Matthew Ricchiazzi : Ineligible for SD-60

9 Jun

The requirements to run for the state senate in New York are pretty clear. You need to be 18, have lived in the New York for at least 5 years (preferably not with your parents) and most importantly, you must have been a full time resident of the senate district you want to represent for the 12 months immediately before the election.

So, if someone wanted to run against Antoine Thompson in New York’s 60th Senate district, that person would have to have lived in that district since at least November 2, 2009.

Over the weekend, the Ostrowski/Coniglio faction of the local WNY tea party endorsed a handful of candidates for this years state elections. Among them was Matthew Ricchiazzi. You might remember him from such failed campaigns like last year’s Mayoral race and most recently, last month’s Buffalo School Board election.

His first two attempts at getting on a ballot having failed, Mr. Ricchiazzi is looking for a trifecta with his current run against Antoine Thompson.

WNYmedia has learned that Mr. Ricchiazzi could be considered ineligible to run for the New York State senate’s 60th district seat.

Ricchiazzi recently sent a “press release” out trying to paint WNYmedia blogger and Carl Paladino supporter Rus Thompson as a democrat:

Monday morning, Ricchiazzi blasted off an email to just about every local media email address he could harvest – even the kid who covers the online-bargain beat for the Channel 2 morning infotainment hour got an email. In it, (see it here in its entirety), Ricchiazzi pleases his new political ally – Ostrowski – by blasting Erie County Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy for, among other things, endorsing “Democrat Rus Thompson”. (Ricchiazzi’s website is here).

Anyone who knows Rus, even if by name only, can tell you that despite his current BOE status, Rus is about the farthest thing from a Democrat out there.

When dropping out of last year’s mayoral race, Ricchiazzi wrote:

Let’s be honest–a 23 year old, openly bisexual, half-Indian, registered Republican running for Mayor of Buffalo was a long shot.

Like his self-described sexual orientation (not that there’s anything wrong with that), Ricchiazzi is just as undecided about his political affiliation.

Matthew Ricchiazzi was a registered Democrat for most, if not just about all his voting life (six years):

In January of 2009, before President Obama was even inaugurated, Ricchiazzi changed his party affiliation to Republican.

Yet in numerous interviews over the last two years, Ricchiazzi has claimed to be a fiscally conservative, socially liberal “Republican”. Know any of those?

Hell, I’m a bleeding-heart liberal, but also consider myself a fiscal conservative.  Do you know anyone on either side of the aisle that likes high taxes?

I digress.

In his attempt to run for Buffalo School Board and sometime in April 2010, the Erie County Board of Elections sent Ricchiazzi mail which came back undeliverable. At the time, it was discovered Ricchiazzi did not live at the address on Brinton Street he supplied:

Until this morning,  Ricchiazzi was considered an “inactive voter” by the Erie County Board of Elections. His voting record only tallied vote was in one Presidential Election back in 2004, which seems to also be the last time he was a legal resident of Erie County for the length of time needed to run for office.

After graduating from Sweet Home High School, Ricchiazzi attended Cornell University until 2008 and then Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, until a few weeks ago.

Obviously, it’s hard to be a full time student at Cornell and live in north Buffalo. Ricchiazzi’s Facebook status reveals that he was living in Tompkins County as recently as May 15th:

And back in March when he was coming “home to Buffalo Amherst” for spring break to collect petitions that would eventually be deemed invalid for the Buffalo School Board Election:

And in February when he was snowed in during an Ithaca snow storm:


Calls to the Tompkins County BOE confirm Ricchiazzi never registered at his most recent residence near Cornell University. When he filled out his Democrat -> Republican enrollment registration card in January 2009, he maintained his given address on Margaret Drive in Amherst, well outside the 60th Senate District.

Parts of the The NYS Public Officers law place a heavier burden on the residency of candidates as opposed to an average voter.  If challenged in court, Ricchiazzi would have a hard time confirming his residency in the 60th district for 12 consecutive months. Due to the district falling in both Erie and Niagara County, the issue would have to be brought before the State Board of Elections and to State Supreme court in Albany county.

