In a 10-page ruling, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael Romero dismissed Troubleshooter Tom Martino’s complaint against the trustee over his case, finding little or no merit to a variety of issues the radio personality raised.
Romero’s decision to dismiss the case, rendered last week, puts the 8-month-old bankruptcy back on track after it stalled while Martino’s assertions that Trustee Simon Rodriguez was man-handling the matter were heard.
Martino has said all he wanted was for the case to be handled properly, which didn’t include Rodriguez spending so much time (and estate funds) digging into the troubleshooter’s finances and sifting through allegations Martino had shifted assets to his wife, Holly, in order to avoid seizure. Those allegations came from International Bank, one of several multi-million-dollar creditors who said Martino defaulted on personal guarantees for real estate development loans. Martino has denied the allegations vociferously.
“The case is much more complex than the average individual Chapter 7,” Romero wrote in his opinion.
Martino has simply wanted to “get on with my life,” not unlike others who file for personal bankruptcy. Rodriguez argued that Martino was trying to control how the bankruptcy was handled, a process better suited for a Chapter 11 case, where the debtor is able to work directly with creditors and the court. In a Chapter 7, a trustee is named and the case administered through them.
Too, Martino said he challenged Rodriguez’s handling of his case because media coverage was extensive, along with allegations of wrongdoing that Martino said mired “his good name.”
Worth noting in Romero’s decision is that Martino has “agreed to turn over” his share of his income tax refund from last year: about $300,000.
“So far, I’ve paid in more than $1 million,” Martino writes in an email to me. “That includes my tax refund that they already have gotten.”
Martino said other lawsuits he’s filed in the case, each challenging the validity of a claim made by a creditor, are expected to be dismissed or withdrawn.