Tuesday was the first preliminary hearing for Scott Martin, accused of a charity violation.
Two witnesses say Martin claimed he sold over 500 of the shirts, meant to raise money for the Croley family who lost their son in a tragic car crash.According to the Marquette County Sheriff's Department, 40-year-old Scott Martin, Owner of Martin's Sports Apparel, made shirts to honor 13-year-old Christopher "Bubba" Croley who died in a drunk driving car crash. According to the story we ran, the shirts cost $15 and $10 of every shirt sold would go to the family.
On the stand Tuesday, Detective Todd Racine said he read a Facebook comment on our story posted by Martin claiming he sold over 500 shirts already. When Racine first confronted Martin about the allegations in winter of 2012, he told the sports apparel owner to calculate how many shirts they sold.
The defense attorney for Martin asked Racine if he ever asked for any names of residents that ordered shirts, but never paid and Racine responded "no."
Jodi Croley, the mother of Bubba, said the day before her sons funeral, at a memorial service, Martin told her he sold 500 shirts. Defense attorney Raymond Gregory once again pointed out that she did not know for sure if those were purchased and paid for.
Sarah Martin, Scott's wife and co-owner of Martin's Sports Apparel, also took the stand Tuesday. She testified to being involved in the Croley fundraiser and initially contacted the family about wanting to help them with a fundraiser and make shirts memorializing "Bubba" Croley. Martin testified they've done several community fundraisers before.
"I let Mrs. Croley know the business would not profit from the shirts, the profits would go to the family to help them," testified Martin.
She added that t-shirts that weren't sold were purchased back, but lost money out on the transfers. Martin said when orders are made money was only collected when people came into the store and got the shirt.
Martin also testified to having "pages and pages" of orders, but never counted them.
She said 20-to-30 shirts were printed improperly and couldn't be sold. About a pack of 100 transfers were ruined by spilled coffee and many people never came to pick up their order. Martin estimated about 125 lost t-shirts and transfers.
The prosecutor asked if Sarah Martin would agree with her husband's statement to police that about 400 shirts were made, to which Martin responded "yes."
In an effort to resolve the issue the Martins and Croleys set up a $1,000 settlement deal in 2013. Allegedly it fell through because the Croleys would not publish an advertisement thanking the sports apparel store. Martin's attorney says that money remains untouched.
It's expected to be a few weeks before the judge decides if and what charges Martin will face.