Are we meant to believe that Mr. Ricchiazzi wants to go to Albany to be a legislator, yet cannot be bothered to properly register to vote? Cannot be bothered to vote at all in five years?  Are we meant to believe that he would well represent his prospective constituents, but cannot be bothered to meet (or research) the basic requirements to run for a particular public office?

While Jim Ostrowski denigrates his former allies, calling them “regular office seekers”, his coalition is busy endorsing a kid who in 2 years has run for 3 offices, doesn’t own a home, probably hasn’t paid a property or income tax, and who until today was not registered to vote, doesn’t vote, and quite possibly is now ineligible to run for the office he seeks to hold.

That’s not just sloppy.  It’s lazy and stupid.

34 Responses to “Matthew Ricchiazzi : Ineligible for SD-60”

  1. Andrew Kulyk June 9, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    WTF Marc?

    I had never heard of this guy until WNYMedia pumped his candidacy up last summer. I thought he was from some high school track team and you guys were playing some practical joke running a video interview… you and I even had a sharp discussion about this.

    Now you’re blasting him and torching him…perhaps because his newfound friends are the tea party crackpots and macadamias?

    I truly believe this… had Ricchiazzi remained on the ballot for Mayor last year, he probably would have gotten his ass kicked. But his very presence there would have given Brown’s base (ie black vote) reason to turn out and vote, and that would have translated into at least 5K votes for John Glascott, and we’d have a steady responsible law officer running our jails instead of the imbecile we have now.

    I have yet to meet Ricchiazzi in person… but have linked up with him on Facebook and from time to time chime in with suggestions and platitudes, and we send emails back and forth. I am drawn to him primarily because he has such enormous passion for Buffalo and can see the greatness that this area can become.

    If election rules prohibit his running for SS-60 so be it. But rather than tearing this guy to shreds we should be encouraging him and others like him who are willing to take the risk and give the time to shape Buffalo’s future.

    I’m sure Ricchiazzi is going to make some mistakes and take some more wrong turns. Frat boy pics from college dorm parties posted on the internet probably doesn’t help. But I say we give this guy some encouragement and lend a hand. The alternative is more Stachowski and more Volker and other same old same old.

    • Chris Smith June 10, 2010 at 12:21 am #

      I gave him an interview when no one else would. I was not under the impression that he had a shot in hell of even making a dent at the voting booth, but I liked his ideas and thought we should encourage the kid to get involved and become a positive advocate for change.

      Sadly, he’s turned out to be nothing more than a disorganized opportunist. The kid can’t follow the basic rules to get on the friggin ballot. It’s not that hard, seriously. Live in the district, maintain active status, and don’t pretend to be something you’re not. He grew up in Amherst, lives in Amherst, is registered outside the district (actually every district he’s tried to run in), keeps getting all of his signatures invalidated for the myriad elections he enters…he’s nothing more than Eddie Egriu, Jr.

      When someone turns out to be shady, we point it out and this kid is shady.

      The kid should stop running for office, work on a few campaigns, learn election law, build a base of support and decide what he wants to be when he grows up. Instead, he’s like most other members of his generation, entitled and unwilling to put the work in to learn anything before ascending to the executive offices. His buddying up to the tea party morons who can’t seem to vet candidates or agree if the fucking sky is blue is only germane to the topic at hand as it demonstrates that the kid is an opportunist looking for anyone to support him.

      Have you read his platform? It is anathema to almost everything the tea party stands for.

