Tom Martino responds to lawsuit by ex-friend he calls a "waste of skin"
After Troubleshooter Tom Martino's bankruptcy became a mainstream media story this past September, he pointed out that he had already spoken about his financial woes on his KHOW radio program.
Now, he's engaged in similar self-disclosure regarding a lawsuit filed against him by Sheldon Chrysler, a former friend who he excoriates in vivid e-mails on view below.
Chrysler and his twin brother, Barry, were the subjects of "Returning From Parts Unknown," a 1994 Westword feature article. The piece focused on Everett Francis Wann, who stole airline parts the brothers unwittingly resold through a business they operated. They cooperated with an FBI investigation that resulted in Wann's conviction, but wound up losing an estimated $667,000 in the process.
From Sheldon Chrysler's book.
Barry's subsequent death was devastating for Chrysler, as he describes on the author page for Life After Death of My Twin and Their FBI Story, a book he wrote. As he notes, he suffered from depression.
Over the years, Chrysler has also developed something of an obsession with Martino, as I've discovered during phone conversations with him over a multi-year period. He blames the consumer advocate for problems associated with a loan that involved Chris Kane, a former Martino cohort who went on to found the CBS4 program Haystack Colorado. At this writing, Kane has not yet responded to a request for comment on Chrysler.
None of these chats led to any items in Westword about Chrysler's Martino-related complaints. But then, last week, Chrysler filed a lawsuit against Martino in relation to what he termed harassing phone calls and e-mails over a period of years. Here's one example, from May 2009:
By the way. Fuck you for believing a piece of shit over a friend of 20 years. It is no wonder you ruined your relationship with your twin. Don't blame Ron. It was all you. You are a negative failure and should deal with it.
Even more vivid is this Martino-composed missive from October 2011:
I regret ever knowing you. You are a two-faced piece of shit.
I found out that you continue to perpetrate your lies about me being the "master-mind" behind that loan you got with Chris Kane. You even tries to get me in trouble with the US Department of Justice during my bankruptcy.
What a pitiful sorry pieve of shit you are.
You are a lonely, nasty, grumpy excuse for a human and a waste of skin.
I am sorry you got involved with Kane and it resulted in you losing your building. But I had nothing to do with it. How dare you try to ruin me and my family. But you will not prevail. I have never lied to you or anyone. I live my life by that code.
I have helped countless people -- including you. Or do you forget the loans I made you? Did you forget the $3,000 I GAVE you?
Your entire life has been living off of others. You think you have helped so many people and that you are selfless. But you are a sorry piece of shit.
I never want to see or hear from you again. My wife and I were shocked that you would try to ruin us in our darkest hour. But it during times like this that you get to know who your real friends are.
You are not my friend. And you are not a fried to anyone.
You are a bitter, selfish, evil person to the core.
That is why your brother died hating you. That is why everyone talks behind your back and know what a dirt bag you are.
I WAS your friend. Thank God I found out what you sare really made of -- shit -- to the core. I hope I never see you face to face. You won't like the results.
Nasty stuff -- but there would likely have been no reason to share this correspondence publicly had Martino not decided to blog about the suit in "The Truth About Sheldon Chrysler," posted Friday on his Troubleshooter.com website.
In his screed, Martino stresses that the communication about which Chrysler complains was private in nature -- a very good point that could well doom the suit's chances for success. (After all, there's no law against saying mean things.) Along the way, he offers a pitiable character sketch of Chrysler, whom he accuses of having virtually stalked him.
Would Chrysler's suit have risen to the status of a story had Martino not laid out this material in such a vivid way? Well, 9News, the one news operation to pick up on the tale thus far, didn't address the topic until after the appearance of Martino's essay, which essentially invited greater scrutiny to what otherwise might have remained a personal squabble.
When contacted yesterday, Martino requested that we use his writings as a response to Chrysler's gripes. It's on view in its entirety, immediately following the lawsuit.
THE TRUTH ABOUT SHELDON CHRYSLER
Friday, March 09, 2012
By now you may of heard that Sheldon Chrysler is suing me for "inflicting emotion distress" on him. In fact, he wrote a "news release" about it and delivered it to all the major media outlets in Denver. He is taking this action because I sent him scathing e-mails. And by the way, I do not regret the e-mails I sent him. In fact, under the same circumstances, I'd probably do it again. But the story between Sheldon and me goes much deeper than e-mails. The story between Sheldon and me is about a friend (me) who tried to help someone (Sheldon) over a 30-year period and was ultimately "thrown under the bus."
