BOSTON Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray is downplaying contact he had with the ousted head of the Chelsea Housing Authority.
This after The Boston Globe reports the two talked by phone more than 80 times over the past seven months.
Murray confirmed in a written statement he has stayed in touch with Michael McLaughlin, as he has done with many local officials and people who have volunteered for him. Murray says McLaughlin was a supporter and volunteer during his 2006 campaign.
“He was a political supporter, as I’ve said,” Murray said later, “he’s someone on housing issues I would talk to from time to time.”
The lieutenant governor says he had no idea how high McLaughlin’s salary was, nor that he was “misleading the state about it for years.”
McLaughlin was forced to resign earlier this month after it was revealed he allegedly reported to the state his salary was $160,000, when it was in fact $360,000.
Murray called McLaughlin’s actions outrageous and unacceptable, and praised the Patrick administration’s handling of the matter.
Gov. Deval Patrick, who called for McLaughlin’s resignation, says he has no concerns about Murray’s ties to McLaughlin.
“I am proud of him and I’m proud to serve with him,” Patrick said.
State Republican Party spokesman Tim Buckley says revealed ties revealed between Murray and McLaughlin are unsettling.
“Unfortunately among most Republicans, the sentiment is more of the same,” Buckley said. “Time and time again, the Patrick and Murray administration have failed to follow through on their promise to clean up Beacon Hill.”