    • JoeG June 16, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

      A few comments:

      1.) What difference does it make how long Mr. Ricchiazzi was a resident or not a resident of the district. He has been a NYS resident his WHOLE life. He is running for a state position and I’m sure whether he is a resident of Buffalo or Ithaca, etc the issues are the same. I don’t seem to recall the same uproar when Mr Robert Kennedy and Mrs. Hillary Clinton moved to NY 6 months or whatever it was prior to them running for office.
      2.) Being bisexual doesn’t mean that he is indecisive, it just means he likes both. Seriously is this even an issue we should be discussing?
      3.) People change parties all the time: Joel Giambra was a Democrat then a Republican. Jimmy Griffin, same thing. Again, not an issue.
      Bottom line is that Antoine Thompson is an idiot and has done nothing for this district or this State. He is also a crook.
      If the worst you can say about Mr.Ricchiazzi is that he hasn’t lived in the district long enough and he used to be a Democrat then that is pretty good. I’m sure the list of what we don’t like about Antoine Thompson is about 2 pages longer!

      • Marc Odien June 16, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

        It’s great Matthew has lived in NYS his entire life, but its completely irrelevent. Whether you agree with them or not we have residency requirements to run for state office and he has not met them. End of story.

      • JoeG June 16, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

        I’m getting sick and tired of those of you making an issue out of this “bisexual” thing. I mean at least Matt is honest and open about it unlike hmm let’s see: Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Jim McGreevey, etc. I’d rather have someone open and honest about it then someone who lives a lie and then only admits it when they get caught. To me this says a lot about Matt. It shows he is an honest person living an honest life. We need that in our elected leaders. Matt didn’t even have to disclose it, why he did I don’t know, but I give him credit for doing so. It’s 2010, it shouldn’t even be an issue if you are gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, etc, unless of course the person is running for Pope.

      • JoeG June 16, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

        Oh and about the residency issue, we should let the Board of Elections handle that. I’m sure Matt wouldn’t be putting in all this effort to run in this district if he wasn’t eligible. He’s a smart guy, unlike Senator Thompson.

  2. Mark June 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

    1st photo= EPIC WIN

    Without ever meeting the guy, Ricchiazzi seemed like a dynamic guy who had fresh ideas but when he said “Let’s be honest–a 23 year old, openly bisexual, half-Indian, registered Republican running for Mayor of Buffalo was a long shot.” I lost a lot of respect for him. Why? Because NO ONE knew that. He threw out some gossip on himself to justify his failure.

    Allying with Ostrowski pretty much put the nail in the coffin for me on that guy. Its too bad, he seemed to be smart and in it for the right reasons at first. Instead he’s a pretty slimy guy.

  3. Mike in WNY June 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    A student attending school out of state does not necessarily renounce his NYS citizenship.  This could be the case for someone attending school “out of town”.

    Since when is being bisexual equivalent to being undecided?

    • whitney June 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

      Gotta agree, I’m not a fan of that understanding of bisexuality.

    • Jon Splett June 10, 2010 at 12:06 am #

      We agree on very little Mike but yea, the bisexual shot is totally uncalled for and ignorant of what bisexuality is.

      And he’s automatically unfit to serve the public because he’s got a picture from a party on his Facebook? Every establishment candidate has booze at their fund-raisers, but because his is in a plastic cup in a dorm room it’s all of a sudden wrong?

      You’re better than that Marc. This dude is a joke for a million reasons that have nothing to do with sexuality or partying.

      • Chris Smith June 10, 2010 at 12:23 am #

        No, we’re saying that if you’re a serious candidate for office, you don’t leave pictures of yourself hitting hookahs and chugging 40’s which are duct taped to your hand on your Facebook page.

      • Marc Odien June 10, 2010 at 12:35 am #

        Well I thought you two are better than being thrown off track by Mike hyper focusing on one throw away wise crack rather than seeing the bigger and more important points of the post.  Those black lines in between the pretty pictures and fancy quotes are words.  You should probably read ’em.

      • Jon Splett June 10, 2010 at 12:50 am #

        So post some Edward 40-hands pictures then.

        What you’ve posted right here is a kid standing in front of some booze with some smoke in the air. I’m failing to see him hitting a hooka or doing anything remotely like that. From that picture, it looks like the chick next to him is smoking and I’m not even sure it’s pot.

        And let’s be real here. I know plenty of serious political journalists who’d be passing him that hooka so the outrage is a bit of a joke.

