Brad Martin, the former Tecumseh superintendent convicted of stealing more than $40,000 during his tenure to feed a gambling addiction, is facing his demons now that he’s out of jail, is trying to make amends with his family and wants to help others locked in the throes of addiction.
Released from the Clark County Jail on Tuesday after serving six months, Martin and his wife agreed to an exclusive interview with News Center 7’s Kate Bartley late Thursday afternoon. His comments are the first he’s made publicly since his release.
“I truly am sorry,” he said from the Martin home. “I can’t say it enough. I will do whatever I have to do, until the day the good Lord asks me to come see him, to make that up to people. I can’t erase my past, but I can bring a better future and I can be a better person now.”
Martin in 2015 admitted to spending more than 300 hours at casinos when he was supposed to be at work, falsifying mileage reports, sick leave and personal leave requests, forging checks, taking cash and deceiving the school district out of thousands of dollars over a two-year period.
He was sentenced last August to the six months, with five years of probation and restitution added.
Martin told Bartley has done everything Judge Richard O’Neill asked him to do — including repaying more than $44,000 from his state retirement fund and more than $9,000 to cover the cost of a special audit prosecutors ordered for the criminal case.
“I want the public to understand, as much as I bled red and black, I would never do anything to hurt this district,” he said. “That was the pinnacle of my life — to be the Tecumseh superintendent. So there had to be something stronger, to leave my wife and my kids and do that to the district.”
Martin said his descent began with a few trips to a casino in Indiana with his wife.
“I started going whenever I was in Cincinnati and the Hollywood casino in Columbus opened up in 2012, I believe, and that was easy access. When I went from assistant superintendent to superintendent, it put me in Columbus even more, so I just kept going” to casinos, he said.
Martin said that part of it was “just the attraction of chasing that mad money and then I just could not stop.
“I could put 20, 22 hours [in] without stopping.”
Always video slot machines. Never cards, never sports betting, he said.
“Everything in the world is shut down, except for me and that machine. It was the greatest time in my life. But at that time in my life, it was like the slot machine was my mistress.”
Martin said he did more of cheating the community on his services at work than physically taking the funds, which he said was for paying his bills because he spent all of his personal money gambling.
“It doesn’t matter if I took one cent or two thousand, it’s still wrong. I mean, I don’t have an excuse for it.”
Jessica, his wife, knew nothing, he said. He stacked lie upon lie, like casino chips, to keep the truth from her and their two sons.
“How did you not know? That’s a pretty good question,” Jessica Martin said, because I think he worked very hard to make sure I didn’t know. And when you’re addicted to something, that’s what you do, you cover it up at all costs.
“I know everyone else is thinking the same thing — you lived in the house, how did you not know? But you don’t know because the lies make sense.”
She said she has gotten over her anger and believes her husband deserved the chance to try and get better.
Martin said he wants to help others fight addiction.
People don’t understand how many chances there are to gamble, he said.
“If you have the urge where you can’t stop, that’s a problem,” he said. “I could not stop, no matter what anybody said to me. Something had to happen, the wheels had to fall off the bus.
“If I save one life, then I feel like my case was worth it.”
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