The Root of the Tea Party Schism in WNY

12 Jun

Albert Matteo is a member of Lenny Roberto’s Primary Challenge, and is the third person to corroborate this exact sequence of events that led to the ultimate split of the various local WNY tea party groups.

Pay especial attention to the details surrounding the meeting & ensuing emails concerning Domagalski’s entry in the race for the Volker seat.

After squiring her around WNY, promoting her as the great hope against Brian Higgins for months, Jim Ostrowski has now taken to insulting the intelligence of Dr. Jill Rowland, who is running for Louise Slaughter’s seat, and who is no longer employing Mr. Ostrowski. See, it turns out that Dr. Rowland, whom Mr. Ostrowski recruited, doesn’t live in Higgins’ district. What a difference a few months make.

Mr. Matteo’s story:

What I am writing is in response to blogs by Jim Ostrowski that I’ve read. One thing I have learned is that Jim and reality don’t always meet. In other words, what goes on between Jim’s ears and what goes on in the rest of the world aren’t always the same thing. I am learning Allen Coniglio has the same problem. I didn’t want to do this. I tried to ignore it but sometimes you just can’t.

Let me make one thing clear – The tea party has not split! Did you get that – THE TEA PARTY HAS NOT SPLIT!!! The tea party is made up of many different groups. It has been going on for more than 5 years. It didn’t just start. It didn’t just end and it didn’t just split. The “Tea Party Coalition” collapsed, that and only that group.

What has happened to the “tea party movement”? Over the last six months or so, many of its elements here in the Buffalo area did begin talking to see if we could work more closely together. It was an experiment. There was a meeting called by Jim Ostrowski. I was hopeful. It was an idea I had thought about also but never acted on. Many others were skeptical. Time proved them right.

The first meeting did not go well. Many of these people had tried to work together before and the results were not always good. Sitting at this meeting it became evident why. Old resentments were not easily hidden. It didn’t help that the person who asked for the meeting began to attack other groups, specifically attacking Primary Challenge. Apparently, we weren’t doing what he thought we should be doing, therefore we “failed”. Great way to bring people together, huh? After this “Failed” meeting some did not come back. (Although Jim thought the meeting went great. Another case of Jim and reality not meeting.) We had decided that we would try again the next week. I hoped that we would be able to overcome this “disastrous” start and I felt I had a responsibility to be “involved”.

The second meeting wasn’t much better. Let me sum up the results – nothing got done. It was the same in most meetings and it wasn’t just my opinion. Without going in to more needless detail let me say that I went away from almost all the meetings asking myself, “Why did I go to this meeting?” The only good thing I got out of it most days was really good oatmeal and a good cup of coffee.

The signs of impending collapse were there from the beginning. Some personalities and egos just don’t go well together, neither did the name calling, mischaracterizations, rewriting and re-rewriting “tea party” history, with slants usually favoring the rewriter.

Everything came to a head the week of Easter. Both Dave DiPietro and Lenny Roberto had expressed interest in the 59th State Senate seat that is currently held by Dale Volker. I don’t believe either of them had “officially” announced. Now, Dave was very involved with the “Coalition”. Lenny was at the first meeting and foresaw that this was not going to go well and did not come back. There were several of us from Primary Challenge there so it wasn’t like the group wasn’t represented. This was when Carl Paladino was just starting to work on running for governor. Jim never seems to talk about his participation in the “meeting”. There Carl, Rus, Lenny, Dave, Jim O, Mike Caputo (Carl’s campaign manager), and Jim Domagalski met to discuss the upcoming campaign for the state senate seat. At that time it was to be a 4 person race. Not very good odds for someone. Lenny wisely dropped out of that race and switched to 27th Congressional race, which had no announced GOP candidates. There was to be a meeting on Saturday at noon involving Dave, Jim Domagalski, and Carl.

HERE IS THE MISSING ELEMENT: The night before that meeting Jim O hastily calls a phone conference meeting of the “Coalition” for Saturday morning to discuss whether to endorse Dave or Lenny. Now Jim knows that Lenny has dropped out and so do a few others, but he neglects to mention that in the e-mail. Some of us caught on immediately that something wasn’t right. This was an obvious attempt by Jim, a paid political consultant, to manipulate the group. In retrospect I think the whole “Tea Party Coalition” idea was and still is a tool to be used by Jim.

