Tom Martino's Westword interview: Mistakes, non-violence and dirty laundry
Update: Yesterday, we reported about Troubleshooter Tom Martino pleading guilty to disturbing the peace for a domestic incident involving his wife, Holly, last December; see our previous coverage below.
Tom Martino as seen in a 2010 video. More photos below.
After the piece was published, Martino conducted a wide-ranging interview with Westword, going into more detail than ever before about the aforementioned argument with Holly, as well as a slew of previous happenings -- some hinted at in public, many not. Along the way, he attempts to set the record straight on what he sees as mistakes he's made, his non-violent nature, his media persona and piles of dirty laundry.
Note at the outset that we've reached out to Holly Martino, from whom Tom is currently seeking a divorce, in order to get her side of the story. At this writing, she has not responded to our interview requests. When and if she gets back to us, we'll share her take in this space.
It's also important to point out that Martino disagrees with any characterization of his decision to plead guilty as a deal. In his view, that implies he entered the plea in exchange for something.
A photo of Holly Martino on the links, from her Facebook page.
"Here are the facts," he says. "There were two charges: disturbing the peace and assault. And they dropped the assault charge, because I never assaulted her. But I pleaded to disturbing the peace, because it was just and true. I disturbed her peace."
Regarding the specifics of what happened in December, here's an excerpt from the Denver Police Department report:
On 12-20-13 around 2315 hours, in the area of Auraria Pkway and I-25, the suspect, Martino, Thomas 09-4-53, was driving...with the victim, Martino, Holly...sitting in the right front passenger seat. The suspect and the victim began arguing. While the vehicle was stopped at a unknown red light the victim opened the passenger door to get out of the vehicle. The suspect put his arm around the victim preventing her from exiting the vehicle. When the light turned green the suspect drove away and they continued arguing. The suspect then struck the victim in the face once with a closed fist causing a bloody nose. This disturbed the peace of the victim.Martino's version of what he characterizes as a "foolish, stupid argument that should not have taken place" is considerably different.
Holly "was very intoxicated -- like, four or five times the legal limit -- and very agitated. I should have put her in a car and sent her home. I was stupid for trying to calm her down. But I never struck her. If you look at the police reports from that night, I never said I struck her, and she never said it, either."
"I was struggling for a cell phone," he explains. "She was texting my producer, Mike [Bassett]. She was firing him, and it was Christmastime. When she gets drunk, she starts getting agitated, and she was angry: She hates Mike and said, 'I'm going to fire him.' And I said, 'You're not going to fire anyone at Christmas -- and besides, I'm off for ten days and he's filling in for me. We'll handle things after the first of the year.'"
He did: Bassett is no longer a Martino employee. But back to the story:
"When she started texting, I grabbed the phone and got it away from her," Martino continues. "But she bit my hand and I reacted by pulling my hand away and she got a bloody nose. It went away when we home, but on the way, she kept grabbing for the wheel and trying to pull us over -- and then she opened the car door and tried to jump out of a moving car. And I was grabbing her to keep her in the car. So yes, we were fighting, but I never intended to hurt her, nor did I ever punch her in the face.
Martino speaking at an Ohio Center for Broadcasting graduation in 2010.
"When we got into our subdivision, she was so drunk, she started telling me she loves me -- but when we pulled into the house, she said, 'I'm going to ruin you. I'm going to let everyone know what you did and I'm going to ruin you.' And I said, 'Holly, if you really feel in danger, you should call someone. But nothing is going on. Let's go to sleep and we'll talk about it in the morning.'"
Instead, Martino goes on, "she called 911 and hung up -- but they called back. She told them nothing was wrong, but the guy said, 'I don't believe you,' and a cop showed up."
Continue for more of our interview with Tom Martino, followed by our previous coverage of his disturbing-the-peace guilty plea.