Feature photo: In 1996, the Albuquerque Journal published a story which contained allegations against Eric Martinez for trying to scam people in the boxing community (newspapers.com).
Part 2 of a series: Eric Martinez is a shameless self-promoter who bills himself as one of the top actors, entertainers, directors, activists and richest people in New Mexico. Countless others allege he is the top con-artist in New Mexico and the DreamHouse New Mexico Bowl is his latest victim.
Copyright Enchantment Sports/Tick Talk Productions, LLC
By Mark Smith
Editor in Chief
For now, DreamHouse is just that.
But still without house.
It did, however, find a home as the new title sponsor of the annual DreamHouse New Mexico Bowl.
Numerous people, however, call DreamHouse founder and CEO Eric Martinez a “scam artist,” and say they can’t see how the dream will ever become a reality.
“He talks the talk, but he never walks the walk,” said local filmmaker Tamas Nadas, a retired Albuquerque Police Department detective and three-time karate world champion. He hired Martinez to direct a film four years ago.
“He should be a salesperson. It’s amazing; he just talks and talks. But he’s incompetent in the film industry,” Nadas said.
While DreamHouse has a website, Enchantment Sports couldn’t verify if it has any offices or a business license.
In touting what DreamHouse does, its website does not mention that it has yet to break ground on what it calls a “multi-entity 25,000-square foot post-production studio” for the film industry.
The website lists Ian Stewart, a film editor and the son in law of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham — a major supporter of the state’s film industry — as the general manager of DreamHouse.
On Friday, the governor’s spokesman, Tripp Stelnicki, responded to an inquiry from Enchantment Sports about DreamHouse, Martinez and Stewart by email:
“Ian Stewart is not this Martinez’s partner or business collaborator or what have you. Ian doesn’t work for the company or have any connection to it or Martinez. Martinez mentioned the idea a while back to Ian as something he was working on, but Ian never agreed to contribute to the company or be part of it. So while they do know each other, calling them business “partners” here doesn’t reflect Ian’s lack of involvement with the company at all.”On Saturday, however, Stewart texted Enchantment Sports to say there were “discrepancies” in the statement.
“They had ask (sic) me if I work for DreamHouse, if I’m an employee, getting paid … which I’m not. They may have taken that as no involvement,” Stewart wrote in a text.
“It’s a company being formed that I was offered a position.”
Stewart also texted that “DreamHouse is adventure that I was offered to be a part of which is awaiting funding and I’m told should be secured shortly. I have been a part of discussions as it’s evolved.
“This is a personal venture and in no way included the governor or the governor’s office.”
Stewart said he had “no knowledge” of the numerous allegations about Martinez being a scam artist until they “were presented to me (Friday).”
Multiple people, however, said Stewart has worked with Martinez many times for at least four years and helped him make a director’s reel two year’s ago that is available on the Internet.
See the biographies of Martinez and Stewart here.
Stewart requested any further questions to be emailed to him, which Enchantment Sports did just before noon on Saturday. Among the questions were if Stewart has agreed to be a part of DreamHouse.
As of 2 a.m., on Monday, Stewart had yet to respond.
A news conference to announce DreamHouse as the new title sponsor of the bowl game was held Oct. 1 outside of the Aperture Center at Mesa del Sol, where the production studio is scheduled to be built.
In his background interview with Enchantment Sports on Oct. 5, Martinez said architects were currently making plans in the Aperture Center, and ground-breaking will start next month.
Marco Nunez, the leader of the local band The James Douglas Show, has known Martinez for a number of years. He is one of many who doubt Martinez’s project will become reality.
“I feel sorry for him,” Nunez said. “If he used his tenacity on doing the right thing he could be a good publicist or in the industry, but instead he lives a lie that he’s something big. He’s not a singer nor a legitimate actor.”
Martinez hasn’t responded to numerous requests from Enchantment Sports to be interviewed about the many allegations against him.
The DreamHouse website makes no mention of the Aperture Center, and refers to its company in the present tense.
A news release two weeks ago from the bowl’s publicist, James Hallinan, owner of Intersection Strategies, also made all references to DreamHouse in the present tense.
Intersection Strategies bills itself as a way to “Protect Your Brand” by dealing with crisis management, strategic communications and research.