Needless to say, many e-mails ensued from many directions. It was very ugly. At that time I felt it was best for Primary Challenge to back out of the “Tea Party Coalition” but left the final decision to the board. Most were surprised I had stayed in that long. The Board voted to leave the “Coalition”.

I learned that Primary Challenge wasn’t the only group to leave. At this point there are maybe 5 or 6 people involved in the “Tea Party Coalition”. Why? I blame Jim. As is displayed in his writings Jim is a very angry, bitter person. He is extremely resentful of the success that Rus and Lenny have had. He especially craves the spotlight. He won’t say it. He might even argue publicly against the idea but I am convinced that he desperately craves it.

What he doesn’t understand is “POLITICS” or “SUCCESS”. Yes he has been at it for years and years but he still doesn’t understand it. Politics is a game of negotiation and compromise. If you can do this without compromising principle you will be very successful. If you can’t negotiate, you lose. If you won’t compromise, you lose. If you compromise your principles, you lose. It is a balancing act but it can be done.

I believe that Rus and Lenny have learned this. Jim has not. He has only succeeded in driving people away and has done so for many years.

In conclusion let me say that we have not won the war to regain our government and the fight is not over. There is much to be done but we are making progress. Those who were considered the “enemy” are now seeking our endorsement. The success of the movement across the country has shown that we are relevant and that we are powerful. If we keep up the fight, if we cast aside distractions, if we work with those we can and disassociate from those with whom we can’t, we will win.

In the end the tea party has not split. It has not died. The MOVEMENT is ALIVE and VERY WELL. Most of us still work together and there is a lot of overlap among the groups.

Only the “Tea Party Coalition” has collapsed. It collapsed from within. The poison that was at its root was the cause.

16 Responses to “The Root of the Tea Party Schism in WNY”

  1. The Answer Lady June 12, 2010 at 8:14 am #

    Sounds like Mr Matteo also has a little problem with reality. The latest round of primaries pretty much rejected the tea party. When your biggest win is a Nevada coo-coo with a fear of fluoride, you loose.

    Does anyone know if the IRS is looking into how Ostrowski is declaring all that cash he has been collecting for his tea party endeavors?

  2. Mike in WNY June 12, 2010 at 9:36 am #

    What was obvious to me at the first meeting, is that people who showed up with a self-serving agenda, and an unwillingness to look at the big picture, were never interested in a “coalition”.  I find it quite predictable that Mateo appears to have enlisted this blog to trumpet his version of the truth instead of addressing the issue directly.

  3. Tiny Little Mosquitoes Buzzing June 12, 2010 at 9:36 am #

    I don’t know this guy Albert but he seems pretty smart. I especially like his line about politics which boils it all down quite well:

    “Politics is a game of negotiation and compromise. If you can do this without compromising principle you will be very successful. If you can’t negotiate, you lose. If you won’t compromise, you lose. If you compromise your principles, you lose. It is a balancing act but it can be done.”

    • Mike in WNY June 12, 2010 at 9:48 am #

      I was a bit confused by that passage.  Which is it?  This – “If you can do this without compromising principle you will be very successful” -OR this – “If you won’t compromise, you lose”??

    • Tony M June 12, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

      If principle hasn’t been compromised, integrity has, and that is what all this is about.

      Rus, Lenny, and Jim, have villainized former chairman Domagalski as the devil from hell with examples. Now, Rus and Lenny have involvement with Domagalski that benefits … whom? So were there great tales told about the Dom?

      In setting up our April 2009 tea party / educating presentations at Club W, Jill Sinclair (pictured above and who initiated the first tea party ever held in Buffalo, January 2009), we wanted to show unity. Jill had to convince Rus to speak and I had to convince Lenny to speak because neither would because of whatever stuff was going on between them. It was agreed that we would give Rus a 5 minute spot at the outdoor rally while Lenny and Jim had slots at the educating presentation at the W. To this day the comments are that this was the best tea party due to people actually learning something of value from the videos and speakers that educated them instead of just “rah, rah” Obama sucks.

      At Dave Depietro’s town hall rally in East Aurora last winter, Rus made a comment that he was a co founder of Primary Challenge. This didn’t go over well with Len since Rus is not a co-founder.

