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'Troubleshooter' Tom Martino bankrupt, disputes debt amount

8:41 PM, Sep 14, 2011   |    comments
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According to a bankruptcy filing, Martino has about $1.37 million in assets and owes creditors more than $78 million.

Martino is disputing that figure and says his debts are closer to $36 million.

Martino, known as the "Troubleshooter," appears regularly on KDVR Fox-31 and AM radio station 630-KHOW.

Martino says he tried as hard as he could to prevent filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but because he couldn't reach a settlement with one of his creditors, he says he had no other choice.

"The biggest regret [I have] is that I spent 30 years of my life doing this on and off and I have nothing to show for it," Martino told 9NEWS.

Martino says the trouble started a year ago.

"I invested in real estate and I invested a lot of money. The good news is I made money over the last 30 years. The bad news is I lost it in the recession," he explained.

Martino invested in about a half dozen real estate projects. They seemed promising at first, until they crashed.

"I don't owe anything to anyone except the three commercial real estate projects or three commercial creditors and they amount to about $40 million," Martino said.

He tried to negotiate settlements with his creditors. Two of them were willing to play ball.

"But there was one who I absolutely could not settle with. They wanted everything plus penalties, plus interest and I just didn't have it," Martino said.

Martino is now wondering what he is going to lose, including possibly the multi-million-dollar home he lives in.

"I live in a big house with my wife. My wife has owned that house from the beginning," he said.

Since the house is in his wife's name, he won't lose it. But he does own a home in Franktown that will likely be taken away.

"At one point it was worth $3.8 million," he said.

The man who spoke so highly about investing in real estate now says he will likely never invest in it again. Not after this.

"This real estate failure of mine had nothing to do with a lack of knowledge. It had to do with a recession, with reduced values and enclosed banks. The smartest people in the world can't avoid that," Martino said.

Martino makes an estimated $2.15 million a year. He says he will likely make it again this year, and that it won't be touched in the bankruptcy process.

In a Chapter 7 case, any money made after a filing usually isn't touched.

Martino says he has taken his experience to the airwaves and has been sharing it with his listeners.

Martino blogs about his bankruptcy experience at www.whyiwentbroke.com.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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