From the week of November 6, 2008
Well, there's a chill in the air, which means its time for the annual Tom Martino-bashing at Westword.
I read Jared Jacang Maher's article about Mr. Martino's involvement with the project at Park Avenue West and Glenarm. As far as I can tell, he is a passive investor. Not the guy in charge, but not as removed as, say, a stockholder.
What I glean from the article, though, is that he is at least partly responsible for the homeless and drug problem in the neighborhood. To drive the point home, Jacang Maher quotes a vagabond that Mr. Martino "doesn't give a crap about the property." I'm not a journalist, but if you can't trust a vagrant for a good quote, who can you trust?
And after the doors were kicked in, Mr. Martino's partner replaced them, but the site was broken into again. Was Mr. Martino supposed to stand guard at the site? Please.
As expected with any article about Mr. Martino, the author must drag out that old beat-up piñata, the Troubleshooter Network. Having been on the thing for the last few years, I can tell you from experience — each time I am remotely rude or curt with someone who calls me off the list for free legal advice, which is often — I can always count on a call from Mike Bassett wanting my side of the story. When it comes to follow-through on complaints, Martino's staff is like white on rice.
Don't get me wrong — I dig Westword for its muckraking. But why does one muckraker go after another? Are there not better targets out there for your weekly ire?
As to Mr. Martino and ParkAvenue West, it reminds me of the old Charlie Brown story: If the project had gone well and the area had been cleaned up, Mr. Martino would be the hero. Without getting financing for the project, he is some sort of pariah.
As the critics of W. R. Hearst used to say, the article is long on sparkle but short on facts.
Stephen E. Berken
Thank you for your incredibly candid article on the bum condos owned by Tom Martino. Ironically, I submitted my complaint to the city not a week before about the property at 500 Park Avenue West.
My husband and I moved to San Rafael a year ago and have waited, to no avail, for something to happen with these properties. We've watched them turn into homeless and vagrant sleeping and living quarters and have become very discouraged at the complete lack of regard that everyone, including the city and the police, have shown. It's horrid.
I am so happy that someone took the time to investigate this and expose Tom Martino and his "crew" for what they have allowed to happen in their properties, and what they have allowed them to become. I appreciate everything you wrote and your hard (nasty) investigative work. It's truly a job well done. This is the last neighborhood in the city that is turning around, and as long as people like you continue your work, we'll make it happen sooner rather than later.
True thanks from me, my husband and the neighborhood as a whole. Here's to fixing what you've exposed!
Tom Martino is inarguably an unethical sleazebag, but he's right when he says the mortgage and foreclosure "crises" have been escalated by media hysterics. Any crack investigative reporter able to find his own ass with both hands could also find data showing that until late 2007, the national foreclosure rate was about what it is every year and that Colorado's foreclosure rate has been relatively low throughout the "crisis."
Moreover, even an unethical arrogant jerk like Marino is not required to turn his vacant properties into Fort Knox to keep drunks, druggies and other assorted scum out. And just because he's successful, Martino is not somehow obligated to look after the welfare of those who break into his vacant properties regardless of whether stupid Americans outnumbered smart ones at the polls this week. Maybe Denver authorities should do their job and round up those squatting — sometimes quite literally — on Martino's vacant property and give them all the three-hots-and-a-cot these criminal trespassers deserve?
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