PHOTO: Eric Martinez poses in front of the Aperture Center in Mesa del Sol, where he says his DreamHouse Productions will be located. But the floor he says he will occupy is empty, and numerous people say it’s another in his long lines of scams (Facebook).
PART 4 OF A SERIES: Enchantment Sports continues its investigative series on Eric Martinez, CEO of DreamHouse and the new title sponsor of the DreamHouse New Mexico Bowl. 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 ESPN Events-owned bowl game is his latest victim.
Copyright Enchantment Sports/Tick Talk Media Productions, LLC
By Mark Smith
Editor in Chief
Albuquerque’s boxing community thought it had long seen the last of alleged con man Eric Martinez, the current CEO of DreamHouse Productions and title sponsor of the DreamHouse New Mexico Bowl.
At least, that’s what it hoped.
“He had disappeared for a good 20 years,” says Andy Rivera, a former Golden Gloves champion and longtime boxing reporter in Albuquerque.
“We knew he had been scamming people in the entertainment world, saying he was a big-shot actor, and a director and singer. But at least he was out of boxing.”
In recent months, however, local pugilists were concerned that Martinez rang the bell for Round 2.
Martinez, who in the mid-1990s had allegedly scammed numerous youth boxers out of money with promises of selling them gear that never materialized, looked to be back in the ring.
Last month, he posted photos on social media, gloating about boxing equipment he received from adidas Boxing and TITLE Boxing.
Local boxing people took notice, and started to make others aware of Martinez, and his past behaviors.
“Here he is again,” said Rivera, who is also a contributor to Enchantment Sports. “We knew he had been showing up at gyms again, so we wanted people to be leery — especially the kids.”
Steve Garcia, owner of Power & Glory Gym, said he and local trainers and gym owners handed out fliers with Martinez’s picture warning “Be careful, he’s back at it again.”
Martinez has not responded to detailed questions from Enchantment Sports about the numerous allegations against him, nor have any of those who were listed as staff members on the DreamHouse site.
All names and biographies of Martinez and his staff were also taken off the DreamHouse website on Tuesday (Oct. 15) and had not been re-posted as of Oct. 20.
Jeff Siembieda, executive director of the DreamHouse New Mexico Bowl, Clint Overby, ESPN Events vice president, and the game’s publicist, James Hallinan, also have not responded to the allegations about Martinez.
ESPN Events owns the bowl game.
Last week, Anna Negron, senior publicist of ESPN, said the network was investigating the allegations. But she did not respond to the following questions, which were emailed multiple times:
- Do you expect DreamHouse to be the New Mexico Bowl sponsor when the game is held on Dec. 21?
- Has DreamHouse made any payment to the bowl as of this time, and is it required to make any other payment before the bowl is played?
Siembieda, Overby and Martinez have all refused to release financial details of the deal, other than to say it is for four years.
Nobody in the boxing community told Enchantment Sports they have had any recent issues with Martinez.
The same can’t be said for the entertainment industry.
Numerous people say Martinez is the most notorious person in the industry in Albuquerque.
A picture is worth a thousand laughs
At least a dozen people interviewed for this story said Martinez uses Photoshop to insert himself into posters and fliers in various walks of life, in attempts to con people out of money.
They say he promises to get people in on the ground floor of major film and/or music projects, but the projects never materialize.
“Eric Martinez is a joke — just not a funny one,” says Steven Michael Quezada, a longtime stand-up comedian, as well as a highly regarded local actor, a screenwriter and a Bernalillo County commissioner.
“I blocked him from all my social media. He was starting to use my name. He tries to use everybody.
“He claims to be this big-time actor and all these things, but he sucks at acting. The only thing he’s good at is being a con artist. He’s great at that.”
Quezada, like nearly everyone contacted by Enchantment Sports, laughed when first being asked if he knew Eric Martinez.
Local filmmaker Tamas Nadas, a retired Albuquerque Police Department detective and former karate world champion, chuckled a few times talking about Martinez’s claims of greatness.
“I heard Eric photoshops himself in all these different places with different people to make himself look like he’s famous,” Nadas said. “I even looked up a real poster, and it was different (than one Martinez posted on the Internet).
“Eric wasn’t on it. The concept was the same, it was just without Eric, and the main color was dark red instead of brown.”
Below on the left is a poster from the movie “Jason’s Letter.” Eric Martinez is not pictured or mentioned. On the right, is a photo Martinez posted on social media about the same movie. Martinez is in that picture and getting top billing in the apparent Photoshop.
Nadas, however, said financial scams are no laughing matter, and Martinez uses the Photoshopped pictures to deceive people.
“He tells people about these big projects he’s doing: movies, magazines and other things,” Nadas says. “He gets people to give him money as investors, but he either never does the projects or doesn’t pay crew and keeps the money.”
Nadas said he hired Martinez to direct a short film called, “Busy Day,” but the film was so awful “I never was able to distribute it or enter any film festivals with it.”
Nadas said he paid Martinez for work he never did, and “because of him I lost about $25,000 on that project.”
Nadas said he met film editor Ian Stewart through Martinez, and hired Stewart for the same film.
“Ian is very talented,” Nadas said. “However, Ian cost me a lot more than what Eric promised me. Eric told Ian my short film was going to be a trailer. Well, it was about 25 minutes long.
“When I met Ian, he told me the price Eric gave was wrong. I had no choice but to pay it. This wasn’t Ian’s fault, though. Ian did everything he could to save the project. Ian also worked on my feature film a few years ago.”
Before the DreamHouse biographies were taken down, Stewart was listed as the company’s general manager.
Stewart, who is Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s son-in-law, has not responded to questions about his working relationship with Martinez.
This week, Nolan Rudi, a local camera operator in the film industry, contacted Enchantment Sports to say “Ian Stewart is a reputable person. I’ve worked with him for over 10 years and he has always been honest and fair.
“Ian and I work together on a reality/documentary series titled ‘Street Vet,’ about the homeless in California with pets.”
But there are many questions about who is involved with DreamHouse, and if it ever will exist.
Records show that DreamHouse applied for an LLC on March 1, using an address in northwest Albuquerque with the address on Cactus Trail Road. A website search shows that address is a residence.
But DreamHouse has to break ground on what it claims will be a 25,000-square foot “post production entity” in the Aperture Center in Mesa del Sol, where the Oct. 1, news conference was held.
It is where Martinez and bowl executives said the company will be located.
Martinez has not said who his financial backers are.
Not one person has contacted Enchantment Sports to say they are such a backer — or even a supporter of Martinez — but no fewer than 20 have contacted the website to provide their tales of woe against the self-proclaimed star.
NEXT: Multiple Martinez bios boast of his singing fame, including a performance on Showtime, and he talks about his friendship with boxing great Johnny Tapia. Don’t buy either tale, says Teresa Tapia.
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.