EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 4, 2013

Council candidate was hit with no-trespass notices

By Brian Messenger

---- — METHUEN — City Council candidate Robert LeBlanc was banned from the campus of Greater Lawrence Technical School in 2005 for undisclosed reasons.

A lawyer representing the school sent LeBlanc a no-trespass notice on April 11, 2005, prohibiting the former Methuen town manager and well-known local attorney from “entering any portion” of the school’s Andover campus. The school serves Methuen, as well as Andover, North Andover and Lawrence.

“Should you enter or attempt to enter the premises, you may be considered to be committing a criminal trespass,” wrote lawyer Wayne F. Simmons Jr. “You are hereby further informed that this office is prepared to take all lawful action in order to protect the school and its students.”

That letter came three years after a letter banning LeBlanc from all Barnes & Noble bookstores for his “activities” at the Salem, N.H., store in April 2002.

LeBlanc, 68, of 2 Plumwood Drive, said this week that the letters are baseless and were being circulated as a personal attack before the Nov. 5 municipal election. LeBlanc is one of five candidates vying for three at-large councl seats.

“That’s the Methuen way. Isn’t that timely?” said LeBlanc. “People trying to stir up trouble for me.”

The Greater Lawrence Tech letter from the firm Morris, Rossi & Hayes of Andover was titled, “Re: Trespassing on the grounds of Greater Lawrence Technical School.” The letter states that it was served via constable to 188 Broadway, Methuen, which at the time was the location of LeBlanc’s law office.

The letter indicates copies were sent to Andover police Detective Charles Heseltine and to Frank S. Vacirca and Marybeth Sullivan., who at the time were Tech’s superintendent and principal, respectively. Two calls to current school officials were not returned this week.

Michael Morris, a lawyer representing the school, also refused to comment on the letter.

LeBlanc said he never received the letter but has heard about its existence. He said the letter is based on a “non-event” that resulted in an accusation against him by school officials.

“An accusation was made — proven to be not true,” said LeBlanc. “I can’t remember that far back. I can’t remember what it was about.”

LeBlanc said he was at his winter home in Florida at the time the accusation was made. Despite the letter, LeBlanc said he is not barred from the campus and, to his knowledge, never has been.

“I’ve been over there many times since,” said LeBlanc. “Nobody’s ever said a word. ... I never received that letter, and I never had any problems.”

LeBlanc said he did receive the Barnes & Noble letter. The letter is dated April 9, 2002, and signed by Dana E. Giannotti, the company’s northeast regional loss prevention manager.

“I have been advised of your previous activities in our Salem, New Hampshire bookstore, including those on Tuesday, April 2, 2002,” wrote Giannotti. “Please be advised you are no longer welcome in any Barnes & Noble store, specifically the store located at 125 S. Broadway in Salem, N.H. If you choose to trespass, store management is instructed to notify their local law enforcement agency to file a criminal trespass complaint.”

LeBlanc said the Barnes & Noble ban “was lifted way back.”

“The only thing I can recall there is I was up reading a book and fell asleep and I was snoring and had none-too-pleasant a conversation with their manager,” said LeBlanc. “That’s all I can remember.”

In November 2008. LeBlanc was charged with a single count of assault and battery for giving fellow attorney Pamela Saia-Rogers a bearhug in Lawrence District Court.

Saia-Rogers told police that on Nov. 18, 2008, she was chatting with three other attorneys in the lobby of Lawrence District Court, when LeBlanc grabbed her from behind, “wrapped his arms around her midsection just below her breast and pulled her tightly to him pressing his pelvis against her backside” in a bearhug, according to a police report.

“She states he stated aloud to the colleagues standing there, ‘Isn’t she a beautiful Republican?’” the report reads.

LeBlanc was placed on six-months pretrial probation in August 2010 and was told to send a letter of apology as a result of the incident.

In addition to serving as Methuen town manager from 1976 to 1981, LeBlanc was a councilor at large for two terms in the 1980s. Also running for councilor at large this fall are incumbent Joyce Campagnone and challengers Sharon Birchall, Daniel Grayton and James Jajuga.