      Fast forward to this year and the first tea party on the water; Lenny was there, Rus announces that Lenny is going to speak and Rus states that he and Lenny started PC together some years ago. Lenny speaks. What’s going on here?

      What we now have is Rus and Lenny, new co-founders of PC, situating with James (I’ve earned [Volkers seat]) Domagalski. As I stated in open emails back then, Dave and Jim indeed reacted to something the next day after that meeting and rightfully so.

      The meeting that Al named is where all the scheet happens that setups the crap going on. Stick to the core issue and not all the junk after, which is what the overwhelming majority are concentrating on.

      There does seem like an agenda exists but the facts do not point to those who refused to deal with Domagalski.

  4. Mark June 12, 2010 at 11:04 pm #

    hmm a group of people founded on being selfish, arrogant, narrow-minded, and isolated from people who are different from them have a hard time getting along and organizing a political party? crazy.

    • Mike In WNY June 12, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

      Mark, your whole statement is a complete fabrication. A definition I read of libertarianism hits the nail on the head – “The application of science and logic to politics.” Far from selfish, our desire is to create the conditions, based on liberty (and those pesky documents called the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence), that provide the most opportunities for everyone.

      If you look around the world, the people enjoying the best standards of living are in the countries with the most economic and personal freedom. Unfortunately, we are headed in the wrong direction while ignoring what made our country great.

      • Alan Bedenko June 13, 2010 at 8:42 am #

        If you look around the world, the people enjoying the best standards of living are in the countries with the most economic and personal freedom.

        Name some.

      • Mike in WNY June 13, 2010 at 10:11 am #

        Estonia is a great example.  Around 1992, the head of the country based economic policy on Milton Friedman’s book, Freedom to Choose.  They now have a flat tax, which has been steadily decreasing, tax-free trade, no national debt and a balanced budget.

        China’s experiment with free-market reforms in the Guangdong Province has led to robust economy and high standard of living compared to the rest of the country.  Hong Kong is another great example.

      • Alan Bedenko June 13, 2010 at 10:44 am #

        They are an EU member and don’t have “tax free trade”, whatever that means. The flat tax of 21% means millionaires and garbagemen pay the same, but that amount is significantly more of a burden in the garbageman.

        Also, I wasn’t aware that libertarians supported a VAT and excise taxes, or universal health care. So yes, let’s adopt Estonia’s system.

      • Alan Bedenko June 13, 2010 at 10:48 am #


        In Estonia public healt insurance is a social insurance and relies on the principle of solidarity. The purposes of health insurance are to: cover the costs of health services provided to insured people, prevent and cure diseases, finance the purchase of medicinal products and medicinal technical aids and provide benefits for temporary incapacity for work and other benefits. The health insurance is organised by the Health Insurance Fund (EHIF), which covers the costs of health services required by people in the event of illness, regardless of the amount of social tax paid in respect of the person concerned.

        I love Milton Friedman!!

      • Mike In WNY June 13, 2010 at 7:06 pm #

        Did I say any of those places, or any place for that matter, is perfect? No, I said, and showed, that there is a pattern. The pattern shows that moving toward more economic freedom and personal liberty results in a higher standard of living. Moving toward less economic freedom and personal liberty results in a lower standard of living. That does not mean two countries with identical policies will have the same result because there are other factors, such as natural resources and location. However, if you apply my premise, the outcome holds true relative to the conditions that existed previously in a particular country.

      • Alan Bedenko June 13, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

        So, Estonia like every other former bloc country instituted shock therapy to its post-Communist economy? That’s not news.

      • seamonkeyavenger June 13, 2010 at 7:48 pm #

        Actually, study after study indicates that the Nordic countries of Europe (Sweden, Norway, Denmark) tend to rank highest in terms overall standards of living — not to mention the fact that they tend to rank highest in most “happiness factors” amongst the populace. Sorry to break your heart, Mike, but these countries are also largely SOCIALIST (gasp!).

      • Mike In WNY June 14, 2010 at 8:41 am #

        Go back and read what I wrote. Each country is different and many other factors need to be taken into account when making comparisons. I said, regarding my premise, “the outcome holds true relative to the conditions that existed previously in a particular country”. The “happiness factors” are very subjective and pretty much worthless.


  1. Wake Up Call « Read NEWS - June 14, 2010

    […] Inside the WNY Tea Party schism. […]

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