First there is the issue of "free speech." My e-mails to him were private. I wrote them in anger. Have you ever been angry with a friend? Have you ever had harsh words for each other? Well, Sheldon would have you believe that he deserves monetary damages for my opinions. That is a frightening thought. Can you imagine how many lawsuits there would be clogging the courts if Sheldon had his way?
This was a private argument.
But since Mr. Chrysler has made our dispute public, I feel compelled to tell the whole story.
I first met Sheldon Chrysler around 30-years ago through his brother Barry. Barry was a pilot and we did some business together buying and selling aircraft parts.
At the time I met Sheldon he was unemployed. In fact he has been unemployed most of the 30-years I knew him. He lived with his parents until they died, then he lived alone while his brother Barry helped support him. Many years ago his brother grew tired of helping Sheldon. Barry told me on more than one occasion that he wished Sheldon would take care of himself. This friction eventually erupted into a full-scale family feud and Barry disowned his brother. He told me he wanted nothing more to do with him.
Tragically, that dispute, that rift, that chasm lasted until Barry passed away suddenly from a heart attack. Sheldon could not forgive himself. He often spoke about his brother. In fact, if you met Sheldon for the first time, within minutes you would hear the story of love and lament over and over again. It was obvious he that Barry died while they were still estranged. Sheldon's grief lead him to write a book about their life together as twins.
During the time I've known Sheldon he hardly ever worked. He blamed everyone else for his problems. And when he did find a job, he did not keep it for long. I tried to help him through the years by paying for his counseling (I actually sent him to my psychiatrist) and I gave him thousands of dollars along the way.
By the way, I am not the only one who gave him or loaned him money. Through the years many of his friends did the same thing. Why? Because we felt sorry for him. He seemed like a lonely soul. He seemed perpetually unhappy.
But Sheldon had a dark side....a side that blamed others for his trouble. He would often tell me that he resented people with money because they never helped others. He would often complain that his friends were not helping him enough. Sometimes he would become bitter about it. Often I had to remind him that no one owed him anything. I would try to encourage him to stand on his own two feet and tackle life head on.
A common theme in our friendship was Sheldon feeling down and I trying to encourage him. Sheldon was a frequent visitor in our home and we tried to include him in holiday celebrations when we knew he would otherwise be alone.
One of the biggest rifts we had was when I told him he was headed for financial disaster. You see, he inherited his home, his brother's home and a commercial building by his family. And over the years he took out loans on those properties to live on. Then when the loans were coming due, he'd refinance them to pay off the old loans and pull out more cash.
I told him this trend would eventually lead to him losing everything. I told him that he couldn't just keep borrowing on equity because the equity eventually runs out. Unfortunately, he did not listen.
In a desperate attempt to keep his commercial building he entered into a very high-interest, predatory loan. I warned him not to do it. Unfortunately, that was the last loan he would take on that building. He was unable to pay the loan back and he lost the building. He is also losing his brother's home and the home he lives in. He hasn't made payments in years.
Shortly after losing his building, things got really strange between us. For some reason Sheldon started fixating on me and blaming me for his financial trouble. He said I had money and could've prevented his financial ruin. He almost stalked me...e-mailing and calling daily complaining that I am not helping him. I even started hearing from friends and neighbors who told me he was saying bad things about me.
Then one day last year, Sheldon called me to say he was going to go public and he was going to expose me. He wanted me to pay him $150,000, or he said he would ruin me. That's when I told him to leave me alone. I told him I never wanted to hear from him again...and I did it in very colorful language.
In a last ditch effort to further cause me damage he continually called the Trustee in my bankruptcy case to say that he wanted to expose me for fraud. The trustee told me about the calls and said he concluded that there was no merit to his claims.
That is when I lost it! I could not believe that he could be so vindictive to someone that has helped him so much through the years. Once again, I wrote to him to tell him to stay out of my life and once again it was in very colorful language. Obviously, the e-mails were meant to be private. Our dispute was meant to be private. I simply wanted him to leave my family and me alone!
Now I find he is suing me. In his lawsuit he blames me for his unemployment and his isolation. Yet, he has not worked a steady job in nearly 30-years. He blames me for his pitiful life. And he personally delivered the accusations to all of the Denver media outlets. By the way, I am not the only person Sheldon Chrysler has sued. He has sued his own family members and he has sued others for perceived wrongs. I truly pity Sheldon Chrysler. But I am not the source of his woes.
I wish he had kept our dispute private.
Follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.
More from our Media archive: "Tom Martino archive: The top 10 Westword reports on bankrupt Troubleshooter (VIDEO)."
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Denver, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.