Gadfly has colorful past in politics and in court
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Andy Martin, a.k.a. Anthony Martin-Trigona, is a legend in his own mind.
He is a self-proclaimed "corruption fighter," ''Internet powerhouse" and "Republican foreign policy expert."
Martin is not a lawyer but he is a serial litigator — a "notoriously vexatious and vindictive" one, in the words of one federal appeals court opinion.
He is currently trying to get a New Hampshire judge to undo the sale of The Balsams grand hotel and appoint a receiver to reopen it immediately. He has volunteered his services to be that receiver.
The 66-year-old Martin has twice run for president of the United States and earlier this month apologized to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for not endorsing him sooner.
Martin says his lawsuit in Honolulu instigated the "birther movement" that challenges the validity of President Barack Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate and background. He says he plans to return to Hawaii later this month for further investigation.
"He's the greatest snake oil salesman in history," Martin said of Obama during a 90-minute interview with The Associated Press last week. He is executive director of the anti-Obama website committeeofonemilliontodefeatbarackobama.com.
Martin graduated from the University of Illinois Law School in 1973 but was denied admission to the bar because he "lacks the qualities of responsibility, candor, fairness, self-restraint, objectivity and respect for the judicial system," according to one federal court ruling.
The Chicago Tribune, in a profile of Martin three years ago, said the Illinois Supreme Court — in denying his admission to the bar — also cited a Selective Service report that stated Martin has a "moderately severe character defect manifested by well-documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and grandiose character." That profile was triggered by a radio ad by Martin — then running in Illinois for U.S. Senate — in which Martin said he had it on "solid rumor" that his opponent was gay.
Martin says he was denied admission to the bar because he helped research details of a scandal that rocked the court.
His history of filing lawsuits — some laced with anti-Semitic vitriol — goes back decades.
In Connecticut in 1984, U.S. District Court Judge Jose Cabranes issued an order barring Martin from filing any more lawsuits. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals — which covers Connecticut, Vermont and New York — upheld the order, calling Martin "perhaps the most prolific litigator in this circuit's history."
Years later, when Cabranes was divorcing his first wife, Martin filed a motion to be appointed guardian of the couple's two children.
Martin last week dismissed the numerous federal court opinions critical of his vexatious litigation, saying, "If one judge tells a lie, the others like to pig-pile."
"I've filed hundreds, if not thousands, of cases," Martin said. "Sometimes you have to be abrasive."
Martin said The Balsams lawsuit is "about rich people preying on poor people" and that he is fighting to restore the approximately 300 jobs lost when the hotel, where the first-in-the-nation presidential primary ballots have been cast for 50 years, closed in September 2011. He claims New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney's review of the sale by a charitable trust established by the hotel's original owner was cursory and corrupt.
"There's a new sheriff in town, and this sheriff knows how to follow the bad guys," Martin told the AP.
Lawyers for the new owners of The Balsams challenged Martin's standing to bring the lawsuit, maintaining he isn't even a New Hampshire resident and that his only contact with the hotel was having dinner there one night last year.
Martin says he lives in Manchester, N.H., but declined to give an address, saying the people he is dealing with "have a lot at stake." In a notice to the judge filed Tuesday, Martin offered to give tours of his Manchester "man cave" to quell "obsession" by the media and opposing counsel about his domicile.
He was vague about his income, saying he makes money from consulting and writing and alluded to family money.
Martin eschews the label "gadfly" as being frivolous.
"I'm a heavy duty litigator," he said.