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House District 48: Morales Exposes Republican Candidate Jesus Martinez’s Bankruptcy, Millions in Foreclosures, and Failed Businesses

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – The Daisy Morales campaign announced in a recent press release it has learned that Morales’s Republican opponent in the Florida House District 48 race, Jesus Martinez, whose campaign website bills him as a “respectable real estate broker” and states that “he has used his credentials to serve hundreds of families with housing, mortgage lending and credit issues,” has himself been struggling to stay out of debt, facing bankruptcy, nearly three million in foreclosures, and at least six failed businesses.

“Mr. Martinez escaped vetting by Republicans in the Florida House District 48 race because he didn’t have a primary Republican opponent available to check his past,” said Morales. “He got little attention from the news media because all eyes were on the Democratic primary candidates.

“It appears Mr. Martinez was hoping his troubled financial past would remain under the public radar by having his candidacy for the general election validated with the Orlando Sentinel’s endorsement.

“Our campaign believes the news media were so impressed with Mr. Martinez’s charisma, and the fact that he’s a fellow media personality appears to have given him a pass from being vetted.”

On the other hand, the Sentinel’s South Florida sister publication, the Sun-Sentinel, leaves no stone unturned in its candidate questionnaire. The Sun-Sentinel not only questions candidates about their campaign platform, but about any criminal and court history as well:

  • Arrests, charges or convictions
  • Withheld adjudication, sealed or expunged records
  • Being a plaintiff or a defendant in a civil action, including bankruptcy or foreclosure, or had a restraining order issued against them

In the summer, Florida Senate District 35 Democratic primary candidate Daphne Campbell got into hot water when she answered “No” about being a plaintiff or defendant in any civil action, despite public court records about multiple foreclosures. Research is paramount.

“However, our campaign saw serious red flags in the information Mr. Martinez listed on his campaign website, which required review:

  • He held a law degree, worked seven years with law firms on civil cases, real estate, family, meditations, bankruptcy, and immigration, but had no law license from the Florida bar
  • He worked in the real estate and mortgage lending business for nearly 21 years, he held an active real estate broker license, but never mentioned being a former mortgage broker
  • He claimed his work was pivotal during the 2008 mortgage crisis and helped families looking to avoid foreclosure
  • It appears he added his wife’s background to help his campaign’s image

“Lawmakers are expected to balance the state’s budget in Tallahassee and bring funding back to their district,” Morales expressed. “Fiscal responsibility and accountability are at the heart of the Republican agenda. A state lawmaker must have sound financial judgment, and we’ve discovered that Mr. Martinez clearly doesn’t.”

Martinez’s Six Failed Businesses

Florida National News verified that according to the Florida Division of Corporations, Mr. Martinez was listed as the registered agent, manager, or an authorized person for six failed businesses since 2004.

1st Capital Lending Group Corp.
Filed September 17, 2004 – March 14, 2008 (voluntary dissolution)
Business address: 8010 Sunport Drive, Suite 120, Orlando, FL 32809
Mortgage agency license: February 21, 2005 – August 31, 2008
Mortgage broker license: April 1, 2002 – August 31, 2009 (license expiration effective date October 6, 2010)
Note: According to the Florida Office of Financial Regulations, Mr. Martinez is no longer a mortgage broker.

Home Solutions Real Estate Inc.
Filed September 17, 2004 – September 26, 2008 (administrative dissolution)
Business address: 8010 Sunport Drive, Suite 120, Orlando, FL 32809

J & L Investment Group, LLC
Filed July 14, 2006 – September 26, 2008  (administrative dissolution)
Located at Martinez’s home address: 9977 Oak Quarry Drive, Orlando, FL 32832

Capital Title and Trust Corp.
Filed November 15, 2006 – March 14, 2008 (voluntary dissolution)
Business address: 8010 Sunport Drive, Suite 120, Orlando, FL 32809

Mejorate Group LLC
Filed October 11, 2007 – September 26, 2008 (administrative dissolution)
Business address: 5448 Hoffner Ave. Suite 104, Orlando, FL 32812

Credit & Consumer Advocates LLC (listed as an authorized person)
Filed March 27, 2017 – September 28, 2018 (administrative dissolution)
Business address: 1038 S. Semoran Blvd. 2-1031 Winter Park, FL 32792

Mr. Martinez’s currently active company, Maximus PR & Communications LLC, was filed on August 31 of this year, located at 4555 Hoffner Avenue, Orlando, FL 32812.

