Alex Constantine - November 5, 2007
Despite the vigorous pursuit of marijuana and cocaine profits, etc., according to court records, Thompson's fund-raiser has SERVED NO TIME. Do political connections explain this? From the Washington Post:
" ... Martin entered a plea of guilty to the sale of 11 pounds of marijuana in 1979; the court withheld judgment pending completion of his probation. He was charged in 1983 with violating his probation and with multiple counts of felony bookmaking, cocaine trafficking and conspiracy. He pleaded no contest to the cocaine-trafficking and conspiracy charges, which stemmed from a plan to sell $30,000 worth of the drug, and was continued on probation.
"Thompson's campaign said the candidate was not aware of the multiple criminal cases, for which Martin SERVED NO JAIL TIME. All are described in public court records. ... "
By BRIAN ROSS, ASA ESLOCKER and JUSTIN ROOD
ABC News/November 5, 2007
"I know Phil is a good man. He is my friend. He is going to remain my friend," said Thompson. Referring to Martin's criminal past, Thompson said he would not "throw my friend under the bus for something he did 25 years ago if he's okay now."
"On the other hand, I'm running for president," Thompson said. "I've got to do the right thing. Problems occur. I'll just have to figure it out."
Records show Martin had one IRS lien filed against him in 1995, and the state of Tennessee filed three against him in 2002. A clerk confirmed that those state tax liens have been satisfied. An IRS spokesman said privacy laws prohibited him from discussing whether Martin had repaid his debt to the federal government.
As of November, Hamilton County, Tenn. records show that four of Martin's former businesses owe a total of more than $940,000 in overdue taxes and interest to the county, with some debts dating back to 1999. Nearly $860,000 is owed by Soil Restoration, a firm Martin helped run, according to the Washington Post. Four Seasons Technologies, of which Martin was a vice chairman and part owner, owes $4,200. M & M Holdings, which the Washington Post confirmed Sunday was a Martin concern, owes more than $7,000. Alternative Fuels, LLC, a Martin business located at the same address and suite number as Four Seasons, owes more than $71,000.
More than a dozen states have also filed dozens of liens against Martin's former businesses.
As the storm of controversy gathers around him, Martin has a comfortable port in which to hunker down. In 2005, the businessman paid $2.4 million for a 7,600-square-foot mansion on Ono Island, in the Gulf Shore region of Alabama, real estate records show.
The five-bedroom, six-bathroom home features its own private beach and dock, a conference room, a wine room, a "spacious game/exercise area," an outdoor pool and an original Salvador Dali hanging above the entryway, according to 2006 profile of the home in Pensacola Home and Garden magazine.
Business associates are always very impressed by the home, Martin told the magazine.
"They get to take the elevator to the meeting room," which holds up to a dozen people, the magazine quoted Martin as saying. The house "suits my larger-than-life personality," Martin reportedly joked with the article's author.
The Internal Revenue Service has filed liens totaling roughly $250,000 against Martin's former businesses, according to public records, and state and local tax authorities from Kentucky, Texas, South Carolina, Ohio and elsewhere have filed liens against Martin or his former businesses for over $50,000 more.
Martin's criminal history grabbed headlines Sunday. Police files show Martin was convicted of or pleaded guilty to multiple felonies in the 1970s and 80s and started and folded dozens of businesses in the 1990s.
In recent years, Martin has also faced roughly a dozen lawsuits from furious investors who say they were burned in his failed ventures and are owed millions.
Martin's lawyer, John P. Konvalinka, told the Washington Post recently that "for a man engaged in 1,000 transactions a year, he doesn't have near the amount of litigation that some of my clients do."
Kate McCarthy contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures
'Wash Post': Fred Thompson Flying High With Convicted Drug Dealer
By E&P Staff
Published: November 04, 2007 12:15 AM ET
NEW YORK In a front-page report on Sunday for The Washington Post, Matthew Mosk reveals that one of the closest campaign associates of GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson is a businessman who has a criminal record for drug dealing.
Philip Martin is one of four campaign co-chairmen.
"Thompson's frequent flights aboard Martin's twin-engine Cessna 560 Citation have saved him more than $100,000, because until the law changed in September, campaign-finance rules allowed presidential candidates to reimburse private jet owners for just a fraction of the true cost of flights," Mosk details.
"Martin entered a plea of guilty to the sale of 11 pounds of marijuana in 1979; the court withheld judgment pending completion of his probation. He was charged in 1983 with violating his probation and with multiple counts of felony bookmaking, cocaine trafficking and conspiracy. He pleaded no contest to the cocaine-trafficking and conspiracy charges, which stemmed from a plan to sell $30,000 worth of the drug, and was continued on probation.
"Thompson's campaign said the candidate was not aware of the multiple criminal cases, for which Martin served no jail time. All are described in public court records."
The full article is at www.washingtonpost.com.