of wonder at what Housing and Urban Development auditors are doing now that they hadn’t done for more than ten years.
Each year, the CHA like all other housing authorities across the land are required to submit yearly independent audits that presumably show all the expenditures and reveal as well where money is put and how money is spent.
If this is in fact the case – and it is – how did the CHA go for so long down a path to certain oblivion without an auditor picking up on it or noticing that things weren’t right?
How could ten years go by without an auditor – either a HUD auditor or an independent auditor doing the CHA’s accounting work notice the discrepancies or that McLaughlin had used $3.5 million in capital funds to pay for operational expenses?
Frankly, these are questions that need to be asked and explored.
It is incomprehensible to us that the CHA could receive HUD awards for excellence so many times when McLaughlin was single-handedly spending money he should not spend and paying himself what he should never have been paid.
We hope and we trust HUD’s auditors get it right this time. And we hope and trust HUD auditors are getting it right at every public housing authority across the land.