        He’s not eligible to run in the district. He probably has no idea what he’s doing running. He’s aligned with screwball glibertarian lunatics and he probably needs to cut his teeth on some campaigns before running himself. But all that makes him inept, not shady. To lob attacks that his an opportunist is just silly. What ‘opportunity’ is he capitalizing on? The endorsement of some whackos no one outside of the internet has any idea who are? Shady opportunist describes guys like Steve Pidgeon, not some kid whose aspirations greatly surpass reality.

        And not that I have any love for the tea party but aren’t there people with actual power and influence you guys could fuck with a little bit? Destroying Paladino was awesome and all, but how about taking on some major league pitching? You can only progress so far when you play in the minor leagues and in the political world, Jim O and company are the equivalent of the Batavia Muckdogs.

      • Christopher Smith June 10, 2010 at 2:49 am #

        And let’s be real here. I know plenty of serious political journalists who’d be passing him that hooka so the outrage is a bit of a joke.

        Who is “outraged”?

      • Andrew Kulyk June 10, 2010 at 8:30 am #

        This just in…. that girl blowing smoke is not a girl. That’s a DUDE in drag! Aha the “bisexual” angle now becomes clear! Stop the presses! Another scandal brews in the imploding Ricchiazzi campaign! Let’s drag this “kid’ through the streets and beat him with rocks!

        In all seriousness, Chris Smith, you are spot on with your advice. Matt really needs to dive in to actual campaign work and make some contacts, earn some stripes and delve into the nitty gritty of the way campaigns are put together. I got involved in Cheekdems politics while still in college, and went through 4 campaign cycles taking on increasing responsibility and leadership roles every time for other candidates. Finally at age 29 there was my shot – three vacancies on the town board. I and my friends collected signatures as an “unendorsed” candidate, impressed two minor parties with my presentation and got their lines, put together a rag tag group which worked off of my patio all summer, and won going away in the primary and general. It was one of the most fun times of my entire life.

        As for actually taking office and serving as Councilman? Yeah not so much fun but that is a whole ‘nother story.

        Again I say, let’s not be so quick to destroy this guy… not ready for the NFL yet. Don’t we all make mistakes?

    • Chris Smith June 10, 2010 at 12:25 am #

      He didn’t attend school out of state and he didn’t “renounce” his NYS citizenship. Did you even read the article? He needs to be a resident of the district for 12 months prior to the election and he is not eligible to run against Antoine. He has been registered in Amherst during that time, he can feel free to run against Ranzenhofer.

    • RD June 10, 2010 at 1:13 am #

      “A student attending school out of state does not necessarily renounce his NYS citizenship.”

      Dear Mike in WNY,

      Procure a map of the State of New York, find Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca – where Cornell University is situated and, perhaps, rethink your “out of state” comment. Also, “NYS citizenship”? eh? I believe the word you are looking for is residency. But whatevs, moran. I’m betting that you wouldn’t understand the difference.

      Sincerely yours,

      • Mike In WNY June 10, 2010 at 9:08 am #

        People use things called analogies, which I did, then modified it with the word “could”. I didn’t profess to have the last word on election law. Please try to comment on what I said if your going to devolve into name calling, not what you think I said.

  4. Andrew Kulyk June 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

    @Mark Byrnes… lol… that portly guy on the left is Dennis Delano. I don’t know when or where that picture was taken, but Delano ran against Billy Stack for Senate two years ago and almost pulled the upset. Now he’s running for Town Justice in Cheektowaga against Jim Vallone and has all my Cheekdems posse’s knots in a bun. Love it!

  5. Valerie June 18, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    Marc……All I can say is “Get a Life”. I know you are a “Buffalo Watch Dog” but you don’t know jack about Matt Ricchiazzi. I, on the other hand, have known him his entire life! If you have time to pull old pics off the internet, along with quotes from Facebook (good or bad), you have to get out more. And when you get out, do some research that is not green and condemning. You will find a vast amount of information that will not only be inspiring, but honest, tough, gifted and revolutionary! Everyone, politicians or otherwise are not perfect and it is very hard to follow the political rules when the rules SUCK or are geared to the conformists.

