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MassHousing books show lobster dinners, parties and pricey hotels – Boston Herald

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The state agency charged with creating affordable housing has racked up tens of thousands of dollars in spending for parties, junkets and pricey meals, records show, including a $4,808 “welcoming party” for executive director Chrystal Kornegay — who was just appointed to oversee the beleaguered MBTA’s budget.

MassHousing staffers and executives, including Kornegay, have taken dozens of trips to locales such as Las Vegas last year, and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Martha’s Vineyard over the past two years, often staying at hotels costing more than $300 a night and sometimes exceeding $400 a night, according to expense records.

Kornegay, who makes $270,000 a year, was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker last week to the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board, and to the 11-member MassDOT board. Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack cited Kornegay’s “long history” of overseeing budgets and spending.

But records obtained by the Herald show a pattern of lavish spending by MassHousing, both before and after Kornegay took over in February 2018.

The agency, which provides government-backed loans for housing for low- and moderate-income families, paid for a $758 dinner in Denver in October 2017 for 15 staffers and others, who munched on bone marrow, octopus, venison, cactus, beef tartar and scallops, records reveal.

And after Kornegay’s appointment, MassHousing’s vice president of external affairs, Thomas Lyons, threw a party for her at an upscale Beacon Hill restaurant, Carrie Nation. The cost for catering and reserving the space came out to $4,808, which Lyons charged on his credit card and was later reimbursed for, according to expense records obtained by the Herald through a public records request.

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