It’s a story you saw first on NY1 – revealing that a Staten Island lawyer was the administrator of a misleading Facebook page that benefitted a local assemblyman. Now, there are new details of conversations between the two men, and the assemblyman's reaction to behavior that some might find offensive. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
Every spring, the South Beach Civic Association on Staten Island holds a fundraising picnic.
Last year, Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican assemblywoman now running for mayor, attended.
"Did I get sprayed with a water gun? Yeah, I think I got sprayed with a water gun," Malliotakis said.
Four people who saw what happened tell NY1 that it was Staten Island attorney Richard Luthmann who sprayed Malliatokis, and that he appeared to aim for her breasts.
The four witnesses, none of whom want to be identified, say that when Luthmann was told to stop, he said it was all in good fun.
Two of the four said they considered the incident humiliating for Malliotakis.
But it could not have been a surprise to Assemblyman Ron Castorina. The night before, Luthmann told Castorina in a Facebook conversation this is exactly what he would do.
Luthmann messaged Castorina a lewd photoshopped image of Malliotakis.
Castorina, then, as now, Malliotakis' colleague in the Assembly, replies:
"You are one seriously sick 'expletive' I almost crashed my car looking at that 'expletive' meme while driving LOL."
The conversation continues: "I'm bringing a super-soaker to the South Beach Civic Association Picnic tomorrow," Luthmann writes. "Wet tees! Nicole will not be happy!"
Castorina replies, "Where do you come up with this 'expletive' 'expletive' hysterical."
"I'm not going to comment on something like that; it's just silly. And I have no other comment," Malliotakis said.
In a screenshot of a Facebook conversation five weeks ago, also obtained by NY1, Castorina offers a similar, light-hearted response as Luthmann talks about a Board of Elections hearing held the day before.
Luthmann uses an anti-Semitic slur while describing a run-in with the board's attorney, Steven Richman, at the hearing.
"I called Steve Richman a Jew-Rat," Luthmann writes, "But passed it off as mispronounced Jurat...It's not like there is a Jew-rat right in front of me."
Castorina replies, "Noooo...'expletive' ur 'expletive' terrible and hysterical all at the same time lol ha ha ha."
Luthmann and Castorina communicated often on Facebook Messenger, according to screenshots obtained by NY1.
Several times, Luthmann messaged Castorina lewd photoshopped images of city elected officials, images so graphic, NY1 is not showing them.
NY1 previously revealed that Castorina knew Luthmann was behind a deceptively official-looking Facebook page that mischaracterized the positions of Castorina’s opponent, Janine Materna, in a Republican primary for Assembly last fall.
Screenshots show that Luthmann communicated with Castorina about what that page should contain.
After our report aired, a special prosecutor was appointed to investigate Luthmann's role in that page and others.
Castorina tells NY1 he's been advised by his attorney not to speak with NY1 and declined comment.
NY1 also contacted Luthmann.
"I think that they were part of my private communications and something that came in a private communication that I had a reasonable expectation of privacy," Luthmann said.
Luthmann has filed a lawsuit alleging NY1 was part of a conspiracy to cause him harm.
Castorina was named the Staten Island Republican chairman at the beginning of the summer.
The head of the state party declined to comment.