    Bottom line is that Matt truly CARES! Matt has unprecedented passion for Buffalo. Matt lived in Buffalo most of his life. He was planning how to improve Buffalo’s infrastructure, economy and schools since he was 5 years old. He wants to live in Buffalo for the REST OF HIS LIFE. He is not trying to be a “Regular Office Seeker”. Matt just wants to be heard and have a chance to fight and CHANGE Buffalo NOW and for the better. It is in Matt’s heart and soul. It is a shame he wasn’t elected Mayor. Because then you would actually see him in action and be in complete awe while eating all your negative words! You (wrongly) see him as running around trying to get into any office possible. You do NOT see Matt, the person, the organizer, the entrepreneur, the fighter who can turn Buffalo around. People like Bryan Brown just want to be career politicians, take money and find the next best thing that can only benefit them. Matt is not interest in traditional politics as a career. Matt is interested in CHANGE for a career and helping the people of Buffalo.

    As for your comment on “attending Cornell”, get your facts straight before you continue fabricating your point. He is a GRADUATE of Cornell and I do not see what the hell his sexual orientation or high school / undergrad pics have anything to do with anything! We have all partied! Obama, Bush, Clinton –ALL PARTIED!! Especially Bush! If we elect or don’t elect based on this sentiment, then we wouldn’t elect anyone. Joe Barton, R-Texas sure messed up yesterday on Capitol Hill. We all know how much Clinton, Edwards and Spitzer messed up. The Larry Craig scandal was ridiculous. Some of these acts would make Matt’s high school party pics look like great material to run for President. So GET REAL MARC! Matt is honest, extraordinarily intelligent and Buffalo is his passion. I will take that any day over the corrupt Antoine Thompson. Antoine Thompson is a babbling idiot. If all you can say about Matt is that he has residential issues (which I think you are not well informed on this subject either), then Matt has already blew Antoine Thompson out of the water!

    As for your comment “Ricchiazzi has claimed to be a fiscally conservative, socially liberal “Republican”. “Know any of those”. All I can say is “SO!!!”. What is your point? Matt is who he is. People change parties, people grow, and people don’t always fit into one category and shouldn’t have to. The right view (or right party) is the one that helps people. The one that cares, strategizes, motivates, and unites a community. That is the “party” I am voting for!

    • Alan Bedenko June 18, 2010 at 10:27 am #

      That’s a lot of words to defend a guy who is, in the end, ineligible to be elected to that seat.

      • JoeG June 19, 2010 at 11:30 pm #

        And you know this how? Because Marc told you so?

      • admin June 20, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

        uh, YES! Through Marc’s journalistic work spending time speaking with local and state BOE officials who admit he will have a tough time proving his residency with the information provided. Thats how.
        What do you think we do here? Make shit up as we go along? Sure, we share a lot of opinion, but I can assure you its all based in facts. Then again you probably think Carl Paladino never “really” sent racist emails either.
        Anyways I agree we are arguing a moot point as he petitions will be heavily challenged and most likely thrown out before it even get this far.

      • JoeG June 21, 2010 at 8:56 am #

        Fair enough, but let’s just see how this all ends up. I guess no point in going back and forth until we know what the BOE decides. Also, petitions are always heavily challenged. I ran for office back in 2005 for EC Legislator and had over 700 signatures (only needed 500), and wasn’t eligibile because my opponent challenged almost 300 of the signatures. My fault, yes because I probably should have gotten around 1000 or so signatures.
        Also, yes I do beleive Paladino sent those e-mails,but do we all live in glass houses? The guy made a mistake and admitted he made a mistake (after the fact admittedly). We all make mistakes. Why are we always trying to bring everyone down? Matt is running for office, he may be eligible and he may not be. But let’s just see how it all pans out before we go running around making assumptions.

