Tom Martino

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

 
Jump to: navigation, search

Tom Martino (born 1953) is a consumer advocate and American talk radio host. His nationally syndicated show "The Troubleshooter Show" airs from KHOW, based in Denver, Colorado. His show format focuses on callers who give him specific complaints about businesses; he also provides business advice to listeners. Martino investigates the complaints by contacting the other party in disputes when possible; he then gives advice and solicits comments from callers. The show began over 30 years ago and was syndicated nationally around 2001. Martino says that over the years, he has recovered millions of dollars in cash, merchandise, and services for consumers who contact him.[1]

Radio career[edit]

Martino's career began at the Catskill Daily Mail, a newspaper in his native New York, where he wrote a consumer-oriented column. In 1976, he began working in radio and television.[2] He continued to write columns for the Rocky Mountain News, but now writes columns only for his own website.

Martino brought his consumer advocacy to television, first at several stations in the Eastern United States. In Denver, he spent 18 years at CBS station KCNC.[2] His most recent television position was with Fox Broadcasting Company affiliate KDVR in Denver, which dropped his show from the schedule in 2011.[3]

Martino is known for his bold style. If he believes a businessperson is acting unethically, he does not hesitate to call that person a liar or a cheat on air. If he believes a business is failing to respond to his investigation, he sometimes broadcasts the business’s phone number and encourages listeners to contact the business.

On April 24, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion affirming the dismissal of a libel suit brought against Martino by an Oregon watercraft dealer. A customer of the dealer had called Martino's show to describe the problems she had with a personal watercraft that she bought from the dealer, and in the course of the on-the-air conversation, Martino said "they're just lying to you." The dealer sued Martino for libel and interference with business relations. The federal district court in Portland granted Martino's anti-SLAPP motion, dismissed the dealer's case, and awarded attorney fees to Martino against the dealer. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, saying that Martino's statement was a statement of opinion protected by the First Amendment. Gardner v. Martino, Ninth Circuit No. 06-35437 (April 24, 2009).

Businessman[edit]

Martino operates the "Troubleshooter Referral List," a list of businesses endorsed by him. In order to be a member of the Referral List, a business must pay a fee ($3,000 per listing) and agree to a code of ethics, including an agreement to abide by Martino’s decision in the case of a dispute with a consumer. A business can pay to have Martino personally endorse their product or service on air for $200 per 30 second spot during prime time radio listening, though critics say that Tom Martino's status as a consumer advocate is compromised by the money he receives for his endorsements.[4] Martino's website has a lengthy disclaimer stating that he is not liable for the quality of service received from the companies he endorses. [5]

Martino operates Liberty Bell Telecom, a telecommunications company. He is also a real estate developer and a private pilot.

On 2 September 2011, Tom Martino filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. He had borrowed heavily to invest in real estate, and became insolvent when real estate prices dropped.[6] Martino said that he owed about $36 million, although his creditors put the figure at $78 million.[7] The filing was contested when some creditors accused Martino of improperly transferring property into his wife's name, which he denied.[8] After a series of drawn-out court proceedings, the bankruptcy was settled in March 2013.

On 21 December 2013, Martino was arrested by the Denver police for investigation of domestic violence. Martino was released after he posted bond.[9]

References[edit]

External links[edit]