Before Tim Murray’s phone tag buddy Mike McLaughlin became a household name for his $360K housing authority salary, he was at the center of a town scandal in Dracut. A scandal that involves Deval Patrick’s appointment of an alleged McLaughlin ally to the Dracut Housing Authority. Colleen Garry is seen as a central player on McLaughlin’s side in the controversy surrounding the appointment of Brian Bond. The Globe’s Glen Johnson reported in November.
Low-income residents in the Merrimack Valley town accused the authority’s board of directors of ambushing the popular Karabatsos, after they abruptly voted in late August to seek new applicants for her job as executive director.
They were especially galled that one member, Brian Bond, joined in the vote, even though he was at his first meeting after a last-minute appointment by Governor Deval Patrick.
The seniors feared the fix was in for some politically connected applicant. And they suspected the strings were being pulled by McLaughlin, a longtime area politico who, at the time, was serving as executive director of the Chelsea Housing Authority.
When the Globe ultimately asked Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray – Patrick’s liaison to such boards – whether McLaughlin had spoken to him about getting Bond appointed in Dracut, Murray stammered.
The controversy has fueled a challenge for Garry according to the Lowell Sun
Since first being elected nearly two decades ago, Garry has had a pretty easy time of it every two years, like many other reps from the Greater Lowell area.
This time around, however, she is seen as politically vulnerable on a number of fronts, including her relationship to Mike McLaughlin, the disgraced pol and former head of the Chelsea Housing Authority.
The other matter that has landed Garry in hot water was her support for Brian Bond as the governor-appointed commissioner to the Dracut Housing Authority.
With absolute no history, one of Bond’s first votes was to side with commissioners Ken Martin and Ken Cunha in not renewing Executive Director Mary Karabatsos’ contract.
McLaughlin, who still lives in Dracut, was said to have engineered the entire fiasco, a charge he denied.
According to OCPF records, Garry has received $800 in donations from McLaughlin since 2002, including $400 in October of 2010. In November of 2012, Coleen Garry may be one of the first casualties of McLaughlin’s activities.