Friday, October 11, 2019

Stephen Martines, Ex-TV Star Accused of Fraud, to Sing Country Songs in Ballwin

Posted By on Fri, Oct 11, 2019 at 6:10 AM

click to enlarge Actor Stephen Martines - CONTRIBUTED
  • CONTRIBUTED
  • Actor Stephen Martines

Stephen Martines, a former heart-throb actor on the soap opera General Hospital, is striking out on a new career as a solo country artist, complete with impressive-sounding Nashville credentials. The St. Louis native is also accused by multiple women of using them for loans he never payed back (among other alleged abuses) — but he'd rather not talk about that part of things.

Those allegations, revealed in an award-winning RFT story by reporter Robert Langellier, described how Martines spent years courting and exploiting women he'd met through online dating. In some cases, the women made loans in the thousands, and sometimes tens-of-thousands, with none of it repaid. In other cases, the women who dated Martines claimed their relationships with the dazzling Hollywood star became abusive.

However, two years after RFT first documented the bizarre tangle of alleged fraud and betrayal around Martines, the actor's pivot to country music — which includes the banjo-heavy summer-jam "Alright" released in May — has taken him back to St. Louis area, specifically the modest venue at Sky Music Lounge in Ballwin.



So, suffice to say that Martines isn't tearing up a a stadium with Garth Brooks. But in a press release announcing an upcoming October 12 show, the soap-star-turned-alleged-scammer-turned-country-artist is described only in the most glowing of terms.

According to his bio, Martines is a "singer/songwriter/actor" who was recognized for his talents even before finding stardom in Hollywood, including being drafted to play professional soccer for Kansas City's MLS team and embarking on "a successful stint as a nationally-recognized model."

"Along the way," the press release continues, "[Martines'] passion for songwriting called him to Nashville where he became a songwriter in the Warner-Chappell stable. This contact gave him the opportunity to write and hone his craft with mega-talents like Jon Nite, Ross Copperman, Jay Brunswick, Nicole Gallyon, Josh Hoge, Josh Dunne and Brandon Ray, just to name a few."

Of course, the press release doesn't mention the women Martines is accused of using for free loans, or the grieving father who claims the actor took him for $15,000 by fraudulently promising to develop a book project about the blue-collar dad's dead son.

However, these accusations were apparently not mysteries to Chuck Bonano, the managing partner of 40West Records. During a conference call with a reporter, Bonano acknowledged that the 2018 RFT story on Martines was "very damaging" and asked that any interview with Martines stick to music.

When RFT persisted in questioning Martines about the allegations of fraud and harassment, the call was terminated.

It's not the first time that Martines has declined to address the allegations against him directly. He also dodged the calls from KSDK, which ran its own follow-up story on the saga in March 2018. The KSDK story featured a St. Louis woman who had taken out a restraining order on Martines after he'd allegedly locked her in a garage, threw golf clubs at her, and fraudulently started a $46,000 line of credit in her name.

Not everything about Martines is a lie. But while his acting credits — including roles on Guiding Light, Supernatural and Burn Notice — are well-documented, less so are the claims in the press release's bio.

For instance: The website for Warner-Chappell Music does not list Martines name in its online list of songwriters, and a Nashville-based representative contacted Wednesday said told RFT he was not allowed to comment on employee status.

And while Martines did in fact play soccer for the Webster University Gorloks in 1995, the press release's claim that he was "drafted into MLS for the Kansas City Wizards" prior to moving to Los Angeles in 1998 appears to be refuted by the team's draft history. A spokesman for the team — which is now named Sporting Kansas City — confirms that no player by Martines' name was drafted during the two seasons the team existed prior to 1998.

It's one more strange note already very strange story of Martines. For the full telling of that tale, check out Lagenllier's 2018 cover story, "The Pool Repairman and the Hollywood Hustle."

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com
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