Nearly $3 Million in Foreclosures and Bankruptcy

On or about March 11, 2008, Old San Juan Group, LLC leased 7229 E. Colonial Dr. in Orlando, Florida (32807), but court records revealed that Irma Enterprises, Inc. sued Mr. Martinez, seeking approximately $318,500 in damages due to a lease breach.

Florida Division of Corporations records indicate that Mr. Martinez’s wife Lynnette was listed as the company’s registered agent; and court records show that the lawsuit listed them both, as well as the company, as defendants. The company was filed on February 25, 2008 and voluntarily dissolved April 29, 2009. The foreclosed property was 9904 Lanai View Circle, Windermere, FL 34786.

According to Orange County court records, Suntrust Bank and Suntrust Mortgage hit Mr. Martinez with four different lawsuits involving foreclosure:

– In one lawsuit, Suntrust sought nearly $1.8 million in damages for Lot 15 in Lake Nona, Orlando, FL 32827 (filed in September 2008, Case No. 08-CA-022267)

– Suntrust Bank was seeking roughly $494,000 in damages for his home, located at 9977 Oak Quarry Drive, Orlando, FL 32832 (filed on or about October 31, 2008, Case No. 08-CA-28925)

– The third was the final judgment on the 9977 Oak Quarry property, which ruled Mr. Martinez owed over $634,000 (filed in August 2009, Case No. 09-CA-27857)

– In a fourth, Suntrust Mortgage Inc., sought over $360,000 (filed in November 2009 for the above mentioned Windermere property, Case No. 09-CA-35962)

According to court documents, the U.S. Bank National Association sued Martinez for a condominium at Sunport Commerce Center. The final judgment was issued on or about July 10, 2010, and the property was put on auction on or about October 7, 2010.

Court records also show a foreclosure claim of a lien against Mr. Martinez and his wife by Ziani at Lavina Homeowners Association, Inc. on or about May 25, 2011 for failing to pay their HOA fee.

Court records revealed that Mr. Martinez (listed as Jesus Ramon Martinez Almonte) filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Puerto Rico in March of 2013 (Case No. 13-01828-EAG7). Court documents also show that a separate bankruptcy case was filed in the federal bankruptcy court in Orlando (Case No. 6:14-bk-11133-CCJ). Mr. Martinez’s wife Lynnette (listed as Lynnette Soccorro Batista Sanchez) filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Puerto Rico in September that same year (Case No. 13-07998-BKT13).

The address he used on his bankruptcy filing was Calle Bianca 161, Urb Terra Senorial, Ponce, PR 00731. The address she used for her bankruptcy filing was 9013 Flat Rock Lane, Orlando, FL 32852.

Short-Lived Businesses

Mejorate Group LLC lasted roughly a year (October 2007 – September 2008) and the most recent business venture listed for Martinez before his newest one, Credit & Consumer Advocates LLC, lasted a little over a year (March 2017 – September 2018). Morales questioned why those businesses were so short-lived.

Martinez’s Credibility on the Line

“A business and real estate history like this calls Mr. Martinez’s credibility into question,” said Morales. “It’s clear the voters, Republicans and the media don’t know enough about the dark side of Mr. Martinez’s past that we now see so clearly. Either party, Republican or Democrat, would call for him not to run or assure that they had a viable candidate.”

Flordida National News tried to contact the Jesus Martinez campaign by email and by phone, but the campaign has yet to respond for comment, and the campaign’s voicemail box was full.

Other Candidates Called Out for Financial Woes

Political races always bring out the claws, particularly as election day–whether primary or general–nears. This summer, KCRG reported Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield was called out in an attack ad for her failed business and multiple lawsuits.

In the 2018 race for Florida House District 53, Florida Today reported Republican incumbent State Representative Randy Fine exposed his opponent Phil Moore’s speeding tickets, seat belt law violations, and other traffic citations, asking how the public would be able to trust him.

In 2016, Miami New Times investigated State Representative Daphne Campbell, who was running for State Senate, on ten foreclosures against her properties.

Back in 2002, the Orlando Sentinel reported that in the Florida House District 36 race, Republican Patrick Howell exposed a bankruptcy his opponent, Sheri McInvale, had recently faced.

“Our campaign will leave it to District 48 voters to examine Mr. Martinez’s troubled past to determine during the general election if he’s fit to represent them in the Florida legislature,” Morales concluded in her press statement.

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Mellissa Thomas, Editor for Florida National News, contributed to this report. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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