November 30, 2010

NEA RI Official Busted for Campaign Dirty Tricks

Monique Chartier

NEA RI Assistant Executive Director John Leidecker was arrested this morning by Bristol and RI State Police

accused of the online impersonation of Bristol State Representative Doug Gablinske.

Mr. Leidecker, who holds a law degree from Roger Williams University School of Law [edit] and is a practicing attorney, allegedly sent phony e-mails to constituents using the name "Gablinski", e-mails which purportedly misrepresented the RI House member's views on issues in an effort to cast him in an unfavorable light at the voting booth.

NEA RI Executive Director Robert Walsh, who is a member of Gov-elect Linc Chafee's transition team, issued a statement to WPRI's Tim White, saying, in part

"We have no firsthand knowledge of the charges," Walsh said. "However, given the involvement of Rep. Doug Gablinske in this matter, we are suspicious about the motivation for this action. At this point, we are waiting until our attorneys sort things out."

Gablinske was defeated in his September primary by a union-backed opponent. It now appears that efforts on behalf of the opponent may have extended beyond the more standard fundraising and get-out-the-vote activity. The next logical question becomes, what did the opponent and other NEA officials knew about these ... extraordinary campaign efforts allegedly undertaken by Mr. Leidecker?

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"However, given the involvement of Rep. Doug Gablinske in this matter, we are suspicious about the motivation for this action."

Is he really saying that Gablinske has so much control over the RI State Police that he could get them to capriciously arrest someone for trumped up charges? I don't really see the State Police as being that careless in whom they arrest.

I'm not saying Liedecker is guilty, as he's innocent until proven otherwise, but it's very interesting to see George Walsh blame the alleged victim. Very honorable of you, George.

Posted by: Patrick at November 30, 2010 3:25 PM

If found guilty, this isn't going to do much to help get rid of the NEA's "thug" image.

Posted by: Patrick at November 30, 2010 3:28 PM

And with the boss on the governor-elect's transition team.

I recall Liedecker at the infamous East Providence School Committee meeting. He got right in Anthony Carcieri's face at the end of the meeting, clearly trying to spark an altercation of which the union can make hay.

As I've said, if more parents and other voters were more aware of these thugs' activities in the unions, they'd see the striking, work-to-ruling thing in a whole new light and react accordingly.

Posted by: Justin Katz at November 30, 2010 5:20 PM

Walsh might actually be shocked-however,just let's think WHO in the NEA has a history of engineering "pranks".

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 30, 2010 5:41 PM

Crowley better lawyer up. Oh wait, they already have lawyers handling this. What a fine use of union dues. I bet Guy Dufault is involved too. This type of stuff is the stock and trade of that dirt ball.

Posted by: Harvey at November 30, 2010 6:47 PM

What a bunch of thugs. They buy the elections and bully everyone.

Posted by: Kathy at November 30, 2010 7:30 PM

Gablinske brought up Crowley.
I don't know anything about Gablinske,but if the the State Police mention Crowley,it might get interesting.He can't smartass his way out of trouble with them.
Dufault?Wow,I haven't heard his name in awhile.I guess all good things come to and end.
Who will rat everyone else out first?

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 30, 2010 7:52 PM

When asked for comment by reporters, Governor Elect Chafee's response was, "It's such a beautiful Fall day. The sun is out. The skies are blue. The birds are singing. What was the question?"

Posted by: G-Man at November 30, 2010 8:25 PM

I have to wonder if the Asst Exec Dir was doing this, was the Executive Director aware of what was going on? Can't wait to hear if this is something George is proud of.

Posted by: Patrick at November 30, 2010 8:32 PM

Just wondering if this blog is correct, was the email address he was using Gablinski with an "I" ? And the real name is with an "e"

Posted by: Swazool at November 30, 2010 8:38 PM

Of course Guy DuFault is involved. Union leadership in this state ooze sleaze and DuFault is one of their behind-the scenes players. What's so interesting about this case is those two computers taken, one from NEA headquarters. This just might be a case where the orginal charge was for speeding but the real damage comes with what's found in the trunk.

Posted by: Tim at November 30, 2010 9:33 PM

If true, Leidecker should be disbarred and the NEA should kick him to the curb. Gablinske's aggressive stance against unions is no excuse for Leidecker's alleged actions.
That said, Leidecker picked on someone his own size, not school kids like Carcieri did.

Posted by: bella at December 1, 2010 11:21 AM

bella, I agree with your assessment of punishments for Leidecker, but what if voters cast their votes based on this misinformation? How about Gablinske himself? Should he have a good chance at a civil suit against the NEA, as he was potentially denied a job because of their actions?

I'm still appalled by Walsh's statement about Gablinske's "motives" here. Blame the victim.

Posted by: Patrick at December 1, 2010 12:12 PM

In Hopkinton in the recent six person race for three seats on the Chariho School Committee from our town we actually had school committee members from the other two towns (Richmond and Hopkinton) at polling places in Hopkinton campaigning for candidates in our town.
The local controversy was when some if not all of the above circulated a piece degrading three of the candidates. I brought this to our Town Sergeant's attention which she duly noted and acted on. This matter was brought to the attention of the R.I. Board of Elections. It will be interesting if Rep. Gablinske has this matter examined by the RIBOE.
You may be able to read it online at The Westerly Sun ,.

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at December 1, 2010 3:11 PM

Has anyone else noticed that anytime there is controversy on the Chafee team, people start disappearing? Pagliarini resigns and now Walsh is going out for surgery. Classic.

Posted by: G-Man at December 1, 2010 10:07 PM

Walsh really is sick-he had a stroke a few years ago from this same type of surgery and he's having it again-it's not the kind of thing you'd subject yourself to just to avoid some heat.
I've had something like 18 operations-none were particularly fun.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 1, 2010 10:11 PM
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