On Saturday, Hallinan contacted Enchantment Sports to say that while he does public relations for the bowl game, he does not do them for DreamHouse.
Enchantment Sports asked Hallinan, that considering the vast number of allegations against Martinez — and Hallinan’s own claim of “Protect Your Brand” — if he felt he properly protected the bowl game’s brand.
“As a Hispanic, LGBTQ-owned business, I stand by the services I provide to my clients and my record of success speaks for itself,” Hallinan said by email.
Enchantment Sports responded that it “didn’t ask anything about race, sexual preferences or any success (Hallinan) might have had,” and again asked if he felt he properly protected the bowl’s brand.
Hallinan’s responded “that is a highly offensive response, “sexual preference” is inappropriate and neither professional nor ethical. And again, I am answering your question, but now my concerns grow about your potential agenda given your racial comment and offensive remark referring to me being a LGBTQ business owner. Again, here is my answer, attributable to me: “As a Hispanic, LGBTQ-owned business, I stand by the services I provide to my clients and my record of success speaks for itself.”
Enchantment Sports has never met, has no knowledge of and had ever heard of Hallinan before he took over public relations for the bowl game.
Playing the PC card with Enchantment Sports doesn’t cut it, and the wesbite called out Hallinan for doing so – and in such an unprofessional manner.
Hallinan never did answer if he felt he protected the bowl’s brand.
Jeff Siembieda, executive director of the DreamHouse New Mexico Bowl, and Clint Overby, vice president of ESPN Events, which owns the bowl, have not yet responded to questions Enchantment Sports emailed to them about Martinez on Friday.
Meanwhile, stories continue to pour into Enchantment Sports about Martinez and his alleged notorious behaviors — which apparently took root in the boxing community in the mid-1990s.
On April 14, 1996, the Albuquerque Journal published a feature called “Sucker Punches.” In it, former Journal sports writer Toby Smith details alleged scams that Martinez attempted.
There is a feature photo of Martinez punching a heavy bag with the caption “Punching bag of wind?”
The story said that Martinez, nicknamed G.G., boasted about having a 193-0 as an amateur boxer.
“For years, he told people he was going to the Olympics and tried to get money from them to support him,” local boxing writer and former Golden Gloves champion Andrew Rivera said on Sunday.
“People in the boxing community have been sick of this guy for many years. He’s a complete fraud.”
Rivera is also a contributor to Enchantment Sports.
Multiple people confirmed that the Eric Martinez in the Journal story is the same one who is CEO of DreamHouse, and say he never had a single bout in the ring.
In the 1996 Journal story, the late Sandy Pino, a former president of USA Boxing and the Amateur International Amateur Boxing Association, said Martinez is “always wearing USA Boxing clothes. But he doesn’t have a right to wear those clothes. He’s a wannabe who is hurting the sport locally.
The story also contained the following quotes about Martinez:
“He’s a show-off. He fights with his mouth. I’ve been in boxing 27 years and I’ve never seen him box for real or heard of him boxing. The worst thing, is he took money from kids in my gym and promised T-shirts for them and he never came back.” — Henry Anaya, Sr., trainer for Henry Anaya, Jr., and of the late world champion Johnny Tapia.
“I think G.G. needs help. He’s living a lie. He’s got a need to promote himself – and it’s almost suicidal.” – The late Jim Johnson, a youth boxing coach and trainer at San Jose Boxing.
In the story, Martinez said, “I had a lot of fights lined up, but I keep hurting my hand. I’m not a troublemaker, but I’ve gotten into bar fights and street scrapes and broke my hand.”
People in local boxing circles said Martinez disappeared from that scene years ago.
Then came Act II.
Next up: Enchantment Sports continues its series on Eric Martinez and the countless allegations against him in the world of entertainment
See Part 1 of our series on Eric Martinez and the DreamHouse New Mexico Bowl here.
Mark Smith has worked in New Mexico sports media for more than four decades, and is one of the most decorated sports journalists in state history. Smith has won more than 30 combined awards in print, television and radio and has been honored nationally for investigative reporting. He is the editor in chief of Enchantment Sports. Contact him at mark.enchantmentsportsNM@gmail.com.