  6. Joe G June 18, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    I have to agree with Valerie’s points above. Well said Valerie.
    So let me understand, the only issues most of you seem to have with Matt is that he wasn’t a resident of the district for 12 months and that he changed parties? Correct?
    How do any of you know how long Matt has lived in the district? Again, why would Matt run if he was ineligible? None of it makes sense and instead of focusing on your “gotcha journalism” maybe you should be focusing on the real issues like turning Buffalo around and making this community a better place to live, work, and raise a family. Seriously, you people will nit pick any little thing like scrolling through his Facebook page to, again, find a “gotcha picture” to post..who does that?

    • admin June 18, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

      Okay Sarah Palin… “gotcha journalism”? Unless one of you is Matthew himself, you obviously don’t even know what that term means. Which makes me question even responding to you in the first place (which will be the last time BTW).

      Facts are facts. Sorry you don’t like them.

      I am sure both of you like Matthew as a person. Great! But all the nonsensical arguments in this comment section do not dismiss the title of the post. As much as you seem to think so, we didn’t make the rules that are well documented as per the link above in the post.

      As someone tried to get into your thick skulls earlier, elected positions have basic requirements to be eligible to run for office. As per public records and even Matthew’s own doublespeak, He doesn’t meet the criteria to run against Antoine Thompson. END. OF. STORY.

      Matt is free to waste everyone’s time collecting all the petitions (for a 3rd time) he wants, but at the end of the day, it won’t matter when it hits a court of law (which it will).

      If you think WNYmedia does not work towards “making WNY a better place to live, work and raise a family”, then you’re obviously new here. None of that fun stuff can happen until we clean up our political class. In WNY, that includes constantly having to call out the stupid (A. Thompson), the racists (Paladino) and the “opportunists” (Matthew), among others.

      As much as you would like to blame us for his thus far FAILED political career, It’s not our fault this “smart kid” (debatable) doesn’t have the common sense to ever get on a ballot.

      • JoeG June 19, 2010 at 11:11 pm #

        Yes I got that term from Sarah Palin because it applies here….point? Also, YES Matt IS eligible to run in this district. Unless you work for the BOE, then really you saying he “isn’t eligible” is irrelavant. Of course the same could be said about me saying he IS eligible. Why don’t we all just wait to see what the BOE has to say, I think that would be the best thing to do instead of all this back and forth gossip.

      • The Answer Lady June 20, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

        Maybe the boy should try getting a job and working for a while. It appears that his entire life’s purpose is running for political office. Maybe start with dog catcher, or school board and work your way up. Oh yea, right, …

      • JoeG June 21, 2010 at 8:49 am #

        Ok first, he’s 23 (?) I think, so while he is young, I wouldn’t consider him a “boy”. Secondly, all he wants to do is make the community a better place. He is pissed off at the way things have been run around here for the past 50 years or so and wants to do something about it, instead of what most of us do around here: moan and complain. What is wrong with that? Would you rather have a career politician instead? What kind of job would you like him to have before he runs for office? God knows the only jobs around here are retail and call center gigs!
        Matt is a fresh face with fresh ideas. If you don’t like Matt becacuse he is “too young” or “doesn’t have a job” or changed parties, or whatever, then don’t vote for him and vote for the pride and joy of Buffalo, Senator Thompson. I mean seriously, all you guys do is complain on here. Once Matt is deemed eligible to run in this district, what will you guys complain about next? Stay tuned…

  7. Valerie June 18, 2010 at 9:26 pm #

    By the way, I actually do know where Matt has lived all of his life, which is mostly in Buffalo. Don’t need to look at Facebook or bogus return addresses – I actually know.

  8. OPP June 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    Valerie, what are you his mother?  If you know him so well then you must know that the kid was in college in Ithaca until recently.  Hard to be in both places at once. So which is it? A college grad or long time buffalo resident? Last time I checked sweet home doesn’t fall within the city lines.
    If you looked up “wannabe” career politician, the picture of him getting shotguns by that chick would be front and center.  This clown has ran for three offices in less than two years.  If that doesn’t cry  career politician wannabe I don’t know what does.  
    Problem is Matt needs a different career path.  I’m with the AL, dog catcher is about at his current skill level.


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