Police Say Union Official Impersonated Lawmaker

There's been another twist in the case of an NEARI executive accused of impersonating a state lawmaker in a series of emails.

National Education Association Rhode Island Executive Director Bob Walsh appeared on the Dan Yorke show today on WPRO radio and says that he hadn't planned to comment on the arrest of John Leidecker, but felt he had to after Representative Gablinske compared the organization to organized crime.

Walsh fired back on the program, dismissing what Leidecker is accused of as little more than “as sophomoric prank.”

ABC6 Reporter Matt Stevens has an update on the story we brought you yesterday.



National Education Association Rhode Island Executive Director Bob Walsh issued a statement Tuesday after a teachers' union official was charged with impersonating a state lawmaker in emails.

Here's the statement in its entirety:

“We are aware that one of our employees was taken into custody this morning. We have no first-hand knowledge of the charges. However, given the involvement of Representative 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.”

ABC6 Reporter Erica Ricci caught up with Representative Gablinske tonight at the State House and has the story.



A Rhode Island teachers' union official has been charged with impersonating a state lawmaker in e-mails.     

Bristol Police Lt. Steven Contente said that John Leidecker was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with use of false information, a misdemeanor.

Leidecker, an assistant executive director with the National Education Association-Rhode Island, was due in court later Tuesday.

He did not immediately return a message left at his home.

Contente said Leidecker, of Cranston, allegedly sent e-mails purporting to be from state Rep. Doug Gablinske, a Bristol Democrat who lost in the September primary and ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign.

Gablinske complained that Leidecker made false claims about his record in the e-mails.