Key McLaughlin Figure Gets Retirement Refund

James McNichols could be considered by many to be former CHA Director Michael McLaughlin’s chief henchman in most of his schemes during the 10-year tenure, but McNichols turned on McLaughlin after the house of cards came tumbling down – eventually being the key witness last summer whose testimony ensured McLaughlin would get more time in prison than expected.

Now, barring any indictment for his own actions in the CHA debacle, McNichols is $55,515 richer.

The Chelsea Retirement Board last Thursday was forced to approve a retirement contribution refund to McNichols despite some inconsistencies with his application request – complications that had held up the matter since March.

“There is no statutory right to withhold his deductions,” said Retirement Board Attorney Brian Monahan. “We have to return them.”

Given his role in the situation, Board members were cautious about rewarding the refund – as it was unknown (and still is) if McNichols is under investigation.

In a question on the application, it asked if he was the target of an investigation. While his answer said information about him had been requested by investigators, he was not considered a target.

“The Retirement Board must take action and cannot withhold deductions unless there is an indictment,” said Monahan. “We can monitor the situation, but beyond that, there is nothing the Retirement Board can do.”

If McNichols were indicted in the future, his refund